President Barack Obama will attempt to answer critics of his foreign policy in his Tuesday address to the United Nations General Assembly.
White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday said Obama would “send a clear message the United States will never retreat from the world” and “will make clear his views, the administration’s positions, and America’s role with regards to a lot of the transformation that’s happening in the world.”
The Obama administration has been assailed by accusations of negligence over lackluster security at the U.S. consulate in Libya that resulted in the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
In recent weeks, Obama has refused to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dismissed the violent unrest in the Middle East as “bumps in the road,” and characterized Israel’s concerns about Iran potentially acquiring nuclear weapons as “noise.”
Obama has tried to blame the wave of violence by Islamists who stormed the U.S. embassy in Egypt and the consulate in Libya on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on an anti-Muhammed internet video made by a Coptic Christian filmmaker.
Obama and his administration never defended the principle of free speech while denouncing the video, and they even asked YouTube to censor the film used by Islamists and al-Qaeda as an excuse to wage violence against Americans. Carney revealed Obama will again denounce the video on Tuesday before the U.N.
Reports have indicated Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration knew in advance about threats to its interests in the Middle East before 9/11 and failed to take the requisite precautions.
At a campaign event in Colorado on Tuesday, Mitt Romney, in describing the range of Obama’s foreign policy failures, said, "we had an ambassador assassinated, we had a Muslim Brotherhood member elected to the presidency of Egypt, twenty thousand people have been killed in Syria, we have tumult in Pakistan, and of course Iran is much closer to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon.”
“These are not bumps in the road, these are human lives — these are developments we do not want to see,” Romney continued. “This is time for a president who will shape events in the Middle East, not just be merciful or be at mercy of the events of the Middle East.”
Carney said Romney’s criticism was “desperate and offensive” and accused Romney of politicizing the Middle East violence.
Carney also said Obama would address how America would address Iran’s nuclear threat. In recent weeks the Obama administration has indicated it would not favor the “red line” Netanyahu has said was essential to set in front of Iran.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said Obama’s actions and comments on Israel proved Obama “doesn’t fully grasp the seriousness of the foreign-policy challenges facing our nation.”
“President Obama recently characterized Israel’s concern about the prospect of a nuclear Iran as ‘noise,’ and, to add insult to injury, knocked Israel down a notch to simply ‘one of our closest allies in the region,’” Bolton said. “But the fact of the matter is that Israel is without a doubt our closest and most reliable ally in the region. Its concerns about an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon aren’t simply noise; they are central not only to self-preservation and security, but also to peace."
And even though Obama made time to appear on daytime television show “The View” instead of engaging in bilateral meetings with foreign leaders on Monday, Carney, the White House press secretary, said Obama’s address to the U.N. would not be a “campaign speech.”
In 2011, Obama spoke glowingly of the Arab Spring, saying he saw in those protesters “the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw, from Selma to South Africa -- and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world.”