How Confident Should Americans be in Obama-Era Foreign Policy?

As the Barack Obma attempts to repair America's shattered reputation abroad, he is met with resistence from countries that are still scarred from eight years of Bush. Right? Or, is there something wrong with the new president's foreign policy?

With the increasingly disturbing postures being taken by North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran signalling a further coolling of relations, many are beginning to question just how cordial American foreign policy should now be.


While President Obama ran in a campaign as a clear opponent to Bush era cowboy diplomacy, he has staffed his Administration with backroom champions of those same policies. Defense Secretary Gates, CIA Director Panetta, White House Chief of Staff Emanuel, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, and National Security Adviser Jones are still more hawk than dove.

Some of the hard feelings go back to President Clinton. What many across the globe see, even if it is not commonly remembered by American citizens, is that while there was a lack of outright war during the Clinton era, his tenure was marked by the bombing of more nations than any other presidency before and since. Targeted countries, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Globalization, "includ Iraq, Somalia, the Bosnian Serb Republic, Afghanistan, Sudan and Yugoslavia as well as cruise missiles landing in Pakistan and the Bulgarian capital of Sofia...” The report concludes with this cryptic message: "a lot can be known about a new government even before it formally takes charge and a lot can occur in two months…In the political sphere, particularly in the areas of general foreign relations and military policy, there has been nothing to celebrate.”

As American relationships with China, Russia, and Iran remain precarious at best, the war continues in Iraq, escallation increases in Afghanistan, there's a growing sense that conflict could spill over into Pakistan, and a crisis builds in Mexico, only time will tell if this new president can heal all wounds and truly redefine American foreign policy.

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