Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) visited Heritage this week to give the annual B.C. Lee lecture, focusing on the importance of American leadership in the Asia-Pacific region. After his speech, he sat down with us for a wide-ranging interview.
When asked about President Obama’s handling of foreign policy, Lieberman described his performance as “mixed”:
Because we were so focused after 9/11 on the threat of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, I don’t think President [George W.] Bush got the credit he deserved for a dramatic improvement in our relationship with Asia in many ways. But it’s to President Obama’s credit that he’s continued to improve relations, and I appreciate it. So I would say in terms of foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific, that’s been good. In some other areas such as the drawdown plans in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have been troubled a lot.
In addition to fears about losing the additional security gained by the surge in Afghanistan, Lieberman expressed concerns with the signal a premature withdrawal might send to allies and enemies around the world. And with the Administration reportedly contemplating moving up the Afghanistan withdrawal timeline, these concerns are likely to remain.
If the Super Committee fails … that could require as much as an additional five or six hundred billion dollars in cuts. Secretary of Defense Panetta has said that would be devastating. We would have failed to uphold our Constitutional duty to provide for the common defense.
The interview also touched on America’s relationship to Taiwan and the importance of encouraging free trade.
Watch Senator Lieberman’s full lecture below: