TIME 2016 Election

Martin O’Malley’s Foreign Policy Vision: It’s the Economy

Martin O'Malley Addresses U.S. Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce
Win McNamee—Getty Images U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce June 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.

"Only with a stronger and more inclusive economy can we maintain our security,” O'Malley said

In a speech Friday morning that Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign billed as “his most comprehensive remarks to date on U.S. foreign policy,” the former governor instead turned toward an area where he has more experience: the economy.

“Ultimately, the source of America’s global strength is our own prosperity at home,” O’Malley said. “No fighter jet or troop battalion will keep us as safe as a vibrant economy, a strong democracy, and a growing middle class.”

“Only with a stronger and more inclusive economy can we maintain our security,” he continued.

For a candidate with little direct experience in foreign policy, O’Malley’s remarks Friday were a moderate foray into national security issues in a Democratic primary that has largely been defined by economic questions. Unlike Hillary Clinton, the globetrotting former secretary of state, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who can point to his vote in opposition of the Iraq war and other Senate business, the border O’Malley perhaps knows best is the state line of Maryland, where he was governor for eight years.

But O’Malley has been brushing up on his foreign policy chops, formulating a national security vision partially in concert with an informal advisor and fellow alum of the 1984 Gary Hart presidential campaign, Doug Wilson. O’Malley has met before with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Wilson said, and made several trips to Israel and Palestine.

During his keynote address at the Truman National Security Project conference in Washington D.C., O’Malley did not name specific proposals for addressing any major foreign policy issues, instead speaking generally about strengthening U.S. cybersecurity, combating climate change and “degrading” the Islamic State, “not only with military power” but with “political solutions.”

He made a reference to the attack on American diplomats in Benghazi, but did not mention Clinton herself. “And we must recognize that there are real lessons to be learned from the tragedy in Benghazi,” O’Malley said. “Namely, we need to know in advance who is likely to take power—or vie for it—once a dictator is toppled.” Clinton has been criticized by Republicans for her handling of the crisis in which a U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens was killed.

Climate change, O’Malley said, is an urgent challenge facing global security, calling it “a very real existential threat to human life” and “the greatest business opporuntiy to come to our country in a hundred years. He pointed to the Internet as the new frontier of national security, saying that stolen intellectual property and cybercrime cost American jobs and “could grind our national and metro economies to a halt.”

But ultimately, O’Malley said that America’s role is to advance a rising global middle class, focusing on economic development at home and abroad.

“Only with a stronger and more inclusive American economy, will we succeed in pursuing a more effective foreign policy for the cause that we lead: of a rising global middle class—free from oppression, want, and fear,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley has so far rested his candidacy largely on his economic platform. He points to Maryland’s growth during the recession, and calls for separating commercial and investment banks, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and expanding Social Security. He has framed himself as an economic populist and a progressive alternative to Clinton.

O’Malley hasn’t been a particularly vocal observer of foreign policy in the past. Even during an eight-day trip to Israel and Palestine in April 2013, his third to the country, he shied away from reporters’ questions on the conflict. “I’m sure all of you will ask me foreign policy questions,” he said as he opened the floor, the New York Times reported that year. “I respect your right to ask them, and I hope you’ll respect my right to shy away from answering them.”

He said last year during the war with Gaza in which over 2,000 Gazans and more than 60 Israelis were killed that “Israel has a right to defend itself,” but when pressed, O’Malley didn’t comment on whether the violence was disproportionate.

TIME Foreign Policy

State Department Can’t Find 15 Clinton Emails Released by Benghazi Panel

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in San Francisco on June 20, 2015.
Stephen Lam—Reuters Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in San Francisco on June 20, 2015.

This will likely raise new questions about her private email server

(WASHINGTON) — The State Department has been unable to find in its records all or part of 15 work-related emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private server that were released this week by a House panel investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, officials said Thursday.

The emails all predate the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. diplomatic facility and include scant words written by Clinton herself, the officials said. They consist of more in a series of would-be intelligence reports passed to her by longtime political confidant Sidney Blumenthal, the officials said.

Nevertheless, the fact that the State Department says it can’t find them among emails she provided surely will raise new questions about Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while secretary of state and whether she has provided the agency all of her work-related correspondence, as she claims.

“She has turned over 55,000 pages of materials to the State Department, including all emails in her possession from Mr. Blumenthal,” said Nick Merrill, a Clinton campaign spokesman, when asked about the discrepancy.

