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Obama's Foreign Policy: Not so Progressive

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In a couple of days, the American populace will elect the next President of the United States. Numerous self-identified "progressive" voters have endorsed the Obama campaign, stating that while Barack Obama is certainly not perfect, he is far better than Mitt Romney and the Republicans.

This excuse may have been plausible for "progressive" voters in 2008, but after four years of Obama's rule, it is simply humorous. Regardless, the dangerous policies implemented by Obama in his time as President are no laughing matter.

Of course, Obama's views and policies are more progressive than Romney's on specific issues, such as abortion. If you haven't heard this before, don't fret; talk to Obama supporters for a minute and they certainly will tell you. The major issue with a great deal of Obama supporters though, is that they avoid discussing areas where Obama is no better, or perhaps even worse, than Mitt Romney. One of these major areas that have been largely ignored is Obama's foreign policy record in the Middle East.

Noam Chomsky has summed up the Obama administration's foreign policy by stating that "If the Bush administration didn't like somebody, they'd kidnap them and send them to torture chambers. If the Obama administration decides they don't like somebody, they murder them."

One only needs to look to Pakistan for a clear example of the brutality of some of Obama's policies. A report released in September of 2012 by researchers from Stanford and New York University Law states that between 474 and 881 civilians in Pakistan have been killed by American drone strikes since 2004. According to a recent Slate article, the Obama administration has increasingly relied upon drone strikes, launching over 264 thus far.

Obama has not only launched more drone strikes than George Bush, but also deadlier ones. In the recent foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney, drone strikes received a mere 90 seconds of discussion. Within this short frame of time, Romney stated that "I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world."

He went on to say that "The president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends." Unfortunately, it appears as though both candidates regard innocent civilians in Pakistan as dangerous enough to kill without regret.

This has not gone unnoticed by the population of Pakistan. The Obama administration's decision to illegally assassinate Osama Bin Laden and dump his body in the ocean sparked a great deal of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The drone strikes have only made this worse, threatening the relationship between the two nations.

Furthermore, according to a Pew Research Centre survey released in June of 2012, the drone strikes are also disapproved by majorities in all countries polled except the U.S., Britain, and India.

Yet the Obama administration's violent and unpopular policies extend beyond Pakistan. For example, the Obama administration deferred the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan until 2014. A Foreign Policy article by Todd Gitlin claims that even if the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan materializes "it will still have been preceded by a 'surge,' the installation of hundreds of military bases, and a thousand American deaths, more than twice as many as took place under Bush."

Essentially, if "progressive" voters are to continue supporting Obama, they should do so knowing that they are voting for some policies that are identical to Romney's. By simply supporting the "lesser of two evils," voters allow both parties to shift rightward. Therefore, support for Obama from progressive voters should not exist without condition, and a strong opposition to Obama's violent foreign policy should exist for anyone supporting him.

Obama's foreign policy cannot slide because of his progressive vision in other areas. The murder of innocent civilians, and the continuation of war, does not become acceptable because there's a Democratic name attached to it.

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