This week, when President Obama was asked about the recent disruption and chaos and violence in the Middle East, he said that these were merely, "bumps in the road." That casual assessment of shocking events reveals that the President really doesn't understand the gravity of the challenges that we face in the broader Middle East.
Back in 2008, President Obama didn't make the case for his candidacy on his accomplishments because he couldn't. He didn't have any. So instead, he just touted his judgment. He insisted that he knew the issues and knew the consequences of our actions. And he argued that if we were more humble abroad and took our place as merely one among many nations rather than as an exceptional nation, we could rebuild at home and command more respect abroad. Our economy would be stronger, he argued. Our moral standing would be higher. And, of course, our country would be safer.
Four years later, every one of these arguments has been proven wrong. We're struggling through the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Our moral standing has declined. The world has become more dangerous. His theory that receding American leadership would calm anger against us and win us favor has not only failed, but it's produced more chaos.
The Middle East is a case in point. In Syria, a dictator has slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent people. Our embassies across the Islamic world were violently stormed. In Libya, terrorists attacked a U.S. consulate, killing our ambassador and three other Americans. In Iran, the ayatollahs race full tilt to develop nuclear weapons capability.
Through it all, President Obama continues to show that he does not grasp the dimensions of what's occurring and has no strategy to protect and advance our interests. We've seen a confused, slow, and inconsistent response to the terrorist attack in Libya, a refusal to be frank with the American people about what happened, and a complete failure to explain the growing terrorist threat we face in the region. Instead of standing with Israel--our closest ally in the region--he downgrades Israel to merely, quote, "one of our closest allies" in the Middle East. And he refuses to meet with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at a moment when a show of solidarity before the world is needed.
President Obama's foreign policy is one of passivity and denial. And that places America and our friends and allies at the mercy of events and those who mean to do us harm. I believe we should shape events to protect our interests and our ideals. In a time of testing, an American president must show strong leadership.
In a dangerous world, we can't allow indifference to undermine security. Only strength and clarity can keep the peace. When I'm president, I'll reverse President Obama's defense cuts. I'll call terrorism what it is. I will never abdicate American leadership -- and I will never apologize for America.