Clinton is running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton’s use of the non-government email while in office was kept hidden from all but a small circle of aides, outside advisers, family members and friends. She says the single account for personal and professional purposes was a matter of convenience, and says all her work emails were included in the 55,000 pages of documents she later handed over to the State Department. Emails of a personal nature were destroyed, she says.

The State Department informed the Select Benghazi Committee on Thursday that they are no longer certain that’s the case, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The officials said Julia Frifield, the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, confirmed that 10 emails and parts of five others that the committee made public Monday couldn’t be located in the department’s records.

As for 46 other, previously unreleased Libya-related Blumenthal emails published by the committee, officials said all are in the department’s records. They weren’t handed over to congressional investigators because they had no relevance to events in Benghazi and did not correspond to the committee’s request, the officials said. The officials added that they are willing to provide emails outside the committee’s initial request, but warned that doing so would require more time.

The emails missing from the State Department’s records include missives from Blumenthal in which he sends media accounts about the killing of one of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s sons, various reports on internal politics among Libya’s rebels and news of the assassination of a former Gadhafi minister in Vienna. The last email was sent Aug. 28, 2012, two weeks before the Benghazi attack, and none focus particularly on the eastern Libyan city.

Clinton’s responses are brief. In one from August 2011, she tells Blumenthal she will be in Paris the next day to meet rebel leaders and says she had “to resort to new iPad” because she didn’t have electricity or Blackberry coverage after Hurricane Irene.

In another from March 2012, she passes on an adviser’s skepticism regarding one of Blumenthal’s reports about political intrigue in post-Gadhafi Libya, saying: “This strain credulity based on what I know. Any other info about it?”

And after a long August 2012 note from Blumenthal about Libya’s new interim President Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, Clinton writes: “Another keeper — thanks and please keep ’em coming.” Four days later, she responds to a follow-up reports about el-Magariaf, saying: “Fascinating. I had a very good call w him.”

Clinton’s critics are likely to focus less on the substance of the emails than on the fact that they weren’t shared with the State Department.

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the Benghazi panel’s Republican chairman, has pressed for an explanation of why Blumenthal gave the committee emails not previously shared by the State Department. The suggestion has been that either the department or Clinton was hiding something.

Clinton aides say her submission to the department included all emails from Blumenthal and a dozen more exchanges that weren’t in the records he provided the House committee. They said some from Blumenthal’s record, which was provided as a Microsoft Word document, couldn’t be confirmed as having been sent as emails.

State Department officials also questioned the provenance of some exchanges because they weren’t formatted as emails.

TIME Foreign Policy

White House to Release Review of Hostage Policies

US-IRAQ-SYRIA-CONFLICT-FOLEY
Dominick Reuter—AFP/Getty Images Diane Foley, mother of James Foley, pauses for a moment during an interview at her home in Rochester, N.H. in 2014.

According to reports, the president will also make it easier for the federal government to communicate with families of hostage victims

The White House will release a long-awaited review of U.S. hostage policy on Wednesday, spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed Tuesday.

Earnest said the report would include a policy directive and an executive order from President Obama, months after the White House ordered the review in response to several brutal murders of Western hostages by the terror group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS.

At Tuesday’s press briefing, Earnest confirmed several media outlets’ reporting that the report would be released, but refused to offer details on what it does—and does not—specifically change. Families of some citizens held hostage, Earnest said, would be meeting with members of the Obama Administration who had worked on the report on Tuesday in an effort to “give them the opportunity to see for themselves the contents of the report.”

“Our goals entering into this process was to both better integrate the variety of federal government resources dedicated to securing the safe return of American hostages,” Earnest said Tuesday. “And also to improve communication with families of those held captive overseas.”

Though Earnest wouldn’t go into detail, several media outlets have already reported details of the coming directive and report. According to Foreign Policy, which reported the story on Monday, the new policy would make it clear that families should not fear prosecution for paying ransoms.

The Wall Street Journal says the White House will also establish an office to ease communication between the government and families of American hostages based at the Federal Bureau of Investigations known as thr “hostage recovery fusion cell.”

The New York Times reports that though the directive will not backtrack on the U.S.’s long-held “no-concessions” policy to keep funds out of the hands of terror groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, it will clarify that family members and the government can communicate and negotiate with groups holding Americans hostage.

