One of the unavoidable realities in any U.S. administration is that the president himself can only focus on 10 or so pressing foreign policy issues at any given time. Immediate crises and pressing national security threats tend to dominate that list, which has the unfortunate effect of making the top echelons of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus reactive rather than proactive. Thus, most of the attention of the Obama administration's national security team over the past several weeks has been focused on the crisis in Syria, to the detriment of matters that may be less immediately urgent right now but that will have a much more important long-term impact on America's position in the world.
The postponement of what would have been a state visit of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to Washington next month due to fallout over revelations of U.S. spying activities—a reaction that could have been mitigated through proper and prompt attention—is a stark reminder that U.S. administrations have to be able to strike a balance between reacting to current events and laying the groundwork for the future. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $18 monthly or $118/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Shifts in Cultivation, Usage Put Bolivia’s Coca Policy at the Crossroads
- World Citizen: In Post-Chavez Venezuela, a Dystopian Drama Unfolds
- After Presidential Election, Honduras Will Need U.S. Support to Tackle Challenges
- In Chile, Presidential Election Outcome Certain, Future Less So
- The Realist Prism: Can Obama Avoid a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of U.S. Decline?