Jeb Bradley: Hope is not leadership, which Obama's foreign policy shows
In 2008 when Sen. Barack Obama was campaigning for President, he promised to change our country. But it has not been change for the better. The economy is stagnant, the President has plunged the country deeper into debt with trillion-dollar deficits stretching far into our children's future, worsened relations with foreign nations and expanded the bipartisan gridlock in Washington. What America has lacked most the last four years is leadership. Americans feel it in their wallets with shrinking income and diminished job prospects. But it's in the Middle East where there's an immediate danger resulting from lack of leadership.
The Obama administration has not reacted with strength to the nations hostile to America. Our historical alliances have been compromised. In a world that is filled with uncertainty, the President has added to it.
Without question, Israel has long been our strongest Middle Eastern ally. The administration has failed to halt Iranian nuclear development and refused to meet recently with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These actions force Israel to question American motives and our relations with them. With all of the anti-American hostility in the Middle East already, we don't need to undermine one of our staunchest allies.
President Obama refused to stand with the Iranian Green Movement. By ignoring this attempt of many Iranians to challenge a corrupt election, he not only left the Iranian people with no support, but also weakened American credibility. Refusing to stand with the Green Movement weakened our voice regarding human rights violations and undercuts the notion that the United States supports reform and openness in Iran.
With the corrupt Iranian regime seeking nuclear weapons capability, neither the United States nor our allies can feel secure. Iranian nuclear armed missiles could target Israel, other Middle Eastern nations or Europe. Iran's ties to terrorists are well known. What is to prevent Iran from providing terrorists with nuclear material for a dirty bomb that could be smuggled into our country? A President must recognize these threats. As Iran moves ever closer to obtaining nuclear weapons, how can the administration possibly claim success in preventing this growing threat?
The recent violence in the Middle East and lack of security at American facilities is certainly no 'bump in the road.' It's deadly. It's inexplicable that top administration officials blamed an obscure video for the Benghazi murders rather than admit it was a terror attack that the administration was unprepared for even though Ambassador Christopher Stevens had requested more security. Osama bin Laden may have met his maker, but Americans are seeing resurgent and defiant al-Qaida-inspired terror attacks on the rise. Americans are also witnessing an administration without a coherent response to the tragic deaths of four Americans in Libya, and watched the vice president in the debate attempt to dodge this incoherence. That's not leadership or responsibility.
President Obama also inadvertently addressed leadership recently. He said something astounding when he had to confront the facts of his record. The President said 'You can't change Washington from the inside.' Those are bleak words coming from a President who made the heart of his 2008 campaign about changing Washington.
But it is not Washington that has failed; it is President Obama. While politics often make us forget it, there are many men and women of good will in the nation's capital who, if dealt with fairly, are eager to address the problems our nation faces. The State Department officials who testified before Congress that security was cut in Libya before the deadly terror attack come to mind.
But President Obama has shown an inability to recognize problems, propose solutions and find compromises, key traits any leader must possess. The President has not bridged the gap between parties or the ideological divide between Americans. The economy is barely growing, the deficit is exploding, and hostile nations pose increasing threats.
America doesn't have time to let President Obama figure out what leadership means for another four years. One term of office is enough, and his track record highlights that with every one of his missteps our friends around the world, and the American people, continue to suffer.
Jeb Bradley, a former member of Congress, is a Republican state senator from Wolfeboro.