By Adham Bishr
After reading the “Bin Laden Bounce” by Scott Clement on Foreign Policy’s website, I began to question whether or not Obama’s foreign policy successes will matter in his bid for re-election. The article demonstrates that despite the death of the man who orchestrated 9/11, Americans simply do not see much reason in reelecting someone when they kill bad guys (a lesson the very first George Bush learned after deposing Saddam Hussein) when the economy is in a miserable condition.
The truth is that Obama has been too successful on the foreign policy front—while belittled on failed domestic policies—for any of the Republican nominees to foolishly bring it up during a general election. Obama seems more hawkish than Republicans themselves yet they refuse to give him credit. When he brought down Bin Laden, Obama received minor applause from Republicans for his daring decision, but was urged to turn his attentions to struggling Americans. After decisively intervening in Libya when NATO had proven its inefficiency and ineffectiveness, he hardly received any credit. Republican senators (led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio) felt that the “French and British carried the load on that” and that “the president did the right thing, he just took too long to do it and he didn’t do enough of it,” leaving Obama to twist in the wind in a shocking show of dishonor (considering the Republican-controlled house pushed to cut off funding for Libya).
Let us not forget Obama scaled down America’s involvement significantly in Iraq and Afghanistan (which he promised to do when elected). Now he’s being accused of diminishing America’s stature around the world. Every Republican contender for the nomination (with the exception of Ron Paul) has promised to increase funding to the military in order to ensure no one would ever challenge American military power. This comes from Republicans who want more spending cuts and decry Washington’s wasteful spending.
Why do they get away with all this? Because the truth is no one cares about foreign policy when the economy is down the drain (refer to the Bush-Clinton Presidential Race 1992). Obama could kill all the bad guys in the world but with an unemployment rate that just won’t budge past 8% (without considering what real unemployment actually is) and a global economy that looks disastrous, Obama is going to have an uphill re-election battle. It looks like Obama has something to learn from Bill Clinton’s mantra during the ‘92 presidential election—”It’s Still the Economy, Stupid!”
Photo courtesy of Flickr user art_es_anna.