Who was the best foreign policy president?
September 20th, 2012
09:10 AM ET

Who was the best foreign policy president?

In less than two weeks, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney will square off in the first of a series of presidential debates that will include foreign policy. But who should they be drawing their inspiration from? And whose examples should they be avoiding?

Global Public Square asked a group of historians and commentators for their take on the most successful and least successful U.S. presidents, from a foreign policy point of view. Here, we feature their picks of the best, and on Friday, we'll highlight those considered the least successful. (All views expressed here are, of course, the writers' own.) Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

Bruce Jentleson is professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University and the author, among other works, of "American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century."

His take: Both for his leadership turning one of our country’s moments of  greatest vulnerability into the triumph of World War II, and for the vision to begin building the postwar peace, Franklin D. Roosevelt deserves the highest ranking. Congressional isolationists had blocked most of FDR’s efforts to start mobilizing the American industrial base and preparing the American people for the war. We would have had our work cut out for us even if the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hadn’t crippled the Navy. FDR’s fireside chats provided a mix of reassurance and call to action. From only 175,000 troops, enlistments and the draft brought the military to 8.5 million. Government and industry worked together. American families did their share buying war bonds and growing “victory gardens” – including my then-14 year-old Mom who still had her official thank you letter for her Scranton, Pennsylvania plot of lettuce and tomatoes when she died more than 60 years later. And even before the war was over, he began laying the groundwork for a postwar order: the Bretton Woods open international economic system, the United Nations, diplomacy with the Soviet Union to at least try and avoid what later became the Cold War.

More: The current candidates' global challenges

James Lee Ray is director of undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University.

His take: Franklin Delano Roosevelt is hard choice to avoid as most successful foreign policy president. He faced the greatest, most serious challenges, and he dealt with them successfully.

He managed to make important contributions to the anti-fascist effort even when faced with overwhelming isolationist opposition before 1941. (Lend-Lease, for example.)  Japan attacked in 1941, and then Hitler declared war almost immediately. That declaration made it possible for him to focus on Europe first.  His planning for the attack across the English Channel took a very long time. Meanwhile, the Nazis and Communists were killing each other by the millions. The difficulties faced by the Allies even in 1944 when the cross-channel attack was launched suggest that an earlier attack might have been premature and unsuccessful.

Holding together the Allied coalition was difficult.  Adopting the policy of “unconditional surrender” was probably a key to doing so.  He did put too much faith, at Yalta, in his ability to deal with Stalin after the war. He didn’t count on being dead when the time came. But it is unlikely that any policies would have prevented the Soviet Union from taking over in Eastern Europe, or the Cold War.

Andrew Bacevich is a professor of international relations at Boston University and a retired career officer in the U.S. Army.

His take: The measure of merit: A successful statesman enhances the wealth, power, and influence of the state; the unsuccessful statesmen depletes those assets.

Based on those criteria, Franklin D. Roosevelt ranks as our most successful foreign policy president. Thanks to FDR’s skillful management of World War II, the United States by 1945 had become the richest and strongest country in the world. Americans were the sole beneficiaries of the cataclysm touched off by Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939. By the time the smoke cleared, the ranks of Great Powers had been reduced to two and in every way that counted, the United States enjoyed vast advantages over its only conceivable rival, the Soviet Union.

James M. Lindsay is the senior vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

His take: In the spirit of the bipartisanship that Americans long for in their foreign policy but typically don’t see, two presidents rate as most successful in foreign policy: Franklin D. Roosevelt and George H.W. Bush. With the destroyer-for-bases-deal, the Lend Lease Act, and other actions, FDR secured critical support for Britain during its darkest hours and against intense isolationist head winds at home. He then led the country to victory in World War II and oversaw the creation of the bedrock international institutions of the modern world: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

More: Next president faces a dangerous world

GEORGE H.W. BUSH

Thomas Schwartz is professor of history at Vanderbilt University.

