President Barack Obama hotly defended his foreign policy record Monday by claiming that the only alternatives to his policies are U.S. “military adventures.”
“Frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests,” he claimed at a press conference in Manila, early Monday morning.
Instead, “we can continue to speak out clearly about what we believe… [and] if there are occasions where targeted, clear actions can be taken that would make a difference, then we should take them,” said Obama, who has always sought to sideline foreign policy issues in favor of risky domestic political priorities, such as Obamacare.
His cautious policy “may not always be sexy… [and] doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows,” he said.
“But it avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run,” he said.
Obama’s defense of his foreign policy record comes as China hints at trying to grab territory held by U.S. allies in the region, as Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons, as Palestinians walk away from peace talks with Israel, as Russia chews its way into Eastern Ukraine, and as al-Qaida-style Islamists expand their wars in the Middle East and Africa.
On April 26th, for example, David Ignatius, a foreign policy columnist, reported that “Iraq is slipping back into civil war, and Sheik Zaydan Aljabiri, one of the political leaders of the Sunni insurgent group known as the Tribal Revolutionaries, seems confident that his side is winning.”
Zaydan’s forces are Sunni Muslims, who are closely allied with the al-Qaida forces that were beaten by the United States before Obama withdrew U.S. forces in 2010. “We are three kilometers from Baghdad airport!” Zaydan told Ignatius.
A growing number of critics are calling for tougher policies that aim to deter or avoid wars.
For example, they’re calling for more economic and political pressure against Iran, major economic sanctions on Russia amid its slow-motion invasion of Ukraine, additional military aid to rebels in Syria, and for more cooperation with the Asian countries facing a newly aggressive China.