Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

Obama’s Foreign Policy

While any part of Obama’s globalizaton policies that overlap with any other part of his administration tend to be a disaster (Buy American bills I & II, the sanctions against Mexico, the SNAFU with Gordon Brown, and nearly anything related to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner), Obama’s foreign policy proper has been exceptionally smooth and well-done. The President’s messgae to the Iranian people is just the latest example of this:

Elsewhere, Obama wisely continues Bush administration policies. Obama won’t be pulling a brigade out a month after all, an the KMT-CCP peace process has become the new normal, we will be reducing our purchases of F-22s.

At least as far as foreign policy itself goes, Barack Obama has been a good president.

Biden is an acceptable Choice

I agree with Tom completely on Biden:

No harm done (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
Biden will be a good campaigner and brings a lot of nice foreign policy credentials. Plus he’s very establishment-looking, so Obama’s riskiness factor is somewhat addressed.

Difference maker?

Better said: no harm done.

I made a similar point (if with someone more pointed verbage) a while ago:

Barack Obama is the candidate of the Establishment, “Dr. No-Change,” who will flip and flop with the views of the Establishment of the government and the Democratic Party. This might be a good thing. Having a smart, intelligent, and ambitiousness President would lead to changes, some of which may be harmful. As it is, Obama’s plan to coast on our greatness isn’t half bad.

Obama’s selection of Joe Biden, one of the top Democratic establishment politicians with regards to foreign policy, is good news. It effectively repudiates most of his rhetoric during the campaign, and instead promises an administration which is right out of the cookie-cutter left-of-center mold.

Neither liberal nor conservative, an Obama administration would bring a Brookings Institution nirvana of foreign policy. That is not half bad.

Obama in Berlin, talking about nothing in particular

I listened to Obama’s speech in Berlin, and then his interview with Brian Williams.

Obama’s speech was good on delivery, and poor on substance, like most Obama speeches. It conatined a number of phrases meant to energize his Leftist base, and thus it comes across as somewhat cruel, like many Obama speeches when you pay attention to the words.

His interview with Brian Williams mostly continued the theme. Obama generally avoided actually promising or saying anything, but implied that he supported all the beliefs (good and bad) that are fashionable among his current friends. (So there were no references that would please his old friends. They are no longer useful to him.)

Ultimately, Obama’s answer to one qustion made me happy. Brian Williams asked Obama what he would ask the American people to do differently. Bush has been largely criticized for not asking the American people to sacrifice after 9/11. Would Obama show political courage?

Happily, the answer is no. Even better, Obama said that we needed to change how we talk about foreign policy, which implies his vacuousness continues up to foreign policy.

This is great news. If Obama wants to create a new policy, he would need to begin telegraphing it. Otherwise, the populous will be unprepared for the hardships and annoyances ahead, and that would limit his effectiveness. Obama shows no interest in doing this.

Obama is the candidate of the Establishment, the sequel of Bush II, just more of the same on many issues.

If you want a third Bush term (except when it comes to cultural issues), Obama is a fine choice.

Obama, a Fool or a Naif on Foreign Policy

Those who remember 2000 remember George Bush’s quixotic pursuit of “human dignity,” whil Gore talked about “human rights.” The reason was that Bush wanted a non-interventionist foreign policy that would let us stay home. “Human rights” is associated with International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, and implies obligations. “Human Dignity” is a squishy concept that means nothing, so the Bush 2000 campaign embraced it.

So does the Bush ’08 campaign, incarnated in the form of Barack Obama:

Obama never uses the soaring language of Bush’s freedom agenda, preferring instead to talk about enhancing people’s economic prospects, civil society and—his key word—”dignity.” He rejects Bush’s obsession with elections and political rights, and argues that people’s aspirations are broader and more basic—including food, shelter, jobs. “Once these aspirations are met,” he told The New York Times’s James Traub, “it opens up space for the kind of democratic regimes we want.” This is a view of democratic development that is slow, organic and incremental, usually held by conservatives.

Fareed Zakaria’s latest piece,which includes that piece of Bush IIIism from Barack Obama, is disturbing reading. Either Obama is a fool or a naif, or Zakaria is complicit in deceiving the American people.

I think all three are true.

  • Obama would be a fool if he actualyl believed in “realism,” an economics-ignorant school of foreign policy which is concerned with questions such as how to balance against Germany, what we should do when France begins mining our harbors, etc.
  • Obama is a naif if he supports “realism” because Daily Kos thinks its cool.
  • Zakaria is deceiving the American people if he believes that Obama believes something else — for instance, if he believes in Functionalism or Idealism — and is calling that Realism because Daily Kos thinks its cool.

Obama is so unsure of what he believes with regards to foreign polic that Obama has hired 300 people to tell him what to think. This is a typical mistake of naifs who know they are naive: they think knowledge is like a bucket of water, so the more you have in one room, the more you have. It’s the fallacy of the mythical man month, a concept I expect Obama has never heard about.

Update: Tom is impressed, but does not say why.