Papastefan: Democratic foreign policy has put our nation at risk


Grant Papastefan, Columnist

At the heart of Republican foreign policy is the concept of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism recognizes that the United States holds a special role in history as a uniquely democratic nation. Because of this, Republicans believe it is the job of a nation as fortunate as ours to take a leading role in global affairs, and to approach global policy with the goal of “peace through strength.”

Perhaps one of the greatest issues many Republicans have with Barack Obama’s presidency is his approach to foreign policy. Under Obama, America has led from behind, and Obama’s vocal support of American exceptionalism is not reflected in his actions. The primary example of this is his policy in the Middle East, which led to the rise of the Islamic State. After prematurely pulling troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan to make a political statement, and creating a power vacuum that brought about ISIS, the Obama administration took multiple steps to fan the rebellion in Syria, which has proven to be dangerously short-sighted. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have created an even larger mess in the Middle East by refusing to work with Syrian President Bashar al Assad to defeat dangerous rebel forces.

To add insult to injury, this situation arose not out of military strategy, but out of playing to public opinion. Even as recently as January, Obama described ISIS as “masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks … (who) do not threaten our national existence.” It should be pretty easy to see how that is wrong. Unfortunately, Democrats refuse to bear the political consequence of admitting their policy failures, instead blaming the Bush administration for responding to terrorist attacks on our home turf and fighting an oppressive dictatorship in Iraq.

Republican foreign policy may support a strong U.S. presence abroad, but that does not have to correlate with wasteful military spending. Republicans believe that cost-effective measures should be taken to ensure fiscal solvency. The majority of military spending should go toward developing efficient military technology and preventing nuclear proliferation. The GOP does not feel that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran does an adequate job of addressing this issue.

Our world is in dire straits, and the lack of foreign policy leadership under the Obama administration has put the U.S. at risk. That is not fear-mongering. It is just the truth. Instead of electing Democrats who wish to undermine significant threats to our nation and diminish America’s exceptional role in promoting global peace through strength, Northwestern students should consider electing a Republican who places national security as our top priority, and embraces patriotism, rather than trying to hide it.

Grant Papastefan is a Bienen freshman. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.