Elaine Weinstein, whose husband Warren was taken hostage by Al-Qeada and killed in an American drone strike, released a statement Tuesday calling their interactions with the government while Warren was held hostage “inconsistent at best and utterly disappointing.”

“This review will not bring Warren back, she said. “It is our most sincere hope that it was conducted fully and frankly so the U.S. Government can have an honest conversation about the areas where it falls short. Our benchmark for this review’s success will be the actions arising from it more than its specific findings.”

TIME Scott Walker

British Leader to Scott Walker: I Never Dissed Obama

David Cameron disputes an assertion by the Republican presidential hopeful that he spoke ill of President Obama

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says British Prime Minister David Cameron confided in him that he was concerned about the direction of American leadership. But there’s a problem with the Republican’s tidy critique of President Barack Obama: Cameron doesn’t remember it that way.

Walker, who has taken several trips overseas in recent months to study up on foreign policy in preparation for an all-but-certain presidential bid, told a roomful of Republican donors Friday that world leaders, including Cameron, are worried about the U.S. stepping back in the world. “The Prime Minister did not say that and does not think that,” a Downing Street spokesperson told TIME.

“I heard that from David Cameron back in February earlier when we were over at 10 Downing,” Walker said. “I heard it from other leaders around the world. They’re looking around realizing this lead from behind mentality just doesn’t work. It’s just not working.”

His comments came at the E2 Summit hosted by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Deer Valley, Utah, where Walker was auditioning for support from some of the Republican Party’s deep-pocketed donors.

Walker and Cameron met Feb. 10 while Walker was traveling on a trade mission for his state. The trip was overshadowed in the U.S. by news coverage of Walker dodging a question on evolution.

Walker’s political office deferred comment to his official office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

-With reporting by Conal Urquhart / London.

TIME Foreign Policy

Vladimir Putin Tests the Limits of Pope Francis’ Powers

The two are scheduled to meet Wednesday

Vladimir Putin is no longer welcome at the G7, thanks to his government’s continued incursions into Ukraine’s territory. But two days after the meeting of Western powers in Germany, the Russian leader has a meeting with another world leader: Pope Francis.

The Bishop of Rome may not represent the United States or Germany, but he is increasingly a superpower in his own right, and the Wednesday meeting is a diplomatic test of how Francis will use his influence.

The meeting is the second between Putin and the pontiff. When Francis first met Putin in November 2013, Russia was still five months away from annexing Crimea. Since the conflict began, some 1.2 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced, according to the United Nations humanitarian office. Russia continues to deny that it is sending troops across the border or arming Russian-backed separatists, and international pressure mounts to address the crisis. “Russian aggression” against Ukraine, Obama said this week, topped the G7’s recent agenda, and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the Ukrainian prime minister Wednesday as well. “[Putin’s] got to make a decision: Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to re-create the glories of the Soviet empire?” Obama said this week.

The Holy See, meanwhile, is working to build diplomatic relations with Russia. The two have only had full diplomatic relations for six years, and those relations took years to build after half a century during which the Soviet Union was an officially atheist state. No pope has ever visited Russia, and even when Putin first met Francis in November 2013, he did not invite Francis to become the first to do so.

Pope Francis has been working to carefully move the relationship forward, especially to advance some of the Vatican’s other diplomatic interests. He wrote to Putin when he was hosting the G-20 summit in 2013 and urged world leaders there to oppose military intervention in Syria. The Vatican has been strengthening ties with Orthodox Christian leaders via ecumenical efforts and Pope Francis’ friendship with Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the Orthodox Christian Church, whose leadership is at times at odds with the Russian Orthodox Church closely tied to Putin’s government. Russia has also been a partner for Francis’ efforts to protect Middle East Christians, especially because of the shared Orthodox Christian experience in Russia and much of the Middle East. In March, the Holy See issued a joint statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council with Russia and Lebanon, “Supporting the Human Rights of Christians and Other Communities, particularly in the Middle East.”

Francis also has interests of his flock in Ukraine to consider. Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has urged Pope Francis to take a tougher stance against Putin. “As sons, we always expect more from the Holy Father … we respect his freedom to use the words that will help him mediate in the peace process.” Shevchuk said in February, according to the Catholic news site Crux.

