International affairs · Politics/Government Is President Obama’s foreign policy hurting us abroad? Eric Ringham May 21, 2010, 5:00 AM May 21, 2010 32 comments A debate aired today on Midday inspires Today’s Question: Is President Obama’s foreign policy hurting us abroad? ‹ Older Do you believe hospital patients are either more or less safe than in the past? Newer › What concerns does the prospect of synthetic life raise for you? Browse by category Education Health Economy Politics/Government Culture Religion/Ethics Science/Technology Transportation Race/Gender Environment/Energy Security International affairs Immigration Media Military About the blogger Eric Ringham firstname.lastname@example.org Gary F The bad guys like Immanutjob in Iran and Lil’ Kim in North Korea don’t take us seriously anymore. Leaving Poland and the Chezchs out to dry weakens any chance of having a check against Russia. The socialists of the world love us! Hugo, Raul and his friends love us. The Obama Regime is trying to dismantle the United States of America. EAL In summary, neutral. Conversely, if you listen to the President’s campaign rhetoric, the global community was going to sit by the fire and sing kumbiya.The reality has stated otherwise. Relations with Iran (financing terrorism) and North Korea (just killed 46 South Koreans) are worse than his predecessor. The war Afghanistan, the right war as he stated, has required more troops. He criticized his predecessor for using drones and has now used many more than his predecessor in Pakistan. It was sad that he went around the world and apologized to various nations for America being America. Is America perfect, of course not.? However processes and a Constitution are in place that makes America unique in the anneals of history. Other nations need to emulate America and its freedoms. Clark Yes. His far left approach to hostile countries is not working. Perhaps if N Korea attack S Korea, he can give a good speach. Obama was not ready for this job and it shows. Peace through strength is a position he simply does not understand. Sue de Nim Obama’s foreign policy is a lot less bad than his predecessor’s. Bush was making enemies faster than they could be killed or captured. If anything, Obama didn’t apologize enough for the ham-handed mistakes we’ve made in the past: supporting brutal dictators just because they were anti-Soviet, the Vietnam war, torture at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo,…. Obama’s big mistake in foreign policy so far is in making too little change, not too much. Duane Most Certainly, even though our national press portrays him as well liked, his standing as a competent world leader continues to slip. Recent developments in N. Korea, China, Iran and S. American countries indicate a growing lack of respect for his decisions and positions. Mark D Obama’s foreign policy is weakening us in the eyes of both our allies and our adversaries. It makes me wonder if he has ever heard of Neville Chamberlain. mark D The Fruits of Weakness: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/20/AR2010052003885.html Mark D This article says it better than I can Paul Pres. Obama’s diplomatic efforts have been far less than perfect. On the other hand, they are a vast improvement of the cowboy “If you are not with us, you are against us” diplomacy that covered much of the previous administration. Paul My comment may have been eated, if this duplicates, I apologize. Pres. Obama has been far less than perfect in his diplomacy. On the other hand, it is a vast improvement over the cowboy diplomacy “If you are not with us, you are against us” that characterized much of the previous administration… Brian Duren I am amazed–absolutely astounded!–that MPR is even asking this question. When I think of the last thirty years of American foreign policy, I can’t help but feel that Obama is a genius. But becoming president after one of the worst–if not the worst–presidents in American history is no easy task. Tom Ricks, the highly regarded military historian and author of “Fiasco–The American Military Adventure in Iraq” and “The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008,” has consistently, in his writings and his interviews, described Bush’s invasion of Iraq and the Iraq war as the single biggest blunder in the history of American foreign policy. My own opinion is that it may not be the biggest blunder, but it’s way up there on the list of (to quote General Zinni) “brain farts.” Prior to Bush junior, we had Clinton, who (since were on the subject of the Middle East) almost succeeded in negotiating a peace treaty. Bush Senior’s administration gave mixed signals to Saddam Hussein, which encouraged Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. And then we come to the real genius: Reagan. Very few presidents have generated the degree of animosity abroad that Reagan has. Just think of the Iraq-Iran War, that cost the two nations about 1 million lives. The Reagan administration, which was the principal creator of the monster known as Saddam Hussein, armed both sides (providing Iraq with WMDs and logistical support) and gleefully watched the two sides massacre one another. So if any American ever asks, why do so many people in the Middle East hate America, tell them to study American foreign policy from 1981-88. That’s a good starting point. After thirty years of mediocrity and incompetence in the area of