Steve Chapman

Obama was the guy who said he would go into Pakistan if necessary to get bin Laden -- while GOP nominee John McCain was preaching the need to get along with Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf.

It's a mystery why they expect this claim to work in 2012. In his approach to foreign policy and national security, Obama has done many things that, if President McCain had done them, would evoke thunderous ovations at this year's Republican convention.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. policy under Obama is not much, if any, different from what we would have expected had Bush stayed for a third term. Even when Obama has diverged from previous policy on other issues, the change cannot be detected without a microscope.

Romney and Co. accuse Obama of allowing Iran to proceed toward getting nuclear weapons -- without noting that much of Iran's progress came under Bush, or that his sanctions are tighter than those of his predecessor. Nor do Republicans mention that under Bush, North Korea carried out its first nuclear detonation.

Santorum says Obama is even "refusing to do anything covertly" to stop Iran from getting nukes. Really? How would he know? Has he not heard about the untimely deaths of Iranian nuclear scientists or the mysterious computer virus (reportedly a U.S.-Israeli project) that destroyed hundreds of its nuclear centrifuges?

The Romney campaign faults the administration for "bowing to Chinese pressure and refusing to sell F-16s to Taiwan." But Obama did increase U.S. arms shipments to the Taiwanese, including Patriot missiles and Black Hawk helicopters.

And guess who else declined to sell them F-16s? George W. Bush. You know -- the guy who apologized to Beijing.

The next time Republicans feel the urge to use the word "appeasement," they might first take a close look at the record. Or buy a dictionary.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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