America Needs a Fleet of Special Envoys

America Needs a Fleet of Special Envoys

Most Americans realize that President-elect Barack Obama will inherit the most disastrous economic and foreign policy legacy since FDR took charge of the Great Depression or Abraham Lincoln inherited a country on the brink of Civil War.

America's standing in the world is at a low ebb, even among our friends and allies. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the U.S. military stretched to the breaking point. North Korea has tested nuclear weapons and proliferated nuclear technologies to Syria and other nations. Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear weapons state. Even if they were not occurring alongside the biggest global financial meltdown since the Great Depression, these and dozens of other foreign policy challenges could overwhelm the most capable leader and his diplomatic corps.

In order to recoup its international stature and make progress on tough global challenges, America will need seasoned diplomatic warriors who can clean up problems and, where appropriate, build on the successes of the Bush administration. Global challenges far outstrip what the bureaucratic system is designed to handle, even with capable leadership. President-elect Obama will have to find and deploy a fleet of special envoys to jumpstart dialogue and broker deals, including with regimes long isolated by the current administration.

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