White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week that the Obama administration’s foreign policies in a number of areas have enhanced the world’s “tranquility” – a word that raised eyebrows as reporters pointed to situations in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine and the South China Sea.
More than one reporter during Monday’s press briefing referred to a front-page Wall Street Journal article highlighting some of those crises, and citing security strategists as saying “the breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn’t been seen since the late 1970s.”
“How does the White House react to the notion that the president is a bystander to all these crises?” asked Fox News’ Ed Henry, citing the widening gaps between the sides in the Iranian nuclear talks, the conflict in and around Gaza, and the Syrian civil war.
“I think that there have been a number of situations in which you’ve seen this administration intervene in a meaningful way, that has substantially furthered American interests and substantially improved the, uh, you know, the – the tranquility of the global community,” Earnest replied.
ABC News’ Jon Karl quoted Attorney General Eric Holder’s assessment in an interview aired Sunday that the terrorist potential arising from Westerners returning home after fighting in Syria was “more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general.”
Karl then pointed to “what’s looking like an all-out war” between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Sunni jihadist successes in “taking over vast territory in Iraq and in Syria,” Russian aggression in Ukraine, and concerns about Chinese handling of territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
“It doesn’t seem like a time to be touting tranquility on the international scene,” he told Earnest. “Do you think the president’s foreign policy bears any responsibility for any of this, or is there anything he can do about any of this?”
Earnest said President Obama’s thinking about foreign policy was guided by one core principle – “the national security interests of the United States of America.”
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