All Articles Tagged "foreign policy"
Last night’s final debate on foreign policy oftentimes veered back to domestic issues, particularly the nation’s ailing (but recovering) economy.
“Former chief of the — Joint Chiefs of Staff said that — Admiral Mullen said that our debt is the biggest national security threat we face. This — we have weakened our economy. We need a strong economy,” Mitt Romney said (while answering a question about Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian leader, but OK). He also said that US influence around the world is “receding” because “of the failure of the president to deal with our economic challenges at home.”
“But more importantly it is true that in order for us to be competitive, we’re going to have to make some smart choices right now,” President Obama said later. “… Bringing down our deficit by adding $7 trillion of tax cuts and military spending that our military is not asking for, before we even get to the debt that we currently have, that is not going to make us more competitive.”
So what exactly does the national debt have to do with national security? CNN tackled the question.
“The concern: If the debt continues to grow unbridled, the U.S. government will be constrained in its ability to pay for what it wants to do militarily and diplomatically. And it could limit the country’s leverage with foreign powers,” the outlet writes. “While national security spending is not the primary cause of the country’s debt problem, it accounts for about a fifth of federal spending. And many defense and budget experts think the defense budget is filled with inefficiencies and waste that can be curbed without compromising national security if done smartly.”
Beyond dollars and cents, that’s where strategic spending and budgeting comes into play. Also, horses and bayonets! That entire response from the President — from the Battleship reference to the assertion that Romney isn’t entirely clear about how the military works — was gold.
Getting back to foreign policy — as Bob Schieffer tried to do last night — Romney in many ways agreed with the steps that President Obama has taken in his first term, specifically with respect to the Middle East, which is where most of the foreign policy discussion turned to. The one exception was Israel, where both sides tried to outdo the other in showing their fidelity to the country. Twitter lamented the lack of discussion about Europe, which we would have to agree with. The future of the EU and its financial security will have a major impact on how we deal with that important part of the world.
If there was an area where the two did butt heads it was on the auto bailout and what Romney would’ve done had he been president. If you want to know, you can read this op-ed, published in The New York Times in 2008. He wrote at the time:
A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.
In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.
So Gov. Romney, anything you say now besides that is a flip flop.
We have two weeks until election day, so make sure you’re all set to vote.
We’ve already talked about it. President Obama had an off night the other day during the first Presidential debate. Some claim he was tired or too focused on his anniversary. President Obama said that he was just too polite. Based on President Obama’s performance and Joe Biden’s penchant for being more outspoken than a little bit, we knew that this debate was going to be a very different story. And this time we weren’t disappointed. From the opening minutes of the debate it was clear that Joe Biden did not come to play. We wanted to interact with our Facebook and Twitter followers during this debate. So here’s what they had to say throughout the night.
MN: Who is watching the debate? Vice President Joe Biden has already proven he’s going to be more forceful than President Obama. He’s just laughing at these jokers!
But one of our Facebook followers had an interesting viewpoint, saying that Joe Biden is able to speak candidly and aggressively because, unlike President Obama, he doesn’t have to worry about negative stereotypes being assigned to his performance.
This is very true and an interesting concept. As the president of the United States, do you think that President Obama is still living his life and running this country with the fear that unfair and racist stereotypes could cost him an election? It’s plausible but for his sake, I hope unlikely. I do honestly believe that it was an off night mixed with the fairness and diplomacy he’s tried to rule the country with.
If, for some reason you missed the debate here are some of the highlights we tweeted. Obviously, we’re President Obama supporters, so our tweets are a little skewed.
From jump Joe Biden came in attacking both Paul Ryan’s and Mitt Romney’s flip flopping and less than concrete plans.
Then when the moderator, Martha Raddatz asked about foreign policy, here’s the takeaway point Joe Biden made.
But don’t think that Joe was the only one making biting comments. Paul Ryan checked Vice President Biden with a quip no one could disagree with.
Woop! But Joe Biden wasn’t letting Paul Ryan get away with anything, he made sure to respond saying, “But I always say what I mean.” Then he had his own jab for Romney and Ryan. He made sure to mention the 47 percent and then hit him with this zinger.
Aside from Biden and Ryan we also noted that moderator Martha Raddatz was not having the same foolishness that Jim Lehrer suffered from in the first presidential debate. (Does anyone else feel sorry for Jim?) There were times when Paul Ryan was close to going over his allotted time and several times when Joe Biden was hellbent on interrupting anyone who was speaking. But for the most part Martha kept both candidates in check.