His take: Two very different presidents who come to mind almost immediately are Harry Truman and Richard Nixon.  Truman’s presidency laid the basis for the successful policy of containing the Soviet Union and built such important foreign policy institutions as NATO, through which American policy was exercised throughout the Cold War. He presided over the reintegration of Germany and Japan into the American led system of alliances. Truman did fight an unpopular war in Korea and fire a popular general, but his decisions have largely been vindicated by history even though they made him extremely unpopular as he left office. The other president is Richard Nixon, who with the help of Henry Kissinger reversed America’s decades-long estrangement from China and dramatically improved relations with the Soviet Union, playing the two communist giants off against each other. Although Nixon’s policy of ending the war in Vietnam was controversial, it was ultimately approved by the American people, who gave him one of the largest landslides in American history. But the collapse of his presidency over Watergate keeps his presidency from being seen as a success.

But the president I would select as the most successful post-1945 president in foreign policy is George Herbert Walker Bush.  Bush came into the presidency during the tumultuous year of 1989, which saw the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and most importantly, the reunification of Germany. Not only did he manage these changes with an intelligence and modesty that facilitated America’s goals, he also worked quietly behind the scenes with his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev to minimize any violence and bloodshed. At the same time, Bush engineered an extraordinarily effective international coalition to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. He was a president who both recognized the potential strength of the United States, but also the limits of its power.

James Lee Ray:

His take: George H. W. Bush is surely the most highly qualified foreign policy president in the history of the country. He had been a Congressman, head of the CIA, ambassador to the United Nations, envoy to China and vice president of the United States for eight years by the time he became president.

And that experience seemed to pay off.  He did launch a gratuitous attack on Panama in 1989.  But then he put together the greatest, most powerful coalition ever (compared to its enemy), to push Iraq (and its million man army) out of Kuwait in 1991. He avoided the temptation to go into Baghdad. (Had he not, the hardline Communist coup in the Soviet Union in August of 1991 would have succeeded.)

Bush faced a situation in Germany after the end of the Cold War whose potential for disaster is also still under-appreciated.  The Soviet Union still had 300,000 troops in East Germany. It did not want to see Germany united, and it considered a united Germany as a member of NATO totally out of the question. But President Bush managed to pull that off anyway, without creating a very messy crisis in the middle of Europe, with a desperate Soviet Union in its death throes.

James M. Lindsay:

His take: George H. W. Bush did not enjoy the FDR’s electoral success. But during his one term he successfully handled some of the stiffest foreign policy challenges of the last half century. He helped manage the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed for the reunification of Germany against the advice of close U.S. allies. He also liberated Kuwait and resisted calls to send the U.S. military onward to Baghdad. No, the elder Bush never figured out what the “new world order” would look like. But then again, neither have his three successors.

RONALD REAGAN

Danielle Pletka is Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Her take: Measuring the relative success of American presidents in foreign policy is an almost impossible task. Even narrowing the task to the 20th and 21st centuries demands almost ridiculous comparisons. What are the metrics?  Lives lost? Lives saved? American interests served? But which ones?  Many might argue that Franklin Roosevelt was one of our nation’s greatest foreign policy leaders, ushering in the era of American global leadership, ridding the world of a vile dictator. But World War II was also a tale of missed opportunity; of lives lost because the United States would not act.  Can any war that ends with the death of six million Jews be considered a “success”?

Then too, there are contests, many partisan, for the title of worst foreign policy president. Was it Lyndon Johnson, who failed to successfully prosecute the Vietnam War and sacrificed tens of thousands of American lives only to see us leave a few short years later? Was it George W. Bush, scourge of liberals for beginning the Iraq War, a conflict supported by the United States Congress but long and complex in its undertaking? Or Jimmy Carter, for whom ideology was paramount, therefore allowing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Islamist takeover of Iran?

There are no serious answers to the question because American leadership doesn’t lend itself to a neat, nonpartisan dissection of our presidents. Different Americans want different things for our country, and even those Americans aren’t divided into neat partisan lines. There are Republicans and Democrats for retreat; conservatives and liberals for internationalism.

