George Bruno: President Obama has executed a sound foreign policy
If you watched the presidential campaign debate on foreign policy the other night, you received a quick lesson on why President Obama should be reelected. As both President and commander-in-chief, he has kept the United States safe and strong. His well-formed positions were decisive and clear.
And to the surprise of many, Gov. Mitt Romney seemed to agree with a lot of the President's foreign policies. In dealing with Iran, Israel, al-Qaida, Pakistan and China, Romney offered few new proposals and would not change much of the Obama policies, at least judging by the governor's most recent positions. With Romney, of course, his positions, are subject to change because you can never be quite certain which Romney will show up at a debate, the Massachusetts moderate or the extreme Tea Party candidate of the earlier primaries.
Four years ago, bin Laden was at large, the U.S. and world economies were in free fall, America was bogged down in two wars, we were losing ground in global trade competition and the Bush/Cheney administration had lost friends for America around the world.
We still have more than enough foreign policy challenges, but, in judging our country's current security and economic prospects, we are much better off than we were four years ago.
First, with hard power, the President has taken out bin Laden and other terrorist enemies of America. He has reoriented our military from occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan to promoting security for our allies and ourselves in east Asia. Mitt Romney can complain about a Navy with fewer ships, but he fails to acknowledge that lumbering battleships are no longer the first line of defense in the modern era. With stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, missiles, drones, nuclear submarines, cyber security, satellites and other advanced technology, militarily the United States is simply stronger today than we were four years ago.
Second, with soft power, President Obama has put the United States on a path of economic growth, while the economies of Europe, Asia, and Latin America are in recession or slowing. This is good for American business. President Obama's pro-growth, pro-trade policy, particularly in contrast to Europe's failed austerity plans, is winning back respect for America lost under President Bush. In addition, President Obama's respect for our allies and for other cultures, from Europe to China and from Africa to Latin America and the Middle East, is winning the United States friends where the Bush/Cheney administration lost them.
Third, with smart power, President Obama has engaged our friends and our enemies. Iran's anti-American leaders are now threatened by the impact of crippling economic sanctions. Building on President Bush's initiative, President Obama has drawn India and Brazil closer to the United States, as their economic power grows.. At U.S. urging, China has strengthened its currency, while Asian nations from Japan to Australia are strengthening their security ties to the U.S.. And, in the Middle East, he has kept our strong alliance with Israel.
Much work remains for his second term - keeping the heat on Iran to cease its nuclear weapon development, managing our relationship with China's new leaders, keeping the U.S. economy growing, helping the Arab Spring countries consolidate democracy, being watchful but not mistaking that Russia is our most dangerous geo-political enemy as characterized by Mitt Romney, winding down our efforts by 2014 in Afghanistan, pursuing discussions with North Korea on food for peace, and opening up more trading opportunities for U.S. businesses.
Based on their performance the past four years, President Obama and Vice President Biden are ready for these challenges, and other international surprises that may arise.
George Bruno, a Manchester immigration attorney, was ambassador to Belize from 1994-1997.