foreign policy, I think Obama looks really good. Patrick I seem to remember that most of the world was quite happy to see Obama replace bush in the 2008 election. Republican critics are sure to complain but they know perfectly well that some foreign governments will always be anti American no mater who is in the white house. The only real complaint that can be made is that Obama has sometimes done things much like George W Bush did. Joe Schaedler Obama’s policies are not hurting us at all – rather they are the most helpful policies possible for securing America’s well being among the motley foreign states we deal with today. Bush’s policies, now those were harmful policies. They leave an impression of unwarranted US callousness that are still undermining Obama and the nation’s best efforts abroad even today. Kirk I also could not believe my ears when I heard this question. You’ve got to be kidding. After the…”person” (true feelings edited out of respect for MPR) before, we have won the motherload of all jackpots. Bob P Very sadly the Obama foreign policy sounds like it is emanatingfrom an Ivory Tower, naively idealistic, and ultimately hurtful to the United States. Realpolitik came about for a reason – bull elephants majestic but nasty creatures, and powerful countries are much like bull elephants. I adhere to T. Roosevelt’s “walk softly but carry a big stick.” Bush did not talk softly, Obama seems to eschew the big stick. Having another country like you is nice. Having another country respect you is nicer. Having another country fear you is sometimes unavoidable. Devin I was really willing to give Obama a chance, but while he no where as bad a Bush was, he no genius. Our biggest issue we care more about other countries than we do our own. We should be hunkering down as a country and start caring for our own and stop supporting all these other countries. He is just continuing the NWO’s propaganda. CC&H Kirk and Brian D. – Thank you for putting this in perspective! You are BOTH right on! Carrie What a stupid question. President Obama has improved our image all over the world. The Taliban and other terrorists aren’t going to like us no matter who is POTUS. President Obama is so much smarter than W was and I think much more respected by our allies than W. Contrary to the belief of many Republicans, we do need support from other countries around the world. A go it alone “cowboy” mentality is just plain ignorant. kennedy Overall I think he has done a decent job. With the struggling US economy, his focus has tended to be stateside. We were in two wars at the start of his presidency (Iraq & Afghanistan). Now we are significantly less involved in Iraq. Iran, after much delay, agreed to turn over some of their enriched uranium under threat of further sanctions. Still much work to do there. New nuclear weapons reduction agreement signed with Russia. As of today, the US dollar has appreciated nearly 20% againt the euro since January 2008. Raphael Considering how weak and despised former President Bush left the USA, Obama has been accepted as a diplomat as apposed to a crusader. He hasn’t made the decisions that I would have, but I don’t know what he knows nor am I shackled by previous agreements the way the President is. Time will tell if he can straighten things but he isn’t the savior detractors wish to portray him as. Mary K. Lund President Obama gathered a cabinet of rivals – and followed their advice. He campaigned to focus on the Afghanistan war but has now escalated that into an AfPak war. Every drone attack kills civilians earning us enemies and future terrorist worldwide. He should be smart and end both wars now. His diplomacy is an improvement over the rush-to-war Bush administration. Other nations value that. Neither President had foreign policy experience but Obama has the curiosity and open mind lacking in Bush. I sincerely hoped and expected Obama to do much better. “Better” is not good enough. Almost ANYONE would have been better than Bush was. Steve the Cynic My friends on the far right want our government to keep its hands off of free enterprise but crack down on foreign governments that hate us. My friends on the far left want it to crack down on the abuses of big business, but not interfere in other countries’ politics. Interesting. Arthur Dickson The way this question is posed will unavoidably inspire the teabaggers, tenthers and birhters to come out of the woodwork. MPR should be ashamed if itself. Mike President Obama has made America much more secure. he has done this by using reason and dialogue, and by being willing to make tough decisions in Iraq and Afganistan. The problem is that America is still in the process of re-thinking our security needs. We face new threats and potentials. This means that there will be miss steps and a lack of consensus for some time to come no matter who is at the helm. Lance Put simply, yes. Si vis pacem, para bellum = If you want peace, prepare for war = peace through strength = walk softly but carry a big stick. Without our strength, our adversaries will neither fear nor respect us, nor will our allies respect us. Embrace freedom, capitalism and American exceptionalism. We are a great nation and we are exceptional. What other nation in history has achieved the levels of success in ALL strata of society that we have? The leader of our nation has the responsibility of putting our nation’s interests before those