Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie accused President Barack Obama Monday of making the world “a more dangerous place” with his foreign policies and said it was time for GOP presidential candidates to start drawing clear differences on how they would handle foreign affairs.
Gillespie said Obama deserves credit “where credit is due,” especially on the pursuit and killing of Osama Bin Laden. But he added during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Obama has failed on a range of issues from the war in Afghanistan to dealing with Syria, Iran, and even Russia.
“The fact is he has not improved things — and the policies that he pursued, and said he would pursue, and did — have made us less secure as a nation, and has made the world a more dangerous place,” Gillespie said, repeating an assertion he made in an article written for Foreign Policy magazine with fellow Republican political consultant Karl Rove.
Asked about what role that foreign policy would likely place in this year’s presidential race, Gillespie agreed the “overarching issue” is going to be “jobs and the economy.”
“That is what is most vote determinative,” he said.
But he insisted the president is “incredibly vulnerable” on foreign policy issues because he has failed to deliver on his promise to improve America’s standing abroad. “We haven’t seen that,” he added.
“They have one talking point, which they cite over and over again, which is the death of Osama Bin Laden. Happy about that, or glad that it was the right decision by the president,” Gillespie conceded. “But that does not a foreign policy make. And I do think that the critique here for this president shows that he is very vulnerable on this issue area.”
Gillespie took particular issue with Obama’s plan to drastically draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan through the summer and into the fall, suggesting that now is not the time to withdraw.
He said Obama should be commended for the surge strategy in Afghanistan, but suggested it has not yet had time to work. He said the Taliban and al-Qaida understand that the Americans are leaving in a short time “without having established a stable environment and a stable government in Afghanistan.”
Asked when he would start withdrawing troops, Gillespie said, “It’s not the kind of thing where you throw . . . a dart at a calendar, which is kind of the impression you get with what President Obama did — fortuitously in advance of November of this year.”
“But having an opportunity for al-Qaida to reestablish a presence and safe haven in Afghanistan for the Taliban to re-emerge there is not in America’s national interest,” he said.
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