Over the past few weeks, Republican presidential candidate former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy successes—and a leading purveyor of myths and falsehoods surrounding the President’s record. Besides taking his eye off of Iran and designating Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe” - a position disputed by many top experts and observers - Romney was criticized by former Mossad director Efraim Halevy for his “highly irresponsible” remarks on the President’s Iran policies.
Now, a group of national security experts advising President Obama’s re-election campaign have published a letter in Foreign Policy asking Romney what exactly he would change from Obama’s foreign policy strategy, while noting that the former governor and his advisors have failed to answer a number of basic questions on what his own policies would entail.
Obama’s advisors laid out the facts on the president’s successes on Iran:
Iran is weaker and more isolated today precisely because of actions that President Obama has taken. Through sustained diplomacy, the president forged unprecedented international consensus to pressure Iran—far greater consensus and pressure than the previous Republican administration achieved through its go-it-alone, my-way-or-the highway approach. President Obama secured the toughest unilateral and multilateral sanctions on Iran to date, and they’re having a devastating impact on its economy.
No president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel’s security than President Obama. Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, has said publicly that he can ‘hardly remember a better period of support.’ Despite serious budget constraints, the president has worked tirelessly to ensure a significant increase in security assistance to Israel, including more than $200 million to protect Israeli civilians from rockets and missiles fired by Palestinian militants and Iranian-backed Hezbollah. Even as the president has taken historic steps to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon that would threaten Israel, he has also provided Israel with critical technology to ensure its qualitative military edge and its right and ability to defend itself.
After nearly nine years of war in Iraq, the president ended the war responsibly, brought our troops home, and developed a strong relationship with a sovereign Iraq. With our diplomats and civilian advisors in the lead, the administration is working to help Iraq develop strong and accountable institutions, while standing up a dedicated Office of Security Cooperation to ensure a lasting security relationship with the Iraqis for years to come…
The president also has a clear strategy to end the war in Afghanistan based on a transition plan embraced by NATO, our ISAF partners, and the Afghan government at the Lisbon Conference. This timeline is informed by both conditions on the ground and the continued growth in the capability, capacity, and performance of the Afghan security forces. Ultimately, the Afghans must take responsibility for their own security and governance, and we remain committed to helping them do so.
Regarding Russia, President Obama signed the New START treaty, reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons in Russia and allowing inspections of its nuclear arsenal to resume—without placing any constraints on U.S. missile defense and conventional strike capabilities. At the same time, the United States has maintained a strong, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. More broadly, the president has successfully worked with the Russians to advance other key policy objectives, such as securing and eliminating vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide and placing severe multilateral sanctions on Iran.
Obama’s advisors also asked a series of basic questions about Romney’s foreign policies that he has refused to date to answer. They wrote:
You have said you would have left tens of thousands of U.S. forces behind in Iraq. Would you have done so against the wishes of the Iraqi government and people, with no legal protections?
Why have you not outlined any policies to achieve U.S. objectives and end the war in Afghanistan? How would you change the president’s plan, which has the full support of NATO and our closest allies, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Australia?
What did you mean when you said, ‘It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,’ referring to Osama bin Laden? Given the clear successes of President Obama’s counterterrorism policies, why and how would you change the current approach to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda?
Why did you call Russia ‘without question our number one geopolitical foe,’ especially when strategic cooperation with Russia is essential for countering the Iranian nuclear threat? What do you think is gained by casting Russia in this role? Do you believe there are other entities that pose greater challenges to American economic and strategic interests in the 21st century?
Why do you continuously mischaracterize President Obama’s support for Israel, which threatens America’s longstanding bi-partisan consensus in support of our ally, by suggesting that the president is not doing things that in fact he’s already done—such as increasing military cooperation and assistance every year since he took office?
Click here to read the entire letter.
Click here to learn more about how Mitt Romney stands in stark contrast to American Jewish values.
Get the facts about President Obama’s unprecedented actions to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program here.
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