Santorum: Obama foreign policy 'confused'

AP News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2011 2:22 PM
Santorum: Obama foreign policy 'confused'

Likely Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday faulted President Barack Obama for a foreign policy in which he says the United States is shirking its responsibility to defend and promote freedom.

The former Pennsylvania senator said U.S. policy under Obama is "confused" and "premised on vague notions of hope and change that has scrambled America's foreign policy relationships _ both with our allies and our enemies."

"We have allies and freedom fighters all over the world who doubt our time-tested and time-honored commitments to them," Santorum said.

Santorum says the United States has a moral authority to fight "militant socialism" and promote "America's exceptionalism."

"But today, we have lost this mission because our president doesn't believe in it," Santorum said. "A president who doesn't understand the greatness of the American experiment cannot confidently advance her interests. If he will not or cannot lead, who around the world will follow?"

He also criticized Obama's handling of Libya, where U.S. forces initially led the military intervention to protect civilians. The U.S. is now supporting a NATO-led mission.

"As for Libya: It is a morass," Santorum said. "If we were going to support the rebel forces we should have acted swiftly and decisively in the early days of Benghazi's uprising by recognizing and arming the rebels and immediately enforcing a no-fly zone. Decisive action against (Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi would have been the end of him. But that is not what we did."

Those comments put him at odds with many Republicans in Congress who argued that Obama should have waited before dispatching U.S. forces and question the notion of arming the rebels.

Santorum, who lost a bruising re-election bid in 2006, is laying the groundwork for a presidential bid. He is a frequent visitor to the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and has built up a staff. He filed initial federal elections papers and is gauging whether to move ahead with a White House bid.

Santorum also criticized Obama's handling of the 2009 uprisings in Iran.

"Rather than supporting the dissidents there _ dissidents asking for our help _ the president continued his policy of engaging and effectively supporting the mullahcracy," Santorum said.

"Let us make no mistake about what happened there: We sided with evil because our president believes our enemies are legitimately aggrieved and, thus, we have no standing to intervene," he said.

He also said the administration refuses to link the United States' enemies' faith and ideology with their actions.

"Today, our leaders have opted for political correctness, referring to our theologically motivated enemies as simple terrorists. But terrorism is a tactic, not an ideology," he said.