And to the Republic

Howard Manly | 11/8/2011, 8:27 p.m.

That day finally occurred on May 2, 2011, when Navy Seal Team Six raided Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and killed the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The successful raid also destroyed another bogey-man — that Obama was incapable of leading an effective war against terrorism.  

Under the Obama Administration, virtually every major al-Qaida affiliate has lost its key leader or operational commander, and more than half of al-Qaida’s top leadership has been eliminated. President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, explained in June 2011.

Unfortunately, President Obama, plagued by enormous domestic problems and staunch conservative opposition during a presidential election year, has been unable to implement his own stamp on U.S. foreign policy. In fact, Obama has maintained many of the very things that he campaigned against. From Guantanomo Bay and the treatment of suspected terrorists to his steadfast opposition to Palestinian efforts to gain recognition in the United Nations, Obama has taken a long-established approach in U.S. foreign policy that has served short-term political interests at the expense of the oft-stated, long-term goals of establishing democracy throughout the world.

No where is that incongruity more evident than in the Obama Administration’s handling of Palestine. In 2010, Obama stood before the General Assembly and asked for Palestinian statehood by 2011. “We should reach for what’s best within ourselves,” Obama said at the time, “If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations: an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living at peace with Israel.”

A year later, Obama went before the same board and threatened to veto any such measure. “One year ago,” Obama acknowledged, “I stood at this podium and called for an independent Palestine. I believe then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said at the time is that genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.”

It was an embarrassing moment for Obama. Like no other president before him, Obama is aware that he is viewed as the shiny example of the rewards of democracy. But as U.S. president, Obama had to put U.S. interests ahead of his own message of “hope” and “change.”

Surprisingly, even with the blurring of U.S. policy with Obama’s vision for a new world order, the one area where Obama is given the most amount of credit is the very thing that his political opponents blasted him during his presidential campaign — national security. Part of the reason for solid poll numbers are attributable to Obama’s unwavering stance in favor of democratic governance.

But the chief reason for the spike in poll numbers was the death of Bin Laden. At the time, public confidence in government’s ability to tackle tough budgetary and economic issues remained low. But several national polls told a different story when it came to Obama’s handling of national security. According to Rasmussen Reports in its July 15 poll, 51 percent gave the president good or excellent marks on his handling of national security issues while 28 percent rated him poor on those issues.