When the debate shifted to foreign policy the two Vice Presidential candidates spent a significant amount of time talking about the war in Afghanistan and the next moves.
Paul Ryan argued that he and Mitt Romney were not willing to commit to a 2014 pull out date because they didn’t know how stable the Afghan government would be without American assistance. But Biden was adamant about U.S. troops leaving to give Afghans a chance to rule their own country.
Joe Biden had a crunkness about him throughout a majority of the debate until it came to the social/moral issue of Catholicism and abortion. It would be hard for anyone to argue that Biden didn’t win on the argument of women’s rights.
Those were some of the highlights we noted. What other moments did you notice from the debates? Did you feel Biden was the clear winner or was it pretty much a draw?
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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention last night that was so powerful, it’s got people talking about a run for President in 2016 or 2020.
“The next time Republicans are searching for a presidential candidate, rest assured: Condoleezza Rice will be a part of that conversation,” reads the opening line of a Washington Post story that posted today. Rice’s speech included foreign policy talk, references to her biography and how it was touched by Jim Crow, attacks on President Obama’s record and, finally, a line that made some think she could be considering a return to politics.
“And on a personal note: A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America. Her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant, but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she can be President of the United States. And she becomes the Secretary of State,” she said. You can read her whole speech here.
The article goes on to note that despite her work with the George W. Bush administration, Rice is a popular figure. (She also recently became one of the first women to be granted membership to the notoriously all-male Augusta National Golf Club.)
For her part, Rice has said that she wants to stay out of politics. She’s living in Palo Alto, C.A. and working at Stanford University.
After her speech, Rice told CNN’s Piers Morgan,”I do think Mitt Romney is speaking to black voters, speaking to women voters who hold many of the same concerns, but it has to be some receptivity on the other side, too.” A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal research showed Romney gets zero percent of the black vote, which is hilarious.
Even China admits that they may not have the most liberal of governments. But at least, they say, they are not as hypocritical as the United States.
According to the Guardian, last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized China for detaining artists such as AI Weiwei and others in the annual state department survey of the human rights situation around the world.
Well, China has a report of its own to refute U.S. criticism. State news agency Xinhua said the report “turned a blind eye to its own terrible human rights situation” and points to the U.S. government’s treatment of Wikileaks. The report also makes mention of domestic problems in the U.S. such as poverty, crime and racism. Furthermore, the report holds the U.S. responsible for the large number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the prisoner abuse accounts.
The report concludes that the U.S. imposes double standards by “requesting unrestricted ‘internet freedom’ in other countries, which becomes an important diplomatic tool for the United States to impose pressure and seek hegemony, and imposing strict restriction within its territory.”
(The Root) — In his defense, President Obama and members of his administrationhave given public statements on Libya every day since the U.N. resolution authorizing a no-fly zone was first imposed. But until Monday night, the president had yet to deliver a prime-time address on the subject, a lapse that only became more glaring as people from all quarters asked: Why the silence? Speaking before military personnel at Washington, D.C.’s National Defense University, Obama explained his decision for ordering military action in Libya, why he thinks it’s in our national interest and what the plan is going forward. Here are his clarifications (albeit indirectly and not always complete) on frequently asked questions hovering over the mission.
1. Why did you take so long to do something? ”In just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a no-fly zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together — when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. It took us 31 days.”
(Washington Post) — Partisan tensions are running high, but one top Bush adviser is being welcomed at the White House on Friday: Condoleezza Rice. Rice, the former secretary of state and George W. Bush‘s first national security adviser, is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Obama at 3:45 p.m. A White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said the meeting – their first in the Oval Office – came about because Rice happened to be in town. “They’ll discuss a range of foreign-policy issues,” he said.
(Yahoo/AP) – Michelle Obama is a hit at home and abroad but she will come under particular scrutiny this week as she embarks on her first solo trip outside the U.S., visiting Mexico. How she performs on this diplomatic missionwill be closely watched because she is not just the president’s wife, she is the most prominent ambassador for her husband’s foreign policies.
Such trips are not a small undertaking, and they can carry more weight than might be expected.
When the First Lady travels abroad, foreigners take cues about policy substance and tonality from her. They understand she is the last person the president sees at the end of many days. Advice that she offers has a meaningful impact on substantive policy.