For the vast majority of this presidential election cycle, voters’ focus has been on domestic policy. But on Monday night, President Obama will be on the hot seat over his foreign policy. Obama leads Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on foreign policy issues by a narrow margin; over the past several months, Romney has closed the gap on President Obama.
The incumbent almost always has an advantage on foreign policy over the challenger in presidential elections. Four years of experience invariably make the president seem like an international leader; challengers, largely governors, have little foreign policy experience of which to speak.
But President Obama has a problem that no incumbent has had since Jimmy Carter: his foreign policy has been a complete and utter failure. Yes, Osama Bin Laden is dead. And no, there hasn’t been a genocidal holocaust over the past four years. Otherwise, Obama’s resume is an unblemished record of failure, misery, and facilitation of human rights violation.
In the Middle East, President Obama has condemned vast swaths of the Muslim world to generations of Islamist oppression; what he called the Arab Spring was always an Islamist Uprising. After the storming of our embassy in Egypt, the American people recognize that; after the al Qaeda flag flew over our embassy in Tunisia, it became clear to Americans that the Obama Doctrine is weakness, appeasement, and inaction. After Libya, it became absolutely clear that Obama’s policy of non-offensiveness in the Middle East – anti-colonialism and multiculturalism – has bloody consequences. Obama's Middle East policy is more than "not optimal." It's downright dangerous.
In Europe, President Obama’s policy of pushing worldwide inflation and stimulus has encouraged all of the European Union to bow before the fiscal calamities of Spain and Greece with bailout after bailout.
In China, the communist government continues to repress its people, force the murder the unborn, cyberattack American targets, expand its territorial ambitions in places like the South China Sea, and stand against action in Iran and North Korea – all while funding its military with American debt repayment, thanks to Obama’s spendthrift habits.
In South America, the Chavez revolution – socialism – has swept the continent, with the help of President Obama. Early in his term, he stood against anti-dictatorial reform in Honduras, and in the process handed Hugo Chavez another ally. Chavez, meanwhile, continues to play the strongman, make overtures to Russia and Iran, threaten the United States rhetorically – and then call on Americans to re-elect President Obama.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin awaits even more flexibility from President Obama after the election.
In Iran, the ayatollahs dance with glee that President Obama has stood for so long and with such vigilance against a prospective Israeli military strike. They celebrate Obama’s inaction on a true Iranian Uprising, even as Obama backs the Muslim Brotherhood Wave.
In Israel, our closest ally, the population fears a catastrophic war from all sides, thanks to the conversion of Egypt from peace partner to enemy, the incentivization of Hamas and Hezbollah to further terrorism, the US-backed chaos in Syria, and the creation of an extremist regime in Turkey.
In Afghanistan and Iraq, defeat has been snatched from the jaws of victory.
Virtually nowhere on earth can our allies say they are more safe and secure under an Obama presidency; virtually nowhere on earth can our enemies say they are significantly worse off than they were before President Obama’s election.
President Obama may have a symbolic advantage in the debate Monday night on foreign policy – he will have the title of President. But if Mitt Romney can catalog for Americans just how our situation in the world has changed – and how President Obama’s lead-from-behind, spineless and cowardly foreign policy has condemned multitudes around the globe to tyranny – Obama may not hold that title for much longer.