Shevchuk has previously touted Francis’ own familiarity with the church in Ukraine—as a student in Buenos Aires, then-Jorge Bergoglio would go to Divine Liturgy with Ukrainian Father Stepan Chmil, Shevchuk has said, and as an archbishop, Bergoglio served as the ordinary for Eastern Christians without their own priests.

So far Pope Francis has expressed concern over the Ukraine issue, but only up to a point. When Shevchuk and other Ukranian bishops met with him in February, Francis called on all parties to “apply the agreements reached by mutual accord” and “to be respectful to the principle of international legality.” He also called the Ukranian bishops “full citizens” and assured them that “the Holy See is at your side, even in international forums, to ensure your rights, your concerns, and the just evangelical values that animate you are understood.”

What that protection looks like in practical terms is still an open question, and they and the world will be watching the Wednesday face-off. In recent months, Pope Francis has earned praise for helping broker a new relationship between the United States and Cuba, but that was a situation where both sides wanted to pursue peace.

The Russian conflict is very different. Even if Francis chooses to take a tougher line with Putin, there are limits to his influence. Putin has not been persuaded by the actions of the G7, after all, and the Vatican’s primary superpower is a moral one.

TIME Military

Obama Says ‘No Complete Strategy’ for Training Iraqis to Fight ISIS

“We do not yet have a complete strategy,” Obama said during a G7 press conference

President Obama said Monday the U.S. does not have a “complete strategy” for training and recruiting Iraqi forces to ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS.

“We do not yet have a complete strategy,” Obama said, shifting part of the blame to leaders in Iraq who he said also needed to make commitments in regard to training before a plan could be finalized.

Speaking during a wide-ranging press conference following the G7 summit, a gathering of leaders of the world’s biggest economies, Obama said the U.S. is “reviewing a range of plans” to properly train Iraqi forces.

The President said “significant progress had been made” in pushing back against ISIS as the terror group gains more stronghold in parts of Iraq in Syria but that the U.S. needed to improve the “speed at which we’re training Iraqi forces” and efforts to recruit forces for training.

Obama’s previous statements about not having a plan to defeat ISIS have been the source of political contention for quite some time. Monday’s statements came in the wake of discussions with world leaders and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq about the world’s efforts to defeat the terror group as they’re reach in the region grows.

Obama and Abadi met for a meeting earlier on Monday where Obama said the U.S. would continue to provide assistance to the Iraqi people though no additional military commitments were made. The Prime Minister has been vocal about the need for more assistance from the U.S., saying recently Obama and other leaders are not doing enough to fight the terror group.

“As long Minister Abadi and the government stay committed to an inclusive approach,” Obama said while meeting with the Prime Minister. “I am absolutely confident that we will be successful.”

The effort to defeat ISIS was a major topic of discussion at the G7 summit, as was the ongoing sanctions regime against Russia. Obama said Monday that there was a “strong consensus” among G7 partners that they need to keep pushing Russia and Ukraine to agree to the terms laid out in the Minsk agreements, but until those obligations are met sanctions will remain in place

The people of Russia, Obama said, are “suffering” under the sanctions, but the “best way for them to stop suffering is if the Minsk agreement is fully implemented.”

Read More: Congress Takes Tiny Step Toward Authorizing Anti-ISIS War

TIME Foreign Policy

America Isn’t the World’s Most Respected Country. But It Is a Superpower

U.S. President Barack Obama is seated at a table with, from left to right: France's President Francois Hollande; Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko; British Prime Minister David Cameron; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as they meet about Ukraine at the NATO summit at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.
Charles Dharapak—AP President Barack Obama is seated at a table with, from left to right: France's President Francois Hollande; Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko; British Prime Minister David Cameron; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as they meet about Ukraine at the NATO summit at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales on Sept. 4, 2014.

President Obama may overreach on foreign policy, but the U.S. still dominates the world

“People don’t remember, but when I came into office, the United States in world opinion ranked below China and just barely above Russia,” Barack Obama said on Monday. “And today, once again, the United States is the most respected country on earth.”

As presidential statements go, that’s a pretty daring one. And it’s not exactly true.

Let’s go back to 2009. Two failed wars and a global financial crisis have forced Obama to spend years of his presidency and significant political capital to restore Washington’s reputation. Given where he started from, Obama has made some serious progress.

But claiming the U.S. is “once again the most respected” country in the world is absurd, and certainly isn’t supported by public perception polls or recent current events. U.S. favorability ratings have fallen by 13 percentage points in Germany alone since 2009, and by 19 points in Japan since 2011—and these are our key allies. Don’t bother asking the Russians.

