Lately, the news has been dominated by dangerous regimes like Iran, antagonistic global thugs like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and barbaric terrorists like the Islamic State (ISIL). To deal with these threats to the American people and our allies in Israel, Ukraine, and elsewhere, Republicans in Congress have urged President Obama to aggressively exert American leadership, stand with our friends, and ratchet up pressure on our enemies.
- On Iran, Republicans have warned against making additional concessions to a regime that has not agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program. And Speaker Boehner invited Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a Joint Meeting of Congress and speak about the threat posed by Iran and radical Islam.
- On ISIL, Speaker Boehner and other Republicans have urged President Obama for more than a year to outline a more robust strategy to defeat and destroy our terrorist enemies, and to submit to Congress an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that would help accomplish that goal. Speaker Boehner has also made it clear that the president should not repeat his Iraq mistakes in Afghanistan.
- On Russia, Republicans have championed legislation that would help break Putin’s energy stranglehold on Europe, and pressed President Obama to provide lethal aid to our struggling ally Ukraine. Speaker Boehner also invited Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, to address a Joint Meeting of Congress in September.
Recent polls show more Americans trust Republicans when it comes to dealing with foreign policy and terrorism:
- “The Republican Party continues to hold a sizeable (20-point) lead as the party that could do a better job ‘dealing with the terrorist threat at home.’ But today, the Republican Party also has a 13-point edge when it comes to ‘making wise decisions about foreign policy.’ This is the first time the GOP has had a significant advantage on this issue since 2002.” (Pew Research Center, 2/26/15)
- “At this point, 55% of Americans choose the GOP [as being better able to protect the U.S. from international terrorism and military threats], while 32% choose the Democratic Party. This is the widest Republican advantage in Gallup's history of asking this question since 2002.” (Gallup, 9/11/14)
In contrast, President Obama’s job approval on these matters isn’t faring very well:
- The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey unveiled this week found that 58 percent disapprove of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy.
- “57% of Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling the threat posed by ISIS, a significant decline in support for the President over the past few months. In late September, that number was 49%. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs more broadly, and 54% disapprove of how the President is handling terrorism.” (CNN, 2/17/15)
Last week’s bipartisan letter to President Obama, signed by eight Republicans and three Democrats, is the most recent example. The group called for the approval of lethal aid for Ukraine. Today, the administration announced it still would not do so – only hours after Putin admitted his invasion of Ukraine last year was pre-planned, violated the ceasefire agreement again by sending in more tanks and heavy military equipment, and his Foreign Ministry official said Russia has the right to deploy nuclear arms in its newly acquired territory.
With evidence of President Obama’s failed foreign policy nearly everywhere, it’s not surprising that more Americans are looking to Republicans to show leadership and keep the country safe.