CARDENAS: Obama charisma not working in foreign policy

Approval ratings have dropped across the globe

First, let’s not forget that the president long ago proposed and enacted a $487 billion cut to our defense spending, long before sequestration became an issue. It appears that the White House failed to inform its own secretary of defense, who protested that these cuts were intolerable and would reduce our capabilities to troubling levels.

Second, his budgets have shaped our military strategy — not vice-versa — and that is dangerous for our safety and that of our allies. For example, Mr. Obama announced plans for an intensified presence in the Pacific Rim and South China Sea. Yet the U.S. Navy has been decimated to its lowest levels in almost a century, and the president’s cuts mean that strengthening our naval capabilities is not possible.

Third, in modern times we have always had enough troop strength to fight in two separate fronts, if necessary. The president is downgrading this capability to only one engagement at a time — which is a serious weakness.

Peace through strength was President Reagan’s motto, and it is precisely what we will have under a President Romney, who plans to fortify our defenses. In his own words, Mr. Romney believes “in a military that is so strong, no one would test it.”

Fourth, our diplomatic scorecard is weak. Mr. Obama has allowed China to cheat on trade; given unilateral, costly concessions to Russia; stood by while the Middle East has gone from an Arab Spring to a smoldering mess — far worse than it was four years ago; and forgotten about Latin America, where the growing drug trade and narcotrafficking has had repercussions for our neighbors and increased violence at home.

Lastly, there are 100 trade agreements being negotiated in the world today. Our country is involved in only one of them. This is a pathetic and troubling performance — stymied by domestic pressure from union bosses and radical environmental groups allied with Mr. Obama.

The president’s style of diplomacy has worn out its welcome, and his foreign policy strategies have not worked. America and the free world need a new commander in chief.

Al Cardenas is chairman of the American Conservative Union.

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