World leaders haven’t gotten the message about America’s return to respectability either. In the last few months alone we’ve seen Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu come speak to Congress despite administration officials’ explicit warning not to. America’s allies around the world rushed to sign up for China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) over Washington’s vocal objections. Just a few weeks ago, Obama hosted the Gulf Cooperation Council in Washington, only to be spurned by four of the six country leaders—including the new king of Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally. “Respected” isn’t quite the right word for America’s global stature under Obama’s second term.

Obama hasn’t been a complete failure in foreign policy. Engagements with Iran and Cuba will pay huge dividends down the road if handled correctly—though that’s far from a sure thing at the moment. (Humble pronouncements like the one that started this post certainly won’t help win any new friends.)

But here’s the thing: the U.S. doesn’t need to be the most respected country in the world. Under Obama, the U.S. economy has managed to rebound from the depths of the recession; Washington maintains its military superiority over all challengers; American innovation remains unparalleled in technology and energy production; immigrants still flock to U.S. shores to start their new lives. In all the critical metrics, the U.S. remains the world’s only superpower.

So, to state the obvious, Obama’s comment on Monday overreached. His domestic approval ratings are up from a November 2014 low of 40%, though a new CNN/ORC poll has 52% of Americans saying things in the country aren’t going well. And unfortunately for him, his ratings remain decidedly low in the “foreign policy” category—which is only really important when you start proclaiming things like “the United States is the most respected country on earth.”

Bremmer is a foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large at TIME. He is the president of Eurasia Group, a political-risk consultancy, and a Global Research Professor at New York University. His most recent book is Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World

TIME Cuba

Soccer’s New York Cosmos to Play in Havana in Game of U.S.-Cuban Detente

Cuba's national team captain Yenier Marquez, left, legendary New York Cosmos and Brazilian national soccer team player Pele and Cosmos player Raul Gonzalez, right, join hands during a press conference ahead of their friendly soccer match in Havana, Cuba, Monday, June 1, 2015.
Desmond Boylan—AP Cuba's national team captain Yenier Marquez, from left, legendary New York Cosmos and Brazilian national soccer team player Pelé and Cosmos player Raul Gonzalez join hands during a press conference ahead of their friendly soccer match in Havana on June 1, 2015

The last professional soccer team to visit Cuba was the Chicago Sting in 1978

(HAVANA) — In a landmark act of sports diplomacy, soccer’s New York Cosmos on Tuesday will become the first U.S. professional team to play in Cuba since Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama announced their countries would re-establish diplomatic relations.

Soccer’s popularity is growing in both baseball-crazy nations and Cuban officials said the friendly match against the country’s national team would be an important step in the normalization of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.

“In this new era that our two countries are living, this game is another link that will help establish the relations announced by the two presidents,” said Antonio Garces, vice president of the Cuban Soccer

While the two governments have yet to reopen embassies following the December announcement of detente, Havana has been flooded by a surge of U.S. tourists as well as delegations of lawmakers, business executives and athletes.

A group of retired NBA stars held a training camp for Cuban players in April, and Cuban officials have said a U.S. professional baseball exhibition game is planned for the near future, although Major League Baseball officials have said no plans have been made.

The Cosmos, who are leading the standings in the second-tier North American Soccer League, arrived Sunday night and trained Monday afternoon ahead of the next day’s match at 30,000-seat Pedro Marrera stadium, which is to be televised nationally in Cuba.

“I’m happy that we came here to play soccer and unite two countries,” Cosmos midfielder Walter Restrepo said. “The people have really welcomed us, with high expectations for the game.”

Garnering much attention in Cuba were former Real Madrid star and current Cosmos player Raul Gonzalez and the team’s honorary president Pele, the legendary Brazilian star who played for the original Cosmos franchise as his career was ending.

“I never imagined that Cuba against the Cosmos would happen. And to think Raul and Pele would come to Cuba, nobody thought that,” fan Yosbani Fuentes said.

Asked about the bribery scandal that exploded last week in soccer’s global governing body, Pele declined to criticize FIFA or its head, Sepp Blatter.

“We are players and we want to provide joy to the public and people. What happens with executives doesn’t interest me,” Pele said. “He’s a man who has been there 25 years. You have to respect him.”

