The Obama administration on Sunday defended against criticism that its foreign policy is spinning out of control and failing on multiple fronts.
Pressed by host Candy Crowley on CNN's “State of the Union,” White House Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken dismissed the failed peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians; Bashar Assad's strengthening grip on power in Syria; Russia's moves in Ukraine; and an inability to complete trade negotiations with Japan as immaterial compared to what President Obama has accomplished on the world stage.
“Look at what's happened in Asia, with the president leading the effort to rebalance our relationships in Asia -- all the different lines of effort we've been working on over the past five years: strengthening our alliances with our core partners, building the institutions in Asia, developing trade and commerce so that we open up markets to Americans, re-situating our defense posture. Every single line of effort, we are stronger now than we were five years ago,” Blinken said.
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman, disagreed sharply.
“Right now, worldwide, our enemies don't fear us, our friends don't trust us, and when we show weakness it emboldens people around the world who are our enemies whether they're in Iran, Syria, Russia or North Korea,” said Barrasso, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., another member of the Foreign Relations Committee who appeared with Barrasso on “State of the Union,” countered that Obama has taken the steps necessary to properly address foreign crises, particularly Russia's threats against Ukraine. The president, Cardin said, has orchestrated an internationally unified response to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin that is critical to combatting his aggression against Ukraine.
“I think President Obama’s been very strong,” Cardin said. “I think there’s no disagreement in congress with the steps he’s staking, plus he’s gotten international unity, which is critically important.”