Arab protests puts foreign policy at the fore

first_imgStill, in an election dominated by the economy, other issues have grabbed headlines, only to quickly recede.And Obama’s response so far has been somber and focused on protecting foreign personnel. The Pentagon on Wednesday ordered two warships to the Libyan coast.Obama forcefully condemned the attack in Libya and has decried the assaults on the embassies. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton forcefully denounced the film, which depicts Muhammad variously as a cartoonish lecher, fool and thug.But it was just that type of condemnation from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that prompted Romney to accuse the administration of issuing an “apology.”“If I was looking for what reminds people of the importance of poised presidential leadership, I have to come right out and say that Obama is getting the better part of the argument this week,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution. “I like a lot of things about Romney, but he hasn’t handled this very well.”The mob actions in Egypt, Libya and Yemen nevertheless present a challenge for Obama because they draw more attention than other foreign policy conundrums. What’s more, in these instances the perpetrators are not state-sponsored, presenting Obama with a diffuse target. “We watch for Iranian interference in different countries,” the senior administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe administration thinking. “And when you have any type of instability, that’s the type of thing that we look for.”____Follow Jim Kuhnhenn on Twitter at” alt=”last_img” />

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