Still, two men vie for the title of best and worst, though each has many competitors. Each governed at a seminal moment, and saw the United States through a crossroads, determining a path that would govern our future for many years.

Ronald Reagan had a vision for America in the world. Importantly, his ambitions for America’s role on the world stage were not shaped by our enemies, but rather shaped by his own view of American exceptionalism.  Reagan hastened the end of the defining battle of the 20th century, the fight between those who believed in freedom and those who embraced communism. True, there were bad choices of allies (Pinochet, Savimbi), but in the aftermath of the Carter era – dominated by a president who believed American power was an embarrassment to be lived down – Reagan knew not only what the United States opposed, but what America supported: freedom in all its iterations.

More: What can history teach the next president?

Honorable mention

JIMMY CARTER

David Ryan is professor of history at University College Cork, Ireland and author of Frustrated Empire: US Foreign Policy from 9/11 to Iraq.

His take: Jimmy Carter reflected in his second State of the Union that it was “sound.”  The troubles of 1979 had yet to compound his presidency. Carter reflected that on his watch, not one American service person had died abroad. He asked his audience, in words that now seem incredibly ironic, what sort of world the early 21st century would be as that generation of kids grew up – would America be at war?  “Our children who will be born this year will come of age in the 21st Century.  What kind of society, what kind of world are we building for them?  Will we ourselves be at peace?  Will our children enjoy a better quality of life? Will a strong and united America still be a force for freedom and prosperity around the world?” Little did he realize that it would witness two presidents trying desperately and ineffectively to withdraw from two theaters of combat with mixed results.

Of course, Carter was weak! Or so the conventional narrative ran. He received constant advice that he had to hit someone, somewhere. Americans were confused about the direction of his foreign policy. Americans had been taken hostage, the Soviets had moved into Afghanistan, the Sandinistas had succeeded in Nicaragua and Carter moved around the White House in indecision: such is the caricature.

Yet Carter realized that the use of force in each of these instances would be counterproductive.  On Iran especially, he confessed to an interviewer that bombing Tehran might make the country feel good, perhaps if timed well, he might have even been re-elected. But in terms of local and specific objectives, he would not have advanced the agenda much. Despite his early rhetoric, his was a more cautious and realistic presidency. After a decade and more of the atrocious use of force, he recognized the limits of U.S. military power and the power of the country’s appeal.  That it did not work is in part due to the domestic discourse that straitjacket presidents in so many ways, limiting their choices, generating expectation, frequently of a pugnacious sort, and most insidiously questioning their “credibility” should they fall short.

THOMAS JEFFERSON

Bruce Jentleson:

His take: Thomas Jefferson gets my second nomination, principally for his deft diplomacy in pulling off the Louisiana Purchase. These 820,000 square miles, encompassing an area that eventually would include all or part of 14 new states and provide the gateway opening the Far West, transformed our small Atlantic Coast country into a vast continental one. Despite blustery urgings from Alexander Hamilton to try to seize these areas militarily, Jefferson got it done through skilled statecraft. He played French-British-Spanish rivalries off one against the other. And when he and his emissary James Monroe saw how much Napoleon needed the money, they savvily shifted from their original plan to buy just the port of New Orleans for $10 million to dealing for all that territory for just $15 million.

None of the above:

Scott Lucas is a professor of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham, England.

His take: I don’t think there is a best, at least in the post-1945 world, because each of them has been limited by the demands of American power. Franklin D. Roosevelt might have prevailed with a vision of the “international” had he not died in office, but Truman and Eisenhower were both caught up in the confrontation with the Soviet Union – the good of the Marshall Plan has to be set alongside not-so-good U.S. interventions outside Western Europe. Kennedy’s inaugural address is one of the most aggressive speeches ever delivered and partly-implemented, Johnson sank in Vietnam, and Nixon complemented “détente” with a cynical U.S. policy that rampaged through much of the world from Cambodia to East Timor to Chile. Reagan? Overrated – the fortuitous economic exhaustion of the Soviet Union saved him from a less-exalted reputation built on the excesses of U.S. power, such as Iran-Contra and the aftermath of 1980s Afghanistan.

