Just more than four years ago, Americans saw no end to the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thousands of troops remained abroad, although former President George W. Bush had already declared, “Mission Accomplished.” In the last four years, President Barack Obama has solidified his role on the international stage as hard on terror, while maintaining a more logical and diplomatic approach. Under Obama’s leadership, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks and the man who is responsible for the loss of thousands of American lives, was removed as a threat to our peace and security. In addition, troops are finally coming home to their families and friends. During the Obama administration, we saw the historic end to the decade-long war in Iraq that took the lives of many American troops.

This change in policy has afforded us much more regional strength and security. Republicans often claim Obama is bad for our strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel. In actuality, under Obama, we’ve seen more military assistance for the Iron Dome, a project that saves hundreds of Israeli lives, continued $3.1 billion in foreign aid to Israel annually and the toughest sanctions on the Iranian regime, which eventually led to Iran’s participation in international negotiations to reach an agreement on its nuclear program. This combination of crippling sanctions and open negotiations shows Obama’s strategic, logical and secure approach to the Middle East — an approach that began the process of reversing the harmful trends begun by the Bush administration.

Obama has proved that his policy of diplomacy as an alternative to military action is both effective and operational. Let’s compare the situation in Iraq under former President Bush to that of Iran under Obama. Throughout Bush’s administration, we saw a lack of support from the international community, as well as a stark lack of diplomatic efforts. During the Obama administration, however, we have seen the combination of tough sanctions and open diplomacy. These have allowed for the possibility of denuclearization, rather than a decade-long war which neither results in the strengthening of American security nor stabilizing relations in the Middle East.

Obama exemplifies diplomacy as a viable opportunity to military action. He brought Iran to the negotiating table with debilitating sanctions, while still maintaining that all options are on the table except containment, regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Obama’s wide variety of policies have yielded more results in the form of more long-lasting and peaceful relationships with the international community, a safer America and a more secure global community.