Paul Ryan rips Obama's foreign policy record
September 24th, 2012
09:47 PM ET
10 years ago

Paul Ryan rips Obama's foreign policy record

Lima, Ohio (CNN) – Rep. Paul Ryan offered a grim assessment of President Barack Obama's foreign policy record Monday, citing examples including the latest unrest in the Middle East that Mitt Romney's running mate warned "projects weakness" and threatens the nation's security.

"When the president came into office, he made these grand speeches, beautiful rhetoric, great promises, and he made the case that the power of his personality and his persuasion powers would calm things in the Muslim World, would make things, would make people respect us and like us that much more," Ryan said during a town hall in Ohio's Allen County.

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The Republican vice presidential nominee recalled the deadly attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and compared it to President Jimmy Carter's hostage crisis in Iran where 52 Americans were held hostage at the American Embassy for 444 days.

"I mean, turn on the TV and it reminds you of 1979 Tehran, but they are burning our flags in capitals all around the world, they are storming our embassies," he said. "We've lost four of our diplomats and what is the signal that our government is sending the rest of the world?"

"When you project American weakness - the superpower projecting weakness - that creates a vacuum, that creates a void," Ryan added. "That void gets filled by people in countries who do not share our interests. It means our adversaries are that much more tempted to test us and our allies are much less likely to trust us, like Israel."

Ryan condemned the Democratic president for a series of foreign policy episodes - from the latest unrest in the Middle East to Afghanistan to defense cuts - that he believes project "weakness" and threaten national security in the United States.

Wisconsin-native Ryan, who has served in the House of Representatives for 14 years, condemned Obama for presiding over Defense Department budget cuts that threaten jobs, including in Lima where Army M1 Abrams tanks are built and where the vice presidential hopeful kicked off his Ohio bus tour.

"Look, Lima, I know you understand, when you have a president, who his only eagerness to cut spending is in ... national security, when you have a president who has proposed again and again to shut down this tank factory, the only one we have, over a budget gimmick," he said.

Although Ryan has blamed Obama for what he has called "irresponsible defense cuts" during last year's budget negotiations, the House Budget Committee chairman, himself, helped guide and pass the Budget Control Act through Congress.

At the town hall held at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center downtown, Ryan took a question from a mother who has three children serving in the Armed Forces. She asked him what the Romney-Ryan plan would be to bring her children home from Afghanistan.

Ryan said was in favor of the transition agreement to end combat operations in late 2014 but he chided Obama for not listening to his commanders on the ground and vowed a Romney-Ryan administration would never put politics ahead of "what's right for national security."

Referring to the president, he said Obama, "just took 22,000 people out of theater this month, which I would argue is a politically motivated timetable before an election, but we're still giving our soldiers the same mission. We're just making them do this mission with fewer people. And when you send your men and women out with fewer people than what the commanders on the ground say they need you are putting them in jeopardy."

On the eve of Obama's speech Tuesday in New York to the United Nations General Assembly, Romney's running mate took a swipe at the president for deferring leadership to the member states.

"I think the president on too many occasions has deferred our foreign policy leadership to the U.N. Security Council, to the U.N. This means Russia and China get to veto what we want to do," said Ryan. "Why do we want to give them that kind of clout over our national security interests?"

Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Ohio • Paul Ryan
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Andrea Sharp

    Mr. Vice-president wanna be and ain't gone be. You are so ignorant. You don't even know what the hell you're talkin' about.You are not qualified to run our nation. Leave the nation building to Obama/Biden

    September 25, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  2. julius

    Paul Ryan has no foreign policy knowledge apart from voting for the Iraq war

    September 25, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    A critique containing many flaws patent inaccuracies like the budget act sequestration and is so full of backward looking 20/20 vision and reading of events no one either could have or did predict. Obama's Cairo speech did not invoke revolution in Egypt or Libya rather the US willingness to cooperate in achiveng democracy peacefully. Troop withdrawals were planned many many months ago ( before the democratic campaign kicked off) and was based on the increased numbers of trained Afghan forces. What is going on in Libya and Egypt are the growing Pains of fleldgling democracies. May I remind Mr Ryan about the US civil war and the efforts and huge killings in getting to early civil rights protections for coloreds and slaves Think Ku Klux Klan for the US version of extremist terrorism!?
    All that said..
    Dear Mr. Ryan,
    In the same way as you accuse Obama of meaninless speeches and rhetoric, the above diatribe is more than equally a meaningless speech and rhetoric, unless within the speech you give specific viable policies different to those he pursued with much advice. You have an advantage of 20/20 back vision and knowing how things actually turned out. You want me to elect you? Tell me how exactly you are as Republicans going to run foreign policy... specific decisions and actions please diplomatic or otherwise
    We already know you wanna overturn the budget act sequestration and increase defense spending.... we still spend 5/6 times more on defense that half of the rest of the developed world put together and you feel those cuts endanger national security.... Nonsense, and where pray will you cut to offset the increase... forget health care you will not have a sufficiently wide mandate in House and Senate to repeal it, even if you win the presidency which is getting increasingly Unlikely.

