Obama defends foreign policy record
PRESIDENT Barack Obama on Wednesday staunchly defended his foreign policy record against Republican election-year criticism that he has overseen a decline in American power in the world.
Addressing graduates of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Obama touted his decisions to pull US forces out of Iraq, wind down the war in Afghanistan and order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden - a record his campaign hopes will temper voter discontent about a still fragile economy.
“For a decade, we have laboured under the dark cloud of war. Now, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.
The end of these wars will shape your service and it will make our military stronger,” he told the class of 1,073 uniformed cadets, including 234 women, on the military school’s football field.
Mitt Romney, Obama’s presumptive challenger in the November 6 election, has accused the Democratic president of weakening America on the world stage, calling last year’s exit from Iraq premature and the timeline to leave Afghanistan ill-conceived.
Last weekend at a NATO summit in Chicago, Obama acknowledged there were risks in withdrawing US and allied forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But at the Air Force Academy he pushed back against Romney’s charge that America had lost ground under his leadership.
“Let’s start by putting aside the tired notion that says our influence has waned, that America is in decline. We’ve heard that talk before,” he said, declaring that his policies were seeding the way to a new “American Century” - an expression Romney has used to describe his own foreign policy vision.