With less than two weeks left before Election Day, there’s no doubt voters face a big choice this November on a whole host of issues, from health care to taxes to education. Certainly, much of the conversation has been about the economy — and rightly so. But the final presidential debate about foreign policy was also an important one because it spoke to each candidate’s view on the role the United States plays on the world stage.
When Barack Obama was running for president, he made a lot of promises. He said he’d get the economy in order. He said he’d reduce spending and get Americans back to work. We all know how those promises worked out — not too well at all, especially with Black unemployment at an astounding 13.4 percent.
But there was another promise he made, for which he must be held accountable. He told us that if we elected him, the world would begin to view America differently. The hostility would fall away. Respect and admiration abroad would follow.
But with violence spreading across the Islamic world, with American embassies and diplomats targeted by a wave of extremism that seems only to be growing worse, the notion that Obama was going to lead some sort of renaissance in America’s reputation abroad is vanishing before our eyes. But before we chalk this up to yet another disappointment, we should ask ourselves why.
Unfortunately, Obama set about in his effort to make the world love America by engaging in a policy of appeasement and apology. He went to Cairo and told the Muslim world that, in the wake of 9/11, America had not lived up to its principles. He never used the word “sorry” or “apology,” but the world got the message. This was an act of contrition designed to set right our perceived wrongs.
He was even more explicit with our sometimes friends and often adversaries in Moscow. To the Russians, Obama offered a reset button, promising to start from square one in our diplomatic relations. As the administration moved to end a missile shield agreement that the Russian government opposed, our allies in Eastern Europe were stung.
And then there was Iran. Obama expressed his willingness to meet with the Iranians without preconditions. He was confident that dialogue was possible, that perhaps our decades of hostility were a result of some misunderstanding. And so, when civil rights protests erupted in Tehran, President Obama stayed on the sidelines.
What have these policies bought us? The Russians oppose us at every step, blocking our efforts to stop the humanitarian crisis raging in Syria and doing all in their power to weaken the sanctions we have sought against Iran. We need those sanctions because Tehran, despite President Obama’s hopes, has been pushing toward nuclear weapons capability and has threatened to use that capability against Israel.
These are the fruits of the Obama doctrine. Over the last four years, his failed foreign policy has placed our country and our allies at the mercy of world events and has made us less safe.
Mitt Romney offers a different path. When he is president, he will stand by our allies, be resolute with our adversaries and prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. And just as American leadership helped maintain peace in the 20th century, he believes ensuring the 21st century is another American Century will benefit peace globally.
Appeasement has failed. It’s time for a president who will ensure peace through strength. It’s time for Mitt Romney.
Kiron K. Skinner, research fellow, Hoover Institution and co-author of Reagan, A Life in Letters is a foreign policy adviser for the Romney campaign.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Carnegie Mellon University)