    September 25, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  4. Nuveria87

    OK. Cutting the Defense Department budget isn't a Foreign Policy issue. It's what you do when you have two wars coming to a close and don't need so many resources to handle those wars. Why complain about it, also, if you helped pass it? The turmoil in the Middle East is not a reflection of bad Foreign Policy. How can we control what other people choose to do in the streets of their nations? The United Nations and its Security Council were conceived to be able to handle Foreign Relations without bloodshed and as an International Community speaking with one voice. Why is it a bad thing that we adhere to the same rules we helped create for the rest of the world. It shows leadership through fairness and responsibility.

    September 25, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  5. Donkey Party

    What a pathetic, un-American, disrespectful little piece of trash Ryan is. As a disabled combat veteran, it sickens me to hear Ryan try and label the President as weak. Either he's too young, or too stupid to remember the 250 soldiers who died in Lebanon during Reagan's watch, or the 5000 we lost on 9/11, or the 5000 soldiers we lost in Iraq fighting a phony war, and the dozens lost on the USS Cole during Bush's watch. So if he wants to keep score, thousands of Americans lost their lives under Reagan and Bush, compared to the 25 and 4 between Carter and Obama. Ryan is surely going to Hell for his lies, but he should be shot for treason first, for trying to undermine the integrity of the President. The GOP miraculously sinks to new lows everyday, and I can't wait for their extinction. GOP stands for the Grossly Offensive Party. Anyone who supports them is an enemy of the nation, and should be dealt with accordingly.

    September 25, 2012 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  6. Marry

    Rep. Paul Ryan offered a truly stupid assessment of the current US foreign policy. He is a shameless liar, full of disrespect here in the US and as we see clearly the world!!
    When the President came into office, he was faced with a world that despised the USA deeply because of all the lies that had been told by the Bush administration, the greed that had been displayed, the disrespect that had been show and the many, many lives that had been lost in the process. Ryan and Romney apparently paid no attention to the Bush years of GOP foreign policies that did not only lead to the gigantic deficits of today but also, and this is even more disgusting, showed a total disregard for the lives lost by hundred thousands of people (including our heroes!), the destruction of countries, economies, and the freedom of so many.
    So, here we are in 2012 with the GOP grandstanding again and wanting to “lead” by force instead of cooperation? Afghanistan still “hot” and suffering and R+R are shooting off their mouth already? No understanding, no smarts, no plan, not learned anything? Wow, the irrational and outrageousness thinking of this pimp and his master (stating in the now famous videos that he liked – something bad to happen so he could take “advantage” of it to win the election…). What “characters”, just unbelievable! The people of the world have already made up their mind – absolute disgust at the GOP way and their “candidates” Romney and Ryan!! Read a few international papers and you will see!

    The President did talk (but also shoot where absolute nessesary!) to show a different, smart, compassionate side of the US to the world and has won back the support of old allies and found new ones to cooperate with to protect the US and to move forward. That is the proud and safe way to go! Let us go with the President!!! We can trust his proven record to work well with us and the word!

    Registered? Got your voter ID ready? Then let’s get out in November and say “NO” to these chicken-hawks and war mongers!

    September 25, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  7. Iamnotfooled

    These are gangs. They do not represent the majority of the people as evidenced by some of them holding signs saying they are sorry to America. Most of them want their freedom from dictators. The Republicans will have us at war with most countries with their bullying tactics. President Obama is right. These two have never been in the military. Talk is Cheap.