Jimmy Carter could have made a difference, but his well-intentioned attempt to shift U.S. policy to international justice and rights was sabotaged by the Soviets, Congress, and an inability to deal with cases like Iran.

But the one lost chance of “best” that sticks with me is seeing the last overseas speech of Bill Clinton, given in December 2000 in Warwick, England. He spoke in a tired but eloquent voice of the necessity to meet the challenges of climate change and global warming, epidemics and basic health care, and the vast divide in living standards. And I thought, “Great speech. What have you been doing for the last eight years?”

What do you think? Which president set the bar when it comes to U.S. foreign policy? Who would you argue in favor of? Against? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Next entry »
« Previous entry
soundoff (712 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Danielle Pletka is a real piece of work. She puts Obama in the worst foreign policy list for economic reasons, while she puts Reagan in the best foreign policy list while ignoring economic failure. Trickle-down didn't work.

    Spending less on defense is a good thing, especially if you have made gains on efficiency. These decisions were made when Defense Secretary Gates was in charge, and he is a conservative Republican.

    September 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  2. Pedro Torres

    Ja.... FDR, good president, very weak on foreign relations, until the second world war of course. The rest??? How can war time presidents be good at foreign relations? Is not war the definition of a failed relation? I think it is. And presidents who have managed to upset our closest neighbors,Mexico, Canada, Central America, etc., rather than helped the worldwide working class that carries on its shoulders the demands of united states consumers, is not a good foreign relations president.

    September 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  3. Ramona

    Two immediately come to mind.
    pre-1945: John Adams. When our country was in its infancy and in danger of being reconquered by Britain, he arranged alliances with 2 of the other great European powers of the day, the Netherlands and France. And considering that there was no treasury for a brand new country and there was an entire nation to build, he secured loans from both of those countries to begin building our great nation. As for relations with Britain, he managed diplomatically very well with them at a time when many, including Jefferson were openly hostile.

    post-1945: George HW Bush, for all the reasons stated in the article. To smiithly handle the reunification of Germany and the disintegration of the USSR and then to hold together an alliance of Arabs and Israelis, against Sadam Hussein was brilliant. Obviously his weakness was in domestic policy. The race riots on the streets of Los Angeles and his lack of any response to that tragedy caused me to vote for Clinton in 1992, despite my admiration for his foreign policy prowess.

    September 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  4. krehator

    The Republicans pick republicans.. The Dems pick Dems..

    GO FIGURE!

    September 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply
    • Gene

      and shias pick shias, and sunni pick sunni...

      September 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  5. jwar

    Eisenhower.

    September 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  6. Ken from FL

    Carter? You've got to be kidding me!

    September 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  7. jschmidt

    Little surpised they didn't mention Nixon for opening up CHina/

    September 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  8. Rick McDaniel

    None of the above.

    September 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  9. Ganesh

    My vote goes to Jimmy Carter. He looked beyond American boundaries sincerely demonstrated his good intentions for the wider world. Probably, people did not understand him while voting for the second term. I am wondering no one talks about the American and global mess created y George Bush Jr.

    September 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • Gene

      Really? you should come out of your cave every once in a while.

      September 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  10. Ray

    The best foreign policy president was Dwight Eisenhower who did his greatest work before he became president in dealing with Montgomery, Patton, Churchill, FDR, Stalin, and De Gaulle. His calm and intelligent manner held the allies together to defeat the Nazis. Never has a leader or a President faced more pressure from more powerful people than Ike did in leading the Allied forces in Africa, Sicily and finally, D-Day.

    September 23, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
  11. Bman

    The statement "Carter reflected that on his watch, not one American service person had died abroad" I guess he forgot that failed hostage rescue in Iran. I also agree with everyone who stated that this list is to modern. I was looking for Teddy, Monroe, Polk, Lincoln not Carter, Bush.