of other nations. That means defending the constitution, securing our borders and focusing on this country’s needs before giving away the store to other country’s and their citizens. Filling the cabinet with academia with no real world experience was a huge mistake. Lots of intelligent people, but no smart people. Robert W. Seidel President Obama has inherited the results of two terms of misguided foreign policy that managed to obviate the positive response after 911 by most of the world to our predicament, and relied upon fairy tales of weapons of mass destruction to involve us in an unnecessary and unpopular war in Iraq. What might have been a quickly finished police action in Afghanistan morphed into a guerilla war with Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which Obama has embraced. This is unfortunate because it mires us in yet another land war in Asia, and if Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War are any indication, there is no foreseeable end in view to them. The Audacity of Hope has been replaced by the hope of audacity on his part, a hope that has been shattered by his failure to shake up the foreign policy and military priorities of the the United States. Indeed, he has continued the policies of his predecessor, leading to thousands of deaths, and exacerbated their war crimes by using unmanned Predator drones to murder civilian populations in the hunt for enemies who are about as distinguishable as the Viet Cong were, and although we may be used to automated atrocity, most of the world is not amused at our technological tyranny. Perhaps no establishment politician could have changed a policy that protects American corporate interests abroad. Ralph Nader would have done so, and it is a great pity that he was not elected. Now that Obama has shown that he does not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for the American people or against the capitalists who have globalized and gutted our economy for their own profit, I have lost all hope that he will reverse the imperial aggression of the past half-century, deal with important global problems like global warming, poverty, environmental degeneration or energy conservation. Until we have a polity that is willing to face such problem, we will not improve our position in the world, nor will we stave off the two great threats of nuclear annihilation and environmental destruction. Lance …countries and their citizens. I hate it when people attempt to make a valid point, then mess it up with bad grammar and misspellings. @Arthur Dickson – shame on you for your hateful name calling. @Carrie – the Taliban won’t like us and I don’t care. They need to respect us. Steve the Cynic Lance, are you saying the teabaggers, tenthers and birthers don’t engage in “hateful name calling”? It’s remarkable how much of the rancorous rhetoric from all sides of issues like this sounds like the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. Lance Honestly? Teabaggers again? Do you know the source of the term? The name calling is simply a distraction from factual debate. Here are a couple of facts: We apologized, apparently multiple times, to China for the new Arizona immigration law which mostly mirrors federal law (which remains unenforced.) The US apologizes to China for human rights issues? China institutionalized infanticide to control its population. China executes people who speak out against the government. We invited the president of Mexico to appear before congress to deride the Arizona law, which, by the way specifically makes it clear that the Arizona law enforcement personnel cannot initiate an action until there is already contact under another breach of the law, and cannot base their questioning on race or national orientation. Then gave him a standing ovation? Do you know what Mexico’s stance is on immigration to their country? It’s similar, but stronger than the US law which we refuse to enforce. You must show that you have means to support yourself. You cannot own land. You must show that you will be a benefit to their culture and you must have your papers with you at all times. Mark The PREMISE of this question is a great example of problems with news reporting in the US. Do I understand correctly that a “yes” would be read as a presumptive “conservative” or Republican vote against Obama, while a “no” would be the presumptive liberal vote and/or support for Obama? My vote is that Obama is easily better than Bush/Cheney, but still hurting “us” (meaning the US presumably) because the policy is more like Bush/Cheney’s than unlike it. Is that a “yes” or a “no”– or am I just “disenfranchised” in this poll? Devin Lance, Respect needs to earned by action and that action does not include violence. Devin Steve the Cynic Sadly, Lance, I not as familiar with all the slang terminology relating to kinky sex as you evidently are, so I wasn’t aware of that meaning of “teabagger” until your post prompted me to look it up on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teabagging). You may rest assured I won’t refer to Tea Party activists that way any more, though I have to wonder what they’re up to when they use the term self-referentially. The trouble is, if you try hard enough you can find sexual innuendoes in just about anything, which says something unfortunate about human nature, I think. So, how about Mad Hatters? Does that have any connotations of kinky sex?