This year's Democratic platform, which the party unveiled ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week, includes a response to the new Republican attack line that Americans are not better off than they were four years ago. "America is safer, stronger, and more secure than it was four years ago," the document declares -- four separate times.
When it comes to foreign policy, however, some of the evidence that the party marshals to support that assertion, however, is sure to raise eyebrows. Here's a look at some of the more wobbly pronouncements in the platform's section on national security:
The platform praises President Barack Obama's decision in 2009 to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and set the goal of defeating "al Qaeda and its extremist allies" in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama "sent additional resources to reverse the Taliban's momentum and to give the Afghans the time and space to build the capacity of their security forces," the document notes. "We have accomplished that, and now we have begun the process of bringing our troops home from Afghanistan."
Beyond the vigorous debate over the extent to which Obama's targeted strikes against al Qaeda leaders have weakened the organization, there's also a great deal of doubt about whether the Afghan surge has worked. The U.S. military argues that it has, pointing to success such as expanding Afghanistan's security forces and driving the Taliban out of strongholds in southern Afghanistan. Yet as Wired's Spencer Ackerman has noted, the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar are still the most violent in the country, and insurgent violence across the country has hardly dropped. In a recent New Yorker article on whether civil war will soon return to Afghanistan, Dexter Filkins observed that "the war in Afghanistan has come to this: the United States is leaving, mission not accomplished."
CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS
The platform explains that the "Obama administration has taken a leadership role in ongoing climate negotiations, working to ensure that other major economies like China and India commit to taking meaningful action," and adds that the party "will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban."
Critics might say, "What progress?" The truth is that these climate talks have not produced much meaningful action -- specifically an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted back in 1997. The 2011 Durban conference, for example, merely extended the Kyoto agreement for several years and produced a vague and non-binding pledge to develop a new global treaty at a later date.
HUNT FOR JOSEPH KONY
The Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony -- who was the subject of a withering viral video campaign by Invisible Children earlier this year -- makes a surprise appearance in the platform's only paragraph on Africa -- in the very first line, no less. "We will continue to partner with African nations to combat al-Qaeda affiliates in places like Somalia and to bring to justice those who commit mass atrocities, like Joseph Kony," it reads.
Critics may question the decision to name-drop the arguably marginal Kony at the expense of more pressing issues in Africa, or point to the fact that the U.S.-supported hunt for the rebel leader hasn't been going particularly well. The African Union mission has been hobbled by a lack of troops and equipment.