Obama and Soft Power

To add my $0.02 to the discussion of Barack Obama’s foreign policy (Hampton’s response to Matthew Yglesias’ pushback against Hampton’s original post), I’d say that to the extent that digging wells is a better way to not live up to your utopian rhetoric than dropping bombs, I think Matthew has a point. But therein lies the rub. The danger of Obama’s overly ambitious and unrealistic rhetoric, like all overly ambitious and unrealistic rhetoric, is in raising expectations, both domestically and abroad, about the transformative capacity of American power, at a time when a smart foreign policy would attempt to downsize […]

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