While Cuba is far from a soccer powerhouse, the sport hasn’t been spared the waves of departures that have robbed its teams of many top-ranked athletes. Forward Maykel Galindo left in 2005 and went on to play for several U.S. teams. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso abandoned Cuba two years later and now plays in Seattle.

Cuba’s relatively weak international soccer performance hasn’t stopped the sport from spreading on the island, with growing numbers watching professional games on television and playing on dusty fields and neighborhood streets.

“Soccer is a people’s sport that’s gained a lot of popularity in recent years, in Cuba and the United States, and without a doubt it’ll help tear down barriers and open doors,” Garces said.

The last professional U.S. soccer team to visit Cuba was the now-defunct Chicago Sting, which played in 1978 after President Jimmy Carter sought to improve relations with Cuba and opened the interests section in Havana that both countries want to soon convert into a full embassy.

TIME Foreign Policy

Obama Restates Support of Israel in Synagogue Speech

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month at Adas Israel Congregation May 22, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images President Barack Obama delivers remarks in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month at Adas Israel Congregation May 22, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

President Obama sought to reassure American Jews that he fully supports the state of Israel while reiterating the need for a two-state solution at a Northwest Washington synagogue on Friday.

“Our commitment to Israel’s security and my commitment to Israel’s security is and always will be unshakable,” Obama said, adding that not doing so would be a “moral failing.”

Obama spoke at the Adas Israel Synagogue on the inaugural “solidarity sabbath,” a holiday meant to consolidate support for Jews amid rising anti-Semitism that falls toward the end of Jewish Heritage Month. On Friday, lawmakers were slated to appear in congregations across the country to mark the day.

In the wake of attack at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a string of anti-Semitic attacks across Europe, there’s been growing attention to the persecution of Jews across the world. Obama noted that the rise of anti-semitism should not be treated as “passing fad.”

“When we allow anti-Semitism to take root, our souls are destroyed,” Obama said. “It will spread.”

The statements follow a wide-ranging interview published by The Atlantic on Thursday, in which President Obama stressed his love for the Jewish state of Israel, telling commentator Jeffrey Goldberg that supporting the rights of Jews abroad is equivalent to supporting the freedom of African-Americans at home.

“There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” he said. “These things are indivisible in my mind.”

On Friday, he reiterated those sentiments, reflecting on his own introduction to the Israeli community. “For a young man like me grappling with his own identity, Obama said, “the idea that you could be grounded in your history as Israel was but not be trapped by it. That idea was liberating”

Obama’s statements to Goldberg and before the congregation at Adas Israel on Friday come amid nuclear negotiations Iran that have put strain on one of the U.S.’ closest relationships. But he made clear Friday that criticism is not going to change his mind.

“I want Israel, in the same way that I want the United States, to embody the Judeo-Christian and, ultimately then, what I believe are human or universal values that have led to progress over a millennium,” he told Goldberg.

And on Friday, before a crowd in a packed synagogue where the rabbi called him a “champion of freedom,” Obama sought to reassure the congregation that he could be both a friend and a critic of Israel.

“It’s precisely because I care so deeply … that I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about what I feel,” he said.

TIME 2016 Campaign

How the Presidential Candidates See America in the World

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts a small business forum with members of the business and lending communities at Bike Tech bicycle shop on May 19, 2015 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts a small business forum with members of the business and lending communities at Bike Tech bicycle shop in Cedar Falls, Iow, on May 19, 2015.

From Hillary Clinton to Jeb Bush to Scott Walker, charting the 2016 candidates by their foreign policy preferences

The Presidential candidates are finally talking about foreign policy, but, not surprisingly, they aren’t yet saying much. “America must lead. We must combat tyranny and defend freedom. Our allies are counting on us. Our enemies are watching.” We’ve heard all this before.

They have good reason, of course, to avoid detailed descriptions of their policy plans. A candidate’s message is crafted to maximize fundraising and vote counts, not to enlighten the public, and foreign policy is the area where candidates are most likely to go light on substance. Even in an uncertain world, the American voter cares much more about hot-button domestic issues like health care, immigration, tax policy, entitlement reform, gay marriage and gun rights than they do about Syria, Ukraine, trans-Atlantic relations, or China.

More importantly, the United States has been a superpower so long that many voters appear to think that successful foreign policy is mainly a test of toughness and will. They don’t see the need to make tough choices—or why those choices will matter so much for the lives and livelihoods of their children and grandchildren.

