In recent weeks, Republican presidential candidates have nearly exhausted the list of synonyms for “weak” to describe President Obama’s foreign policy.
He’s thrown allies such as Israel “under the bus,” in the words of Mitt Romney.
He’s indecisive in confronting Iran over its nuclear program, according to Newt Gingrich, who called this week for “regime replacement” in the Islamic Republic.
Never mind that polls rate Obama highest on his management of national security. Or that he has surged troops into Afghanistan, significantly stepped-up the use of drones to kill al-Qaeda operatives even beyond America’s defined battlefields, and supported with aircraft and intelligence the successful rebellion in Libya against long-time U.S.-antagonist Moammar Gaddafi.
On Wednesday, addressing a gathering of Jewish Republicans, Romney said, “Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. Appeasement betrays a lack of faith in America, in American strength, and in America’s future.”
The charge came up Thursday in the White House briefing room, where Obama made an appearance primarily to criticize the Republican-led filibuster of his nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board.
The president took a few questions, one of them whether appeasement was the right way to characterize his foreign policy. Obama needed few words to answer, which he did with a little gallows swagger that he rarely displays.
“Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 of 30 top al Qaeda leaders that I’ve taken off the playing field whether I have engaged in appeasement,” he said. “Or whoever is left out there.”
Game on, it appears.