NURAY MERT > A US foreign policy shift?

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I am not a keen observer of U.S. domestic politics and, as such, am not very excited by the U.S. presidential campaign, but I happen to be in the U.S. (Stanford University in California) for a month that coincides with the presidential election campaign. So, I can not avoid following the details of the Barack Obama-Mitt Romney race. Still, I want to leave it to experts of U.S. politics to analyze the election campaign. As for me, it is a chance to follow the presidential debates on foreign policy more closely.

First of all, we need to acknowledge that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and subsequent assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya has dealt a big blow to Obama at such a critical moment of the election campaign. Despite the efforts of the Obama camp to classify the matter as an issue of “national interest” that was not to be used for domestic political gain, the Democrats could not prevent the Libyan issue from becoming a focus for debate on foreign policy. The debate started with questions about the responsibility of the Obama administration for the security failure in Libya, but quickly evolved into a full-fledged criticism of the “Obama doctrine.” Obama was targeted by vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for not naming and acknowledging the “terrorist attack” for the first two weeks.

Republicans claim that the problem, in fact, goes back to Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009, “in which he suggested that the tensions between America and the world’s Muslims are largely America’s fault.”
It’s nothing new for Republicans to use every opportunity to challenge Obama for being soft on “Islamic extremism.” Nevertheless, the Libyan case has given a golden opportunity to Republicans to “prove” their point and sound more convincing in the eyes of American voters without risking being labeled as being merely “hawkish.”

Obama, now, is being criticized for defining “America’s enemy not ideologically but institutionally as al-Qaeda and its affiliates” and for failing to realize the consequences of this approach. It means that even if Romney looses the election, the debate generated by the Libya attack will have a great impact on U.S. foreign policy concerning the Muslim world and particularly the Middle East.

It seems that the U.S. and the Western world were already alarmed by the rise of Islamists in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Revolutions. I think that such concerns have already had a great impact on policy changes and resulted in the U.S. being more reluctant to get involved in the regime change process in Syria. I think that we will witness a shift in U.S. policies concerning the relations not only with the “extremists” but also with the so-called moderate Islamic forces and regimes in the region, regardless of who wins the election.


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illawarrior hill

11/8/2012 4:55:27 AM

Foreign policy is but one small part, and probably has little impact on voters. I suggest that most Americans are far more concerned by more important domestic issues such as health, housing, education, employment, economy, environment etc

Jon Goodfellow

11/7/2012 2:54:30 AM

Wow.. Blue Dotterel is fantastical! I don't always agree with some of the frequent commenters on HDN, but respect their views as substantive. Shmolik was right to call you a retread of a Comintern agent. The US is often willfully stupid or even inept, like GW Bush in Iraq, but seldom malevolent as a matter of policy. The French would call it being "Tetu" from their naive belief in their exceptionalism. They are actualy much like the French in their late 19tch c republican guise.

A Shmolik

11/2/2012 6:13:36 AM

@Blue Dotterel - Having observed Nazi Germany Germany & Soviet Union at close range, I find your placing the United States on the same level, absurd andl or emmotional at best! In my opinion, the deteriation of US Foreign Policy began with H.S. Truman's quip to potesting Secretary of State Dean Achison with a Quip; "How many votes do Arabs have here in USA?" Then came the Fear of Communism and mjsquided Nation Building attempts in Vietnam, Iraq & still going on in in Sfghsnistan! Let's cut Bait

mara mcglothin

10/28/2012 4:15:47 PM

BLUE DOTTEREL He influenced foreign policy for sure. He was so busy unzipping his pants that he didn't see fit to defend this country when we were attacked. He also thought every American should own a home, no matter whether they could afford it and you see where that got the World. There was never any democracy and freedom in the Middle East, so you can't blame it on the US. I am as free as I ever was Visit the USA and then talk. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink!

Blue Dotterel

10/28/2012 11:03:22 AM

Mara, US Observer, one thing noticeable about your comments is that you never produce evidence for your general assertions. You assume that we all believe that the US has made the world a better place. Well, US marketing techniques do not work as well these days. Repeating a lie endlessly no longer makes it true. The facts are in the death and destruction US foreign policy has caused, especially, in the last 10 years. And there is less freedom and democracy in the ME and the US because of it.

Blue Dotterel

10/28/2012 10:09:53 AM

Mara, and your personal friend who won clearly had no effect on US foreign policy, banker and corporate crime. If he were to have, he would not have got through the primaries.

mara mcglothin

10/26/2012 3:47:47 PM

BLUE DOTTEREL This is where you are wrong. You don't know who I am and I can tell you that I have had two personal friends run for President and one of them won! so you clearly don't know what you are talking about. I will give you one clue however. One friend is now the World's darling and the other was a friend of my mother's from high school, and he financed his campaign all by himself. Now lets see if you can figure it out? Oh and did you get the memo that Israel is attacing Sudan?

Blue Dotterel

10/26/2012 9:41:37 AM

Mara, You would not even be allowed to run, and if you did, few people would even know you were running. How many presidential candidates are there? How many participate in the debates? How many get regular exposure in the corporate media? When, if they do get it, is it ever portrayed in a positive light

Blue Dotterel

10/26/2012 9:02:36 AM

US Observer. The United States is a Soviet, Nazi type force. And its the US sheeple who are allowing it to be so. Get a grip on realty: what the US is doing in the ME is far worse than what Nazi German did in Europe in the 30s. Millions have died in the ME thanks to the US neocon policy of sustaining perpetual war and chaos. There is very little difference between neocon US and Nazi Germany.

mara mcglothin

10/26/2012 12:48:34 AM

US OBSERVER Oh, and did I mention we would be turning our ringers off???
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