We’ll hear more about America’s role in the world in 2016, in part because Hillary Clinton served as President Obama’s secretary of state. That encourages Republicans to talk about foreign policy issues that voters would otherwise prefer to ignore. And that’s a good thing, because we need to talk more about foreign policy—and with a new sense of urgency. The next president will make crucial decisions in an increasingly complicated world—and without reliable public support for plans that demand a long-term U.S. commitment.

In my book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, I put forward three possible paths for the future of U.S. foreign policy:

  • Indispensable America: No other nation can provide the leadership that the world desperately needs
  • Moneyball America: We can’t do everything, but we must defend U.S. political and economic interests where they’re most threatened.
  • Independent America: We must rid ourselves of international burdens and focus on improving the country from within.

To help voters think about the top candidates and where they fit in on foreign policy, consider the following:

 

Jeb Bush: Indispensable America

Everywhere you look, you see the world slipping out of control,” warned former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in February 2015. This was not the first time he has argued that America must lead to set things right. “America does not have the luxury of withdrawing from the world…Our security, our prosperity and our values demand that we remain engaged and involved in often distant places. We have no reason to apologize for our leadership and our interest in serving the cause of global security, global peace, and human freedom. Nothing and no one can replace strong American leadership… …If we withdraw from the defense of liberty anywhere, the battle eventually comes to us.

This emphatic and unapologetic appeal to defend liberty anywhere it’s threatened comes from a candidate who has coined the term “liberty diplomacy” to describe his foreign policy aspirations. He has called for arms for Ukraine’s government and an aggressive approach against ISIS: “We have to develop a strategy that’s global, that takes them out. Restrain them, tightening the noose and then taking them out is the strategy. No talking about this. That just doesn’t work for terrorism.” While Rand Paul and Ted Cruz often speak to the Libertarian leanings of younger Republican voters with assertions of Constitutional limits on executive power, Bush, who has never served as a legislator, offers a more traditional Republican appeal for strong presidential leadership for a more forceful American role in the world.

 

Hillary Clinton: Edging from Moneyball to Indispensable America

As President Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton offered a Moneyball-inspired vision of America’s future, one that set aside risks in favor of opportunities, emphasized economic rather than military power, and focused on political and economic inroads in East Asia rather than a global assertion of American values. She firmly rejected an Independent America approach: “There are those on the American political scene who are calling for us not to reposition, but to come home. They seek a downsizing of our foreign engagement in favor of our pressing domestic priorities. These impulses are understandable, but they are misguided. Those who say that we can no longer afford to engage with the world have it exactly backward — we cannot afford not to.”

She was a forceful advocate of “economic statecraft” which she described like this: “first, updating our foreign policy priorities to take economics more into account; second, turning to economic solutions for strategic challenges; third, stepping up commercial diplomacy — what I like to call jobs diplomacy — to boost U.S. exports, open new markets, and level the playing field for our businesses; and fourth, building the diplomatic capacity to execute this ambitious agenda. In short, we are shaping our foreign policy to account for both the economics of power and the power of economics.” To promote a “pivot to Asia,” she said that “The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.” She argued that “A focus on promoting American prosperity means a greater focus on trade and economic openness in the Asia-Pacific. The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade.” She favored a pragmatic “reset” of relations with Putin’s Russia.

But in anticipation of the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton’s rhetoric has become more universalist and more ambitious. In her book Hard Choices, she wrote that “To succeed in the 21st century, we need to integrate the traditional tools of foreign policy–diplomacy, development assistance, and military force–while also tapping the energy and ideas of the private sector and empowering citizens, especially the activists, organizers, and problem solvers we call civil society, to meet their own challenges and shape their own futures. We have to use all of America’s strengths to build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries, more shared responsibility and fewer conflicts, more good jobs and less poverty, more broadly based prosperity with less damage to our environment.” Voters are left to wonder whether a President Hillary Clinton would pursue a shrewd, targeted foreign policy or one built atop a foundation of comprehensive global leadership.

