In foreign policy, although Barack Obama has not had time to do much, he has set a tone. Mr. Obama's principal goal seems to be to reverse the legacy of the Bush administration through bold demonstrations of American humility. But while his stratagem of courting our enemies and criticizing ourselves has achieved no benefits and is not likely to, it also comes at a price.
The Curtain Rises: Obama's Opening Act
At the symbolic 100-day threshhold of the Obama presidency, World Politics Review asked five prominent foreign policy commentators to offer their take on the initial direction of President Obama's foreign policy. Thomas P.M. Barnett, Steve Clemons, Anthony Cordesman, Nikolas Gvosdev and Joshua Muravchik review Obama's Opening Act.
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The first steps of Barack Obama's presidency have given him and his team some breathing room, instituting a "zone of separation" from the policies and approaches of their predecessors. This should not be dismissed out of hand. But so far, what Obama largely has done is to make promises -- ones that have been well-received, for the most part, but not yet implemented.
No president could restructure U.S. national security strategy in 100 days. It takes months to translate concepts into plans and budgets, and even urgent actions take time to implement. But having inherited one of the worst presidential legacies of the postwar era, President Obama has made an impressive start in changing America's image, and the goals and concepts that shape the operational realities of its national security strategy.
Throughout its history, America has experienced many kinds of bubbles. The 19th century brought us a railroad bubble, the 20th, an Internet bubble. Now, 100 days into a new presidency, America has replaced the housing bubble that opened the 21st century with an Obama bubble -- one that we and the rest of the world desperately need.
America and the world are experiencing the kind of restructuring of international affairs that only a global collapse of economic demand can trigger. The meteor has struck and now we shall find out who are the dinosaurs and who are the mammals. The aura of leadership clings to those great powers whose demeanor best matches their objective circumstances.