    September 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  12. HM8432

    President Polk, though Politically Incorrect by today's standards, was the best foreign policy president. Though he didn't ask the 'Oregon Question', he sucessfully answered it to America's advantage against the British Empire, getting us Oregon and Washington State. He also settled the exact placement of the Canada-U.S. border to everyone's satisfaction. He then acquired the American Southwest (today's West Coast Blue states) through warfare (Imperialism was the thing to do for EVERYONE back in those days), but then gave back to Mexico the land he conquered (he only wanted the land above the Rio Grande, and nothing else), and paid Mexico back for every acre (at market value) he took and kept after the American conquest. No other victorious leader or country in the history of the world ever did that. Polk made our nation a bi-coastal nation through his shrewd foreign policy, enabling us to no longer be squashed on the Eastern Seaboard. Also, setting an example today's politicians should follow more, he kept his promise of serving for only one term if elected, though he easily would have won a second one; he's the only president on record to follow through with every campaign promise he made.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  13. Gene Cole

    Jimmy Carter? Seriously?

    September 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  14. Richard

    FDR of all presidents had the most impact his administration set the post world war 2 world and established the USA as the dominant world power controlling two thirds of the worlds wealth and occupying the American continent,the atlantic and pacific oceans and both sides of both oceans bringing the USA to its zenith.Following US presidents have resided over American decline, with US lowest point reached by the Bush jr. admin.

    September 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  15. xfiler93

    JImmy Carter???? LOL WOW... the PEE WEE HERMAN of Presidents...like Obumbles.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  16. Anonymous

    I find it hilarious that George H.W. Bush somehow made this list.
    Or anybody else other than Jefferson and JFK.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
    • MarioLuiggi

      Really? I agree that JFK is the biggest miss, however, how can you possibly say that Reagan was not the best in this category? He was tough as nails but brought down communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe freeing many nations from the dictatorship of the USSR. Who else in history can claim a bigger credit? Unless you are a socialist or communist that regrets the loss of the USSR, there is. No denying on who had the biggest impact. In my opinion, second best was JFK.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  17. MarioLuiggi

    CNN did a reasonable job with the list. Except for the obvious miss: the best Democratic president ever – JFK and including the most pathetic and incompetent Democratic president on foreign affairs in american history – Jim Carter. Other than that. The list is great and unbiased.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  18. MarioLuiggi

    George W. screwed it up with the Iraq war big time, but Obama helped it further by being a "leading from behind" wimp. Anti terro he was OK but as international policy, very wimpy. Iran will get the bomb, he did nothing for peace with israel and Palestians, the Islamic world feels the USA has no power and so does Rusia an China. While everyone hated W, everybody ignores Obama. Not sure what is worst, I guess being disrespect is.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  19. 0rangeW3dge

    It doesn't matter because whatever name you put up there, the class will just erupt in some emotionally charged diatribe and label him/her a "fool", an "idiot, a "loser", or a "joke"....
    So just don't say anything, quieter that way.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:14 am | Reply
  20. jpp

    Attributing the collapse of the Soviet Union to Ronald Reagan is so ludicrous as to be believed! How? He go "Boo!" and they fell apart? He built up the U.S. Military spending...and they (stupidily) tried to keep up – couldnt, then collapsed? HA! Give me a break people. I know you love the guy – want all pets in the U.S. What a revisionist history farce that is! The Soviet Union "collapsed" because of its own internal problems – which were far too many. It was an inept system of governance that its people slowly but surely got rid of. To attribute those happenings to Ronald Reagan is to live a fantasy.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:46 am | Reply
  21. Aaron Chaney

    Premier al-Halqi: Crisis in final Phase… Economy Secure

    Prime Minister, Wael al-Halqi, stressed that the crisis in Syria is in its final stage thanks to the Syrian people's unity and the precious sacrifice being offered by the Syrian army in confronting terrorism.

    He pointed out the signs of an international political shift towards a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria and calls for dialogue and a national reconciliation.

