President Barack Obama fired back at critics of his foreign policy on Monday, saying those who jab at his perceivably small steps to conflicts are too eager to jump into an extended military conflict.
Many Republicans have criticised Obama’s responses to two major recent conflicts — the ongoing crisis in Syria and, now, the escalation in Ukraine. Last week, Republican Sen. Bob Corker said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been “wise” to kill more than 1,000 Syrians with chemical weapons, because he knew the U.S. would only ask he not “embarrass” them like that anyone.
Asked about the “unflattering” portraits of his foreign policy during an overseas trip in Asia, Obama admitted he got “worked up” over the question. Obama did not name names, but he said many proponents of “what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade,” and they want to make the same mistake again.
Here’s how Obama summed up his foreign policy with respect to Syria, Ukraine and, implicitly, to Iran:
“That may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows. But it avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run. But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.”
On Syria, he repeated that he considers the removal of the regime’s chemical weapons — a level that hit 92 per cent last week — was a “success,” and he argued a long, protracted conflict leading to a potential land war was in no one’s best interest.
In Ukraine, he said the U.S. has led an international coalition of opposition to Russia, leaving the government of President Vladimir Putin more isolated than ever. More sanctions will be announced on Monday.
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