Entries in Foreign Policy (3)


Biden Rebuffs Romney on Iran Foreign Policy

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Vice President Joe Biden channeled Teddy Roosevelt Thursday in an attempt to debunk Mitt Romney’s claim that the administration is not credible when discussing a “military option” toward Iran.

During a campaign speech on foreign policy at New York University, Biden said President Obama was following a “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach.

“I promise you,” Biden said, “the president has a big stick. I promise you.”

The comment drew laughter from the crowd of 500, mostly college students.

“President Obama understands what Gov. Romney apparently doesn’t:  It is possible -- it’s indeed necessary -- for America to be strong and smart -- and smart -- at the same time,” Biden said.

The presumptive GOP nominee has called for a more aggressive stance toward Iran, which is accused of pursuing nuclear weapon capabilities in defiance of international mandates.

“I think it’s fair to say -- the only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran.  If that’s what Governor Romney means by a very different policy, he should tell the American people,” Biden said. “He should say so.  Otherwise, the governor’s tough talk about military action is just that -- talk.  And, I would add, counterproductive talk.”

Romney adviser Dan Senor told reporters before Biden’s speech that the former governor was “not suggesting the military option should be used” against Iran. “We are simply saying the threat needs to be credible for the Iranians to take us seriously,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama's Israel Policy Takes Hits But Unlikely to Alter Jewish Vote

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican presidential candidates slammed President Obama’s Israel policy in successive speeches before the Jewish Republican Coalition on Wednesday, using a slew of recent off-the-cuff comments on Israel by administration officials as ammunition for their attacks.

Rep. Michele Bachmann accused Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for showing “disdain” toward Israel when he demanded last week that they “get to the damn table” to restart peace talks, and she blasted U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman of “justifying anti-Semitism” in a speech before the European Jewish Union, according to excerpts of her remarks.

Mitt Romney charged Obama with “chastising” Israel, raising the controversy over Obama’s 1967 borders speech in May, and “insulting” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in private comments to French President Nicolas Sarkozy caught by an open mic last month.

“These actions have emboldened Palestinian hardliners who now are poised to form a unity government with terrorist Hamas and feel they can bypass Israel at the bargaining table,” Romney said.  “President Obama has immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East.”

Rick Santorum even predicted the situation has given Republicans an edge, with ”Jews all across this country now understanding that the values of the Republican Party are in concert with theirs, and we’ve seen a dramatic growth in Jewish involvement in the Republican Party.”

But while the Republicans’ politically charged claims might help rally conservative primary voters, including Jews, there are few signs their comments on Israel will alter the longstanding Democratic allegiance of the Jewish voting bloc headed into 2012.

Polls show Obama, who won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, according to exit polls, retains strong support among American Jews, even if his standing has slipped compared to where it was four years ago.

Among Jews in Israel, Obama’s favorability has even been on the rise, according to a Saban Center for Middle East Policy poll released last week.  Fifty-four percent of Israeli Jews have a favorable view of Obama, up from 41 percent last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cuba Welcomes US Easing Travel Rules, But Calls Policy 'Absurd'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HAVANA, Cuba) -- The Cuban government Monday welcomed the Obama administration's decision on Friday to ease restrictions on Americans who want to travel and send money back to Cuba, but noted with disdain that the embargo remained in place.

"If there was a true interest in expanding and easing the contacts between our two peoples, the United States should lift the blockade and the prohibition that makes of Cuba the only country that U.S. citizens cannot freely travel to," the Cuban foreign ministry said in a statement.

While calling last week's actions "positive," the ministry said the United States' restrictions on travel to the island are "absurd" and said the change "is also an expression of the admission of the failure of the U.S. policy against Cuba and that the U.S. government is seeking new ways to achieve its historical goal of dominating the Cuban people."

On Friday, President Obama rolled back some travel restrictions, in place since 2003, to allow students and religious groups to visit Cuba and to allow charter flights to the island to depart from all U.S. airports. The new guidelines also allow Americans to send up to $500 per quarter to non-family members in the communist country.

Friday's move also raised the ire of several lawmakers on Capitol Hill, particularly many Cuban-American members of Congress such as the new chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who said the "changes undermine U.S. foreign policy and security objectives and will bring economic benefits to the Cuban regime."

An ABC News/Washington Post poll in April 2009 found the majority of Americans -- 55 percent -- supported easing all travel restrictions to Cuba. The same poll also found 57 percent support for ending the trade embargo and 66 percent support for establishing diplomatic relations.

The Obama administration has taken steps to re-establish dialogue with the Cuban government. The two sides held the latest round of talks on migration in Havana last week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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