Has US Foreign Policy Been More Reactive or Proactive on Recent Issues?

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf discusses how the administration has responded to recent events around the world.
3:54 | 12/23/14

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Transcript for Has US Foreign Policy Been More Reactive or Proactive on Recent Issues?
Use a year ago who could've predicted something likable well I mean there were a lot of public health and tropical health experts out there warning that. There was going to be big strain. Opened very virulent strain of Ebola is going back and longer than just a year ago. Great thing at the time he played exactly how the outbreak occurred those are things they're often very hard to predict of course we know there's been possibilities kind of epidemic outbreak. But I don't think anyone is through what is that it will we saw this summer and in parts of Africa and how we had to respond so quickly and he doesn't hurt either remove many thanks. Well then the other one was that he couldn't have predicted Ukraine but in fact there were a lot of people even. It's going back to the essence what happened with Georgia. Several years ago that were predicting that if Ukraine continued to excuse me if Ukraine continued to move and its western direction towards Europe and NATO that there was going to be confrontation with. Marsha good people what that confrontation look like and how it manifested itself. I remember seeing at a podium similar accidents I think the farm for senator a year ago in saint what are the biggest challenges for the upcoming year. I don't think any reporter and that rumor and missing what it said iso Coppola and prime yet. Race I just. And maybe that's our fault as well look here's what my point look at. My appointment of Sheila woman racial and. In the basement my point is American leadership. And successor strength in foreign policy is an about. Predicting exactly when everything will happen effort many patents and happening in the world that's how you respond. To a variety of crises around the world in how you take action to prevent future Tracy Flick on issues like climate change and the Iranian nuclear program. Are on the on the other were anomalies shall meet last summer. I mean economically in the summer of 2000 risk here I'm talking I don't ahead we're talking about 2013. You're so you couldn't have predicted it but in the influx of foreign fighters was well homeowner was sturdy and more than a year ago. Yes Matt the we have all said the rapidity with which Beisel took. With the able that he can hold territory over the course of several weeks and months this summer what's surprising probably most of all Iceland but certainly to the Iraqi Army certainly. So it's not that we don't know these crises they're out there it's not that we don't know these are issues that's why we have people who focus on Ebola before it becomes an epidemic that we need to counter. My point is that when these traces do arise there is no other country on the planet has the tools the capability. Or the resources to be able to respond in section. I don't think anyone's doubting that it's just important when and what it what it sounds like though is that you've outlined a strategy that is entirely reactive. Not at all look at Cuba as the least reactive thing you've ever done. Look at one time of great that is not react. And what's reactive look at it. As reactive to what the president said was a failure of the last fifty years of policy toward puncture. Cuba was a proactive steps to change over fifty years of failed policy be running nuclear negotiations. That's exactly what this proactively on it this is an esoteric argument that I mean I still love are at it again. But I mean it literally it's it's sounds as though few minutes what you described as a policy. Now response rather than. Prevention. I know I guess practical but change is by definition. In large part and we would argue it's reactive to but we heard beating on an issue that many people don't see it's a crisis yet so. The point is the world is a complicated place and they. Yes that would we have conferred this year to just looked at you know. Did everything practically one in this course that's not the way the world works my point is that Wally you with these Francies quietly. You'd think from the fire has there been able. To proactively principle and policy agenda that he believed in the passengers country and I honestly think Cuba is the best simpler because that was happen we. Exact thirty her room very well no I'm talking about the previous fifty weeks of the year. Well that didn't just come I didn't know where we.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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