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TAMPA — President Obama has displayed a “breathtaking irresponsibility” on national security issues, endangering America by abandoning its closest allies and failing to lead on major defense issues of the day, according to a senior Romney campaign adviser.
Jim Talent, a former Missouri senator and member of Romney’s inner circle, discussed the Obama administration’s multiple foreign policy failures with the Free Beacon Wednesday on the sidelines of the 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC).
Talent expressed worry that Obama’s mistreatment of Israel has left the Middle East “drifting towards war.” He also excoriated the administration for failing to stave off nearly $500 billion in upcoming defense cuts, otherwise known as “sequestration.”
“When you’re the commander in chief you can’t allow cuts to go into effect that your secretary of defense has said are devastating,” Talent said. “For a president, it’s breathtaking irresponsibility.”
While some lawmakers have accused Obama of failing to lead efforts aimed at avoiding the sequester—which would go into effect on January of next year—Talent laid the blame for the looming cuts at Obama’s doorstep.
“He’s not absent” from the debate—“he’s defending it,” Talent said, chiding White House officials for championing tax hikes over defense.
Earlier this year, the administration’s senior budget official blamed the potential cuts on “Republican refusal to have the top two percent pay their fair share,” a statement Talent deemed galling.
“To drag the military into domestic policy dispute on raising taxes is irresponsible for the commander in chief,” he said. “[Obama] will support any cuts in the defense budget that he thinks he can get Congress to pass.”
Deep defense cuts would ultimately lead to a less safe world, Talent added.
“We will pay the price all over the world” if the U.S. military loses the ability to respond to multiple conflicts and defend its allies, Talent said.
Four years of foreign policy failures from the White House have endangered America’s safety, Talent explained.
Obama has “abandoned” America’s closest allies such as Great Britain and Israel, he said. “The president basically has abandoned those” allies, he said. “At best, he’s treated them as strangers.”
“He’s really repudiated the traditions of bipartisan foreign policy,” Talent added. “All of this is leading to greater risk in the world,” particularly in the Middle East.
“We’re drifting towards war in the Middle East,” Talent said, blasting the Obama administration for weakening the U.S. commitment to Israel.
“Strong support for Israel stabilizes the situation there,” he said, explaining Obama policy of putting daylight between America and the Jewish state has empowered Arab extremists in the region.
“Because the president systematically undermined that” relationship with Israel, “the more aggressive movements in the area have decided Israel is a vulnerable target.”
Iran’s increasingly bellicose rhetoric and refusal to abandon its disputed nuclear program can be traced back to Obama’s refusal to fully back the Jewish state, both publicly and behind the scene, Talent said.
“It’s because the U.S. has undermined Israel and abdicated leadership in the region.”