    During his meeting with Chairman and members of the Executive Office of the General Sports Federation on Sunday, Premier al-Halqi said "The Syrian economy is secure, and we have enough food, medicine and oil derivatives available in all Syrian provinces."

    The meeting also dealt with topics related to rehabilitating sport clubs and utilities in addition to providing supplies for arranging sport events.

    They inspected the situation of some utilities and the projects invested by the Federation and means of upgrading them, as Premier al-Halqi stressed the government's interest in sport.

    For their part, Federation Chairman and members underlined that sportsmen will always be their homeland's ambassadors to the whole world.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
  22. Aaron Chaney

    The Armed Forces destroyed a Toyota 4WD car and a motorcycle in al-Shayahat town in al-Qseir Countryside and killed 4 terrorists who were using them.

    SANA reporter quoted a source at the province as saying that a unit of the army destroyed a Mortar cannon and a platform used by the armed terrorist groups to launch rockets on the citizens' houses and law-enforcement posts in Tal Siqirja town in al-Qseir countryside.

    The source added that the army clashed with an armed terrorist group riding in a pickup truck on al-Haydaryeh- al-Ghassanyeh road and killed all the 10 terrorists who were in it.

    Earlier, the Armed Forces destroyed a platform used by terrorists to launch rocket attacks in al-Ghanto town in al-Rastan countryside.

    Army Clears al-Nqeira Town in Homs from Terrorists

    The army cleared the town of al-Nqeira in Homs countryside from the terrorists who were attacking the citizens and passing cars.

    A source at the province told SANA reporter that the army killed scores of terrorists and wounded others.

    The source added that the army pursued an armed terrorist group in al-Sultanyeh town in Homs countryside and killed 12 terrorists and wounded 34.

    The source said that terrorists Khaled al-Risha, Mohammad al-Riz, Ibrahim Nasser al-Riz, Abboud al-Ahmad in addition to their leader Mohammad Shinno were identified among the dead.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
  23. Aaron Chaney

    Army Units Kill Large Number of Terrorists in Aleppo

    The armed forces on Sunday cleared the area of Qasr al-Wali restaurant in al-Sayyid Ali in the city of Aleppo form the mercenary terrorists.

    SANA reporter learned that the terrorists had been using the restaurant as a center for carrying out their terrorist operations.

    A unit of the armed forces targeted terrorists' gatherings near Orwa al-Barki Mosque in Hanano area, and others near al-Isharat area in Bustan al-Basha in Aleppo, inflicting heavy losses upon them. In Aleppo countryside, the armed forces carried out a qualitative operation killing a large number of terrorists who attacked army units in al-Atareb area.

    Sniper Yousef Deya was killed while trying to escape from al-Arkoub area and two DShK-equipped cars were destroyed in al-Khazzan area in Aleppo.

    The Armed Forces conducted a qualitative operation in Suleiman al-Halabi area in Aleppo, killing large numbers of terrorists.

    The armed forces targeted a gathering of terrorists near the 5th Industrial School in al-Marjeh neighborhood in Aleppo, eliminating scores of terrorists.

    A unit of the armed forces targeted gatherings for terrorists in Daret Azzeh in the countryside of Aleppo, killling many of them.

    Also, a unit of the armed forces targeted terrorists' gatherings near Qubtan al-Jabal, Bayanoun and Kfar Naha in Aleppo countryside, inflicting heavy losses on them.

    Army Kills Terrorists, Destroys DShK-Equipped Car in Homs

    A unit of the armed forces on Sunday destroyed a car equipped with a DShK machinegun near al-Qantara bridge in the countryside of al-Qseir in Homs.

    SANA reporter said all the terrorists inside the car were killed.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
  24. Aaron Chaney

    IED Goes off on Old Fairgrounds Road in Damascus, 1 Citizen Martyred...Army Units Kill Large Number of Terrorists in Aleppo

    An improvised explosive device, planted by an armed terrorist group, went off on the pedestrian bridge on the old fairgrounds road in Damascus. One citizen who was passing by the place was martyred.