    September 25, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  8. jane

    Oh Lyin Ryan....I guess Obama made the film that made the idiots protest

    September 25, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  9. scott

    He is right the only thing Obama ever did was give the order to Get Bin Laden, which any sitting ppresident would have given the order. The Middle east is in a shambles, China is walking all over us. Iran is thumbing their nose at us, and what does Obama do, goes on the hen club show called the view, with a bunch of washed up women from the entertainment world,instead of meeting with world leaders. He caleed the death of our ambassador a bump in the road, Obama a lousy President, with no class, no brains, and a coward to boot.. Romney /Ryan 2012.

    September 25, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  10. Marie MD

    Hey lying altar boy (remember that rosary and communion for you) your foreign experience, in your own words, is that you voted for two wars. Your twit running mate has ticked off every country he has visited and he used and is still using the death of one of Ambassadors, three Americans and the Lybian forces who died protecting them a campaign lying slogan.
    Just leave the real decision on foreign policy to the big boys. You and the twit can go back to your homes after November 6th.

    September 25, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  11. johnmenacherjr

    Lets be so negative and Anti American lyin Ryan. Nothing is going to help so lets shoot down the presidents efforts before he even has his speech? Hey you and your flip flop[in running mate are not anywhere yet. It is quite apparent you only want to see the country – my country shot down in flames so you can politicize the whole thing to your sick advantage. God I hope you loose your seat in congress . Then you can maybe slip back under a rock. What a negative pertisan slime bag.

    September 25, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  12. Wake up People!

    It's a shame the GOP isn't patriotic in the least bit. They know nothing about supporting their President. No all they know is Obama bad, we're good, trust us. Liars.

    September 25, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  13. true blue

    Come on lying Ryan what is your foreign policy: the middle east was nice a quite until your running mate open his mouth and your people put money in for obstruction. Little boy you have service in the house for fourteen years you have done nothing for your country it's time for you and the other blood-suckers to depart.It's time for you to be responsible for your action.

    September 25, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    This idiot does not know what he says–Iran war is good foreign policy. Idiot. Believing Israel is policy??? Idiot. Enough of money drain on treasury with wars.

    September 25, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  15. GaryB

    I get a real kick out of guys like Ryan who worship at the temple of Reagan criticizing Obama over the Benghazi incident. In 1983, over 200 US Service Members died during a terrorist attack in Lebanon (indeed, it was the greates loss of US Marines in a single day since the Battle of Iwo Jima). Reagan's response? Cut and run. The death of those service members basically went unanswered. What signal did that send to the world?

    Based on Obama's track record (and the vast number of AlQaeda leaders killed and captured over the last three years), I think it's pretty likely that the Obama administration will get justice for our four murdered Americans in Benghazi, and sooner rather than later. I don't think I'd have that same confidence if Bush were still president and I've seen nothing in Romney's leadership (or lack thereof) that gives me any inlking that he would do any better.

    September 25, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  16. Dino

    Ryan used to talk about how the Caymen Islands is the place to hide your money. He never mentions that anymore, how come?

    September 25, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  17. memo2

    The problem with Obama is every time He speach in a foreing Country use to apology for our poor conduct, how that happens ?, it's what you support ??.

    September 25, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  18. anthony

    What a joke ...seriously

    September 25, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  19. t.marino

    Does anyone really care what this person has to say? All this man does is lie, lie and lie some more and there are people foolish enough to believe it. No wonder they hate teachers and education, an illiterate electorate is a wonderful thing.

    September 25, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  20. alpg49

    More saber-rattling bull from the same policy team that gave us that marvelous war in Iraq... but now using a different front man.

    September 25, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  21. carly

    This from a clown who has zero foreign policy experience. In fact the Romney/Ryan team has zero foreign policy experience and is being advised byt he same fools who got us into the Iraq war.

    September 25, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  22. Douglas

    Seriously?? We've got Potsy running for VP and commenting on foreign policy?

    September 25, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  23. Dave

    So Mr. Ryan doesn't like Obama's foreign policy stances. No surprise there. So, Mr. Ryan, what would you and your chickenhawk handler do differently? Anytime you're ready...

    September 25, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  24. leftover

    "I mean, turn on the TV and it reminds you of 1979 Tehran…"
    In 1979, Paul Ryan was 9 years old. I was 25 years old and I can tell you today's anti-American protests and the murders in Libya are nothing like the hostage crisis in Tehran.
    The 9-year-old Ryan had about the same understanding of current events as he has now.

    September 25, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  25. Jason

    Better Obama's so called "weak" foreign policies than the standard GOP gun-ho, blow up every country, Israel's attack dog agenda.

    September 25, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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