Will President Obama's foreign policy successes help him in 2012?
October 25th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Will President Obama's foreign policy successes help him in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama may face an uphill battle for re-election... but one area where he can boast about success is foreign policy.

And that's something new for Democrats.

Since the Vietnam war, Democratic candidates for president have been labeled as being soft and inexperienced on military and foreign policy issues.

Think John Kerry getting swift boated, Jimmy Carter and the Iran hostage crisis... or Michael Dukakis and that tank.

But not President Obama.

He's presided over the killings of Osama bin Laden and American-born Anwar Al-Awlaki... although it's worth pointing out not everyone thinks the assassination of a U.S. citizen was legal or a good idea.

U.S. support in Libya also led to the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi.

As for the two wars, Mr. Obama is drawing down troops in Afghanistan following an earlier surge.

And, he's taking credit now for "ending the war in Iraq"– even though George Bush really ended the war there in 2008 and we are being kicked out of the country by the Iraqi government.

Nonetheless - despite these successes overseas, it's not clear if foreign policy victories will help the president win a second term.

If unemployment stays at 9% ... it very well may be all about the economy, stupid.

A recent CNN/ORC poll shows that foreign policy is not a top issue on most Americans' minds these days.

Only 23% of those polled say foreign policy is extremely important to their vote for president.

Compare that to 54% who cite the economy. And most other issues rank higher than foreign policy too - including unemployment, the deficit, health care, Social Security, Medicare, Terrorism, Taxes and the size of government.

Here’s my question to you: Will President Obama’s foreign policy successes help him in 2012?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


March 16th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

How would you rate Pres. Obama on foreign policy?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When Barack Obama was elected, there was a hope that he would improve America's standing on the world stage.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/16/art.world.jpg caption=""]
More than a year later, tensions are rising between the U.S. and several key nations.

In the Middle East, by some counts, U.S.-Israeli relations are "in a crisis"... the worst in more than three decades.

Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is defiant when it comes to defending construction in East Jerusalem - despite pressure from the U.S. to stop. This will probably throw a wrench into Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; and that only hurts America's image in Arab countries. Israel announced the construction during V.P. Biden's trip to Isral - a big time diplomatic slap in the face. Meanwhile Hamas called for a "day of rage" today, rioting at the re-opening of a synagogue in Jerusalem.

Then there's China... Some suggest the communist nation is manipulating its currency; and trying to take advantage of America's credit crisis. For its part, China accuses the U.S. of pursuing hegemony in the world, trampling upon the sovereignty of other countries and trespassing on their human rights. Didn't we use to say that human rights stuff about China? Things sound good there.

President Obama has been unable to do anything about Iran's nuclear program, despite making that a priority early in his term.

And lastly - ahead of President Obama's scheduled trip to Asia - thousands of people protested in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

The followers of a conservative Islamic group say that even though Mr. Obama spent his childhood in Indonesia, as president he is following the policies of George Bush in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to foreign policy, how would you rate President Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


April 20th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama moving too fast on foreign policy?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama has "gone abroad and gored an ox," according to an AP analysis that examines how the president is challenging the deeply held belief that the U.S. doesn't make mistakes in dealing with other nations. In just 3 short months in office, Mr. Obama has been very vocal to our friends and foes about where the U.S. has gone wrong.

Pres. Obama is pictured during a press conference yesterday following the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

That includes:

Admitting to Europe that America deserves at least part of the blame for the world's financial crisis.

– Telling Russia he wants to reset relations that deteriorated to Cold War levels under President Bush.

Asking NATO for more troops in Afghanistan; and then not throwing a tantrum when he didn't get much help.

Lifting restrictions on Cuban Americans traveling home and sending money to relatives.

Saying America's hunger for illegal drugs, poor control over guns, and money flowing into Mexico were partly to blame for the drug cartel violence south of the border.

Shaking hands with and accepting a book from anti-American Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The AP compares President Obama's rather hard core efforts to change America's image abroad to former Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev, who pretty much scrambled non-stop to break the communist empire's image before it ran itself into the ground.

President Obama says he's committed to telling the world that the U.S. is a powerful and wealthy nation - but just one among many that needs to respect other cultures and perspectives. Critics worry that the new president might be making the U.S. too vulnerable by readily admitting mistakes and being willing to talk to opponents.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to dealing with foreign countries, is President Obama moving too fast?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


April 17th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should U.S. end sanctions & restore full relations with Cuba?


Raul Castro says Cuba is ready to talk about "everything, everything, everything" that the U.S. wants to discuss. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is ready to talk with Cuba; just as President Obama heads to a 34 nation Summit of the Americas that excludes Cuba.

The U.S. is under increasing pressure from Caribbean leaders to end its policy of isolating the communist state. Critics say the policy, which goes back nearly half a century, has failed to bring about change in Cuba and has instead isolated the U.S. in the region.

Secretary Clinton has made it clear that Washington wants Havana to take certain steps to help improve relations - things like opening up its society, releasing political prisoners, and opening up to outside opinions and media. There is some concern that leaders at the summit will be "distracted" by the issue of Cuba, instead of focusing on the global economic crisis.

Meanwhile the desire to talk is apparently mutual. The Cuban government says it's prepared to meet with the Obama administration. Raul Castro says they're ready to discuss human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners: "everything, everything, everything" that the U.S. wants to discuss.

A New CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows the majority of Americans back the Obama administration on this. 64 percent of those surveyed think the U.S. should lift the ban on travel to Cuba and 71 percent say the U.S. should re-establish diplomatic relations with the island nation. Earlier this week, President Obama lifted all restrictions on the ability of U.S. citizens to visit relatives in Cuba and send money there.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. end the sanctions and restore full relations with Cuba?

Filed under: Foreign Policy
April 18th, 2008
05:01 PM ET

Appropriate role for former presidents?


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Cairo on Thursday. Carter also met with top Hamas officials in both Egypt and Syria. (PHOTO CREDIT:AP)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Former President Jimmy Carter has been making waves this week with his trip to the Middle East.

Today, Carter met with an exiled Hamas politician in Damascus, Syria. Earlier this week, he met with two other senior Hamas politicians in Cairo.

Carter's trip drew condemnation from the U.S. and Israeli governments; both consider Hamas a terrorist organization. Carter has said he's not a negotiator, but that he's "just trying to understand different opinions and... provide communications between people who won't communicate with each other." Critics say it's not useful to engage in diplomacy with a group like Hamas, and most Israeli officials have refused to meet with Carter.

His trip raises larger questions about what exactly former presidents should be doing with their time out of office, which could be many years for someone like Bill Clinton or the current President George Bush. In recent years, Clinton teamed up with former President George H.W. Bush to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Clinton also has a foundation that deals with issues like HIV/AIDS and climate change, and Carter has donated countless hours to Habitat for Humanity.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has said that if she's elected president, she would make her husband a roaming ambassador to the world to help repair our tattered image abroad.

But is there a line these men who used to hold the highest office in the land shouldn't cross?

Here’s my question to you: What’s the appropriate role for former presidents?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Foreign Policy • Jimmy Carter