No quick and easy solutions to foreign policy challenges
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[July 17, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President
Barack Obama, facing persistent criticism of his handling of foreign
policy, counseled patience on Wednesday on meeting challenges from Iran
to Ukraine to the Middle East.
In brief remarks in the White House press briefing room, Obama
appeared to push back against critics who feel he has failed to act
decisively on a number of fronts.
Obama announced new sanctions against Russia over its aggression
towards Ukraine, said progress had been made but more time might be
needed to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, and said
he was supporting efforts to reach a ceasefire between Israel and
Obama also cited Secretary of State John Kerry's help in trying to
resolve a standoff over Afghanistan's presidential election as an
example of American leadership.
"We live in a complex world and at a challenging time. And none of
these challenges lend themselves to quick or easy solutions, but all
of them require American leadership," he said.
"And as commander-in-chief, Iím confident that if we stay patient
and determined, that we will, in fact, meet these challenges," he
The comments seemed designed to combat a perception among
Washington's pundit class that Obama and his team have fumbled
Washington Post foreign policy columnist David Ignatius wrote on
Wednesday that Obama has been steady on Ukraine and in seeking a
unity government in Iraq before launching airstrikes.
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But he said a delay in framing a plan for stopping the Islamist
uprising in Iraq and damaged U.S. relations with Germany were
examples of White House inertia.
A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last month said just 37 percent
of Americans approve of Obama's handling of foreign policy while 57
percent disapproved. NBC said it was the lowest level of his
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Walsh)
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