 

Ted Cruz: Marching from Moneyball toward Indispensable America

Before he began to hone his message for a presidential campaign, Texas Senator Ted Cruz was an articulate advocate of a Moneyball foreign policy. In 2013, he opposed action against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. “Assad’s actions, however deplorable, are not a direct threat to U.S. national security. Many bad actors on the world stage have, tragically, oppressed and killed their citizens, even using chemical weapons to do so. Unilaterally avenging humanitarian disaster, however, is well outside the traditional scope of U.S. military action….it is not the job of U.S. troops to police international norms or to send messages…U.S. military force should always advance our national security.

It’s hard to imagine a more forceful articulation of Moneyball foreign policy. Yet he added that “No other country is capable of putting together a coalition of like-minded nations and leading the fight against tyranny.” Political rhetoric aside, advocates of Moneyball America don’t call for a fight against “tyranny.”

Yet, as campaign season approached, the rhetoric began moving toward an Indispensable approach: “I’m a big fan of Rand Paul. I don’t agree with him on foreign policy. I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world… The United States has a responsibility to defend our values.Or this: “One of the things [US] Ambassador [to the United Nations Susan] Rice said that was absolutely correct is that America is the indispensable leader. But what our allies are expressing over and over again is that leadership is missing… When America’s weak, when the American President is weak, it leaves our friends and allies vulnerable.” That statement and others like it leave him squarely in the Indispensable camp, where he will likely remain throughout the 2016 campaign.

 

Rand Paul: Caught between Independent and Moneyball America

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul offers a complex foreign policy vision, one poised uneasily between the Independent America approach his father advanced in past election campaigns and the Moneyball viewpoint more common within the mainstream of the Republican Party. In 2013, he wrote that, “America’s national security mandate shouldn’t be one that reflects isolationism, but instead one that is not rash or reckless, a foreign policy that is reluctant, restrained by Constitutional checks and balances but does not appease.” That’s an excellent articulation of Moneyball foreign policy.

One sentence later, he moves squarely into Independent America territory: “This balance should heed the advice of America’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams, who advised, ‘America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.’” Anyone who supports Independent America will find truth in this statement: “We should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.” Or this: “We cannot continue to try to bully allies or pay off our enemies. So many of the countries we send aid to dislike us…and openly tell the world they will side with our enemies.

Paul has, however, supported airstrikes against ISIS and a get-tough approach on Iran, a country he once said was “not a threat. Iran cannot even refine their own gasoline.” Senator Paul often appears uncomfortable with a full embrace of Independent America, but no candidate in the race offers a more forceful defense of this approach on individual questions of policy and principle.

 

Marco Rubio: Indispensable America

Ironically Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a candidate who often demonstrates an ability to connect with younger voters, appears to have fully embraced the Indispensable America point of view favored by his party’s establishment and so many older Americans. Consider these three statements. On the Middle East: I always start by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business. Every aspect of [our] lives is directly impacted by global events. The security of our cities is connected to the security of small hamlets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.On the needs of America’s economy: We’re 4 to 5 percent of the world’s population. So for us to grow our economy robustly and provide more economic opportunity to more people, we need to have millions of people around the world that can afford to trade with us, that can afford to buy our products and our services. On relations with non-democracies like Iran, China, and North Korea, Rubio has said that “There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the threat of totalitarianism.” For those who favor an Indispensable America, Marco Rubio is a compelling choice.

 

Scott Walker: Incoherent America

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker belongs in the Incoherent file. At times, he talks as if he might embrace the Indispensable. On ISIS, he has said, “We need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorists in and around the world….We have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes…. When you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom-loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don’t allow those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.” During a trip to Britain, Walker answered a question on sending weapons to Ukraine’s government by insisting, “I have an opinion on that … but I just don’t think you talk about foreign policy when you’re on foreign soil.”

Walker has said he would scrap any deal President Obama signs with Iran’s nuclear negotiators, even over the objections of America’s closest allies: “If I’m honored to be elected by the people of this country, I will pull back on that on January 20, 2017, because the last thing — not just for the region but for this world — we need is a nuclear-armed Iran.” Maybe it’s just that candidate Walker is simply a political opportunist. Every candidate is guilty of that. Or maybe he has an unrealistic view of what’s possible. In response to a question about his ability to handle ISIS, Walker once claimed that “If I can take on 100,000 protesters [in Wisconsin], I can do the same across the world.” Let’s hope his worldview has since deepened.

In his new book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, TIME foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer diagnoses the drift in U.S. foreign policy—and offers a few alternatives for the next President. But where do you want to see the U.S. go? Take this quiz and find out:

 

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