Foreign Policy / Gov. Officials / Middle East / National Security / Presidency

Obama’s Foreign Policy Ratings Dwindling

As of June 18th, President Obama’s foreign policy approval rating stands at a dismal 38%, a new low for the President. Shortly following the Bengdahl exchange, a measure that caused President Obama’s foreign policy approval ratings to fall to a staggering 41%, President Obama is faced with “renewed violence in Iraq.” Undoubtedly, the Bergdahl Exchange is partly to blame.
In his hearing, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel faced questions of whether or not other options to free Bergdahl were considered. Although Hagel attested that other options were considered, he eventually admitted that President Obama was proposed limited options, the most notable being the controversial exchange. Since Hagel’s testimony last week, other options explored have been revealed, and they are considered just as, if not more, threatening to United States security than the exchange.
According to Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the Obama Administration “had other options out there that didn’t involve a payment to a terrorist network.” Despite having other options, the two most heavily considered options, aside from the exchange that actually occurred, were paying ransom for Bergdhal and releasing Afghan warlord Haji Bashir Noorzai. Noorzai is currently serving a life sentence in the United States on drug charges.
As Rep. Hunter explained, paying a random for Bergdahl “would be giving them money to get weapons, hire people. […] The money would go directly into harming American service people.” Both efforts, however, reveal the system’s broken nature. Two separate U.S. military personnel groups worked for at least a year on “efforts, which ran on parallel tracks, [that] underscore the extent to which U.S. agencies pursued competing approaches to free the only American prisoner of war (POW) held since 2009.” The result? Limited proposals to President Obama each threatening the security of the American people by giving terrorists bargaining chips and, to an extent, the upper hand.
Alongside the limited amount of proposals president to President Obama to exchange Sergeant (Sgt.) Bergdahl’s release, many Americans became increasingly wary of the exchange during House committee hearings this week. Testimonies from soldiers and soldiers’ families reveal the Obama Administration’s tendency to withhold information from American people and curtail other branches of government. Sgt. Bergdahl’s honor as a soldier should not be insulted, but of equal importance is that American families deserve to know the truth regarding the circumstances of their soldier’s death.
Recent reports reveal that at least six soldiers were killed searching for Sgt. Bergdhal. Second Lieutenant (Lt.) Darryn Andrews’ was one of the six.
During the hearing, Second Lt. Darryn Andrews’ father revealed feelings of betrayal from the Administration’s dishonesty. According to Mr. Andrews, his family was told that “their son was killed on a mission to capture a senior Taliban commander” and Bergdahl was never mentioned. In other words, the Administration chose to protect Bergdahl at the expense of another solder’s family.
As an American citizen and soldier, Bergdahl should be protected. As American citizens and a family supporting an American soldier abroad, the Andrews deserved to know the truth about their son’s death from the Administration, not from Lt. Adams’ fellow soldiers.
Throughout hearings, members of Congress and the Obama Administration have commented on their disappointment on peoples’ insulting reactions to Sgt. Bergdahl’s release. Sgt. Bergdahl should be honored as a soldier, but perhaps if the Obama Administration would stop withholding information from the American people and branches of government, the President’s foreign policy approval rating could rise. Additionally, if the American people were given the truth regarding the circumstances of Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture and recovery, the American people, soldiers and soldiers’ families might not be so quick to dismiss the Obama Administration and its attempts to recover Sgt. Bergdahl.
If and when the American government starts working together, the Obama Administration could gain confidence in revealing the truth to the American people, and the President’s foreign policy approval ratings could rise. As of now, however, the dishonesty between the branches of government and the American people is breaking the system.