    An official source told SANA that the device, which weighed 1 kg, also caused material damage in the area.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
  25. johnquepublique

    Way to go, OBAMINATION. A chance to meet with the Israeli delegation, but takes invite to, "The View" instead. That should get you some foreign policy points.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  26. Donald Seifried

    I hear a lot of bad dope about Obama. I am an American living in another country. When Clinton was president, I could mention that i was an american and hear hurrahs and warm compliments about how great America must be. When Bush Jr ran the show, I was scorned and chastised for a foreign policy I had nothing to do and disagreed with. Now that Obama is president, he has ended the war in Iraq, which should never have been fought in the first place, and he has successfully if modestly fought the war on terrorism. Bush was seen by the international community as an egotistical fool, and the term "cowboy" became an insult, synonomous with "redneck", wheras before it was a term that brought images of honesty and determination. The damage that Bush Jr did to the American image abroad seemed irrepairible for at least a generation. Obama, who showed strength and determination, while not being overbearing on the international community, while working in the spirit of cooperation, and by showing statesmanship and avoiding embarrassing gaffes, has restored much of the creed to the American image that the previous cowboy threw away. If you want to judge how Obama has fared on foreign policy, talk to the Americans who live abroad. Quit bashing the president, and let him do his job!! HE IS DOING A GREAT JOB IN FOREIGN POLICY!

    September 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  27. Johnsixfox

    I am NOT an american and not in america but I think President Obama has the highest marks in foriegn policy
    because he had achieved alot more than any president in the history of the USA and in the worse timeever:

    •Obama has overhauled the food safety system
    •Advanced women's rights in the work place
    •Ended Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) in our military
    •Stopped defending DOMA in court.
    •Passed the Hate Crimes bill.
    •Appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court.
    •Expanded access to medical care and provided subsidies for people who can't afford it.
    •Expanded the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
    •Fixed the preexisting conditions travesty [and rescissions] in health insurance.
    •Invested in clean energy.
    •Overhauled the credit card industry, making it much more consumer-friendly.
    •While Dodd-Frank bill was weak in many respects, it was still an extremely worthwhile start at re-regulating the financial sector.
    •He created a Elizabeth Warren's dream agency: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
    •He's done a lot for veterans
    •He got help for people whose health was injured during the clean-up after the 9/11 attacks.

    •He's killed Osama Bin Laden
    •Eliminated several other Al-Qaeda leaders
    •Ended the War in Iraq
    •Begun the drawdown of forces from Afghanistan
    •End-run Republican obstructionism by recess-appointing Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

    American are being racist that why Obama didn't get all the credits he deserves from americans.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Reply
    • Rose

      Thank you for putting it so well, I agree

      September 25, 2012 at 6:17 am | Reply
    • Will Poundstone

      I am a massive obama fan but i think calling him the president ever is a bit of an overstatement, there have been more sucessful presidents, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

      October 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  28. johnny

    Since there is none to talk about – I would rather ask the question – which presidents have the worse foreign policies?

    Answer – ALL OF THEM !

    Ok, maybe Pres Obama can be forgiven for a few not so savvy foreign policies- towards China – but its not such a big boo since Presidential Election is in November. And President has to please many Americans addiction to 'love-to-hate China'.

    China appears to be a nice punching bag that do not usually hit back hard, unlike Al Qaeda which surprisingly Mitt Gaffey Romney seldom mention in all of his war mongering speeches..

    September 25, 2012 at 12:08 am | Reply
  29. johnny

    Since there is none to talk about – I would rather ask the question – which presidents have
    the worse foreign policies?

    Answer – ALL OF THEM !

    Ok, maybe Pres Obama can be forgiven for a few not so savvy foreign policies- towards China –
    but its not such a big boo since Presidential Election is in November. And President has
    to please many Americans addiction to 'love-to-hate China'.

    China appears to be a nice punching bag that do not usually hit back hard, unlike Al Qaeda
    which surprisingly Mitt Gaffey Romney seldom mention from this monger.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:10 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Next entry »
« Previous entry