On Tuesday, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. In it, the 2012 Presidential candidate expressed his concerns about President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies.
“I want to speak plainly this morning about the opportunities and the dangers we face today in the Middle East. The revolutions now roiling that region offer the promise of a more democratic, more open, and a more prosperous Arab world,” Pawlenty said. “But President Obama has failed to formulate and carry out an effective and coherent strategy in response to these events. He has been timid, slow, and too often without a clear understanding of our interests or a clear commitment to our principles.”
Pawlenty went on to criticize Obama’s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reactions to the so-called “Arab Spring” more specifically.
“Instead of promoting democracy – whose fruit we see now ripening across the region – he adopted a murky policy he called ‘engagement,’” Pawlenty said. “The leader of the United States should never leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering where America stands. As President, I will not. We need a president who fully understands that America never ‘leads from behind.’”
Pawlenty also criticized the more isolationist members of the Republican Party: “What is wrong, is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world. History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll save in a budget line item.
“America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal. It does not need a second one.”