Will killing of Ambassador impact the Presidential election?
By Roger Caldwell
“The embassy assaults are a sobering reminder not only of the deep anger and dysfunction that plagues the broader Middle East, but of the enormous difficulty the United States has in dealing with this part of the world,” wrote Blake Hounshell, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. There is a special insight that the commander-in-chief must have to make the right decisions and guide our country through foreign crisis.
Last week was a challenging and turbulent week with violent attacks on US diplomatic facilities in the Middle East, which killed US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three members of his staff. These events have raised a new and potential volatile political issue in the United States, with only seven weeks left in the presidential election.
GOP challenger Mitt Romney at a press conference on last Wednesday, before all the information was out on the violent attacks on US diplomatic facilities criticized the president on his administration’s Middle East policies. “When our ground is being attached and breached, the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. And apology for American values is never the right course,” said Romney.
Many reporters, Democrats, and even Republicans believe that Romney turned an international diplomatic event into a dangerous political game, where America must be unified behind the sitting president. The situation was evolving and all the facts had not been discovered. Jumping in a situation without the facts made the candidate look like he didn’t know what he was doing or saying.
The president responded to this behavior by stating that Romney prefers to “shoot first and aim later.” Some fellow Republicans are voicing regret over Romney’s decision to criticize the administration at this delicate moment, and former Sen. John Sununu said, “They should have waited.” Many Americans believe that Romney has no foreign policy experience and it appears that he is not ready for the job.
Global policy is a delicate balance between politics and policy, and anti-American protests have spread to around 20 countries in the world. Demonstrations last week scaled the walls of embassies in Tunisia and Sudan, while Egyptian police fired tear gas to keep protesters away from the US Embassy in Cairo.
Romney and Ryan continue to attack the president, because they think that America needs to be bold and be firm with the countries around the world that do not support or agree with our policies. This backward thinking got America in two wars during the Bush Administration, and the candidates are using the same advisors that Bush used.
As the president honored the four Americans slain in Libya, anti-American violence is spreading across the Muslim world. This is a very complicated situation and there is no one solution to this crisis. Many of these countries are new democracies and their governments are volatile with inexperienced officials, police and armies.
Every Muslim country in the Middle East is not our enemy and delicate diplomacy is needed to improve their relationship with the United States. It is obvious that Romney and Ryan will try to force the president to rush his decisions and make a mistake. With the unexpected events on the world stage, this is a weakness that the Democrats can capitalize on, because Romney has limited experience.
In a recent Washington Post/ABC News survey of registered voters, 51% of respondents said they trusted President Obama more to handle international affairs, while 38 percent said they trusted Romney more. The killing of the ambassador reminds Americans that changing leadership on foreign affairs could create more problems for our country. If the president in the next weeks can resolve some of the problems on the world stage, even more citizens will vote for the president in the election.