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Cantor: Obama’s Security Policies a ‘Retreat’ From Past

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told a conservative crowd Tuesday that the Obama administration’s national security policies have weakened the United States’ reputation abroad and represent a “rapid state of retreat” from the strong policies of the past.

“The problem with the Obama defense and foreign policy philosophy is that it seems to abandon the proven strategy of peace through strength,” Cantor said during a speech to the Heritage Foundation at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel. “Its policies bespeak a naive moral relativism in which the United States bears much responsibility for the problems we face around the world.”

Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, took aim at the administration’s roll back of the missile defense program and the new nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev last month — saying both significantly weakened the nation’s ability to combat terrorism in the future.

Cantor pledged that House Republicans would work to reverse Obama’s decision to cut defense spending should they win back the majority in 2010.

“It is time for conservatives who believe in peace through strength and the righteousness of our cause to stand up — to serve as a check and balance on the administration’s policies,” Cantor said. “We will once again fund weapons research and development not just to meet the threats of today, but those of tomorrow. We will fight for missile defense. And we will update our nuclear warheads.”

Cantor also took a shot at the Obama administration’s recent clashes with Israel, saying the president has pandered to “enemies” such as Syria and Iran while picking fights with allies.

“The problem is that this kind of accommodating attitude toward our enemies never works,” Cantor said. “Hundreds of years of world history prove that pursuing peace at any cost — even the cost of our own freedom — is an exercise in futility. It’s the mark of desperation.”

Yet even with his criticism of the administration, Cantor defended the president when an audience member asked what “Obama would have to do to be defined as a domestic enemy.”

“No one thinks Obama is a domestic enemy,” Cantor responded. “It is important for us to remember, we have the freedom of discourse in this country. The president’s policies, the administration’s priorities, in my opinion, do not reflect the majority of this country.”

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