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Saturday, May 31, 2014

America the Caring and Collaborative: Obama's Foreign Policy Speech

Imagine a foreign policy address written by a human resources officer and you have the essence of Obama's West Point speech.  Be more collaborative and cooperative (with our allies)  Operate with transparency (drone strikes). Work within the established bureaucratic framework. (World Bank, IMF.)  Do more with less. (Huge military cuts; smaller Army.) 

Little to inspire here. But it really is a foreign policy for our current mood.  Americans want all the benefits of being the "Last Remaining Super Power," but are balking at the costs.  Christopher Caldwell sums this up as us wanting to have our cake and eat it too:  http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d6f891c0-e694-11e3-9a20-00144feabdc0.html#axzz33INKQDM8

Obama likes to present himself as the "anti-Bush," but this is only a head fake.  In essence, he has continued the Bush foreign policy on counterterrorsm, and is even more aggressive on drone strikes.  He doubled down on Afghanistan, agreeing to a troop surge.  He continued the withdrawal from Iraq, which was already happening.   (Obama's policy on Latin America also is identical with Bush's.)

In sentiment, however, Obama embodies the old Henry Wallace