Editor's Note: Be sure to tune in at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST for more from Fareed Zakaria on his interview with President Obama.
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
Let me give you a few of my thoughts and impressions.
Obama seemed relaxed, calm and confident.
I asked him about Mitt Romney's attacks on him as "indecisive, timid, and nuanced." (I don't quite know why being nuanced is a bad thing, but that's what Romney said.)
Obama responded, “Romney and the rest of the Republican field are going to be playing to their base until the primary season is over.”
After that, he said, “I look forward to having a foreign policy debate. Overall, I think it's going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office."
I think Obama has good reason to be confident on this front. He entered the Oval Office with the United States deeply unpopular around the world, with vast commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, with difficult relations with many countries and a large part of the world feeling that it had been ignored by an America obsessed by the “War on Terror.”
Obama was determined to pare down America's commitments and its military footprint and to regain goodwill and trust abroad.
For the most part, he has done so. There were 140,000 troops in Iraq when he came into office. There are zero now. He added troops in Afghanistan but there too a drawdown has begun. He has scaled back the nation-building aspect of American interventions but ferociously embraced the counterterrorism angle - fighting al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Obama ordered more drone attacks in the first two years of his presidency than George W. Bush did in his entire two terms. The results have been noteworthy: Most of al Qaeda's senior leadership has been destroyed. The strategy's crowning success was, of course, the killing of Osama bin Laden.
If the war against al Qaeda is the most visible and dramatic success story, the most significant long-term success might be in Asia, where Obama has pivoted. Asia is the new arena of global wealth, power, and power politics, and Obama decided to expand American presence in the region with a flurry of diplomatic moves over the last six months.
He did so carefully and skillfully so that Asia countries saw it as a response to their requests rather than an unilateral assertion of American power. When historians write about an Obama Doctrine, they might point to his new Asian strategy - his declaration that America is a “Pacific Power” that is here to stay.
All in all, it's a pretty strong record. Which is why you actually don't hear Republicans talking much about foreign policy on the campaign trail.
For more on this, you can read my cover story in this week's TIME Magazine and read my full interview with President Obama. Also, be sure to tune in at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST for more from Fareed Zakaria on his interview with President Obama.