Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Romney: Obama is a failed leader

09 October 2012, 08:45

Lexington - US President Barack Obama has "failed to lead in Syria" and the broader Middle East, and strains between his administration and ally Israel are emboldening Iran, White House hopeful Mitt Romney warned on Monday.

Making the case in a major foreign policy speech that the United States and the Middle East are less safe now than they were at the start of Obama's term, Romney said the president's dithering had increased the threat of instability in a region clamouring for US leadership.

With the slowly improving economy providing less ammunition barely four weeks from the 6 November election, Romney's address at the Virginia Military Institute marked a bid to muscle in on turf largely seen as Obama's dominant preserve.

"The president has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30 000 men, women and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months," and rebels do not have the necessary weapons to battle President Bashar Assad's troops, Romney said.

He warned that Obama's poor handling of the crisis is emblematic of a president that opts to "lead from behind" instead of asserting US influence.

Romney attacked Obama for "sitting on the sidelines" on the prickly issue of the Syrian rebels.

"In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets," Romney said.

"It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East."

But Romney stepped carefully, avoiding the call for the United States to directly provide weapons to rebels.

Foreign policy vision

The Obama administration, worried that shoulder-fired missiles and other heavy weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists, has not provided direct arms support for the rebel groups, although it has arranged for delivery of communications equipment.

Romney acknowledged that Obama had taken some key steps, notably the elimination of chief terror suspect Osama bin Laden.

"But when we look at the Middle East today - with Iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability... with violent extremists on the march, and with an American ambassador and three others dead [in Benghazi, Libya] probably at the hands of al-Qaeda affiliates - it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office," he said.

The Republican nominee, offering a foreign policy vision that he and his campaign believe differs sharply from Obama's, said he would keep Iran in check, chase terrorists in Libya and put conditions on US aid to Egypt.

Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee and a staunch supporter of greater US involvement in Syria, called Romney's speech "a blueprint for restoring America's strength in the world".

The speech comes the week after the first presidential debate, in which Romney was widely seen as trouncing an ineffective Obama.

The president lost a five-point lead in the polls in the days after the debate and the two men were even at 47%, polling Gallup found on Monday, an early measure of the damage done by Obama's lacklustre performance against a more aggressive and energetic Romney.

Obama still had a three-point edge, 49 to 46%, in Gallup's seven-day rolling average ending on Saturday, which included polls before and after the debate.


At VMI, Romney aimed to put adversaries on notice that as president he would not tolerate the anti-American unrest that has been allowed to fester under Obama.

"I know the president hopes for a safer, freer and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy," Romney said.

"It is time to change course in the Middle East," he added.

"We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds... and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity."

Romney used the 11 September attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya as an example of how extremists are exploiting perceived US weakness.

"The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East," Romney said adding that the Benghazi attack "was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on 11 September, 2001."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Mudavadi set for 2 month long wes...

Musalia Mudavadi is set for western Kenya campaigns.

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I need a miracle to win in 2017, ...

An MP says that he needs a miracle to win the 2017 elections but has not given up on victory despite the odds being against him. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Raila ungrateful for my help, MP ...

An MP says that he made ODM famous in Meru and has accused the party of ungratefulness despite his hard work. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I'm ready for by-election today, ...

I'm ready for a by election, an angry ODM rebel MP tells Raila Odinga. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
ODM kicks 6 MPs out of Parliament...

ODM has kicked 6 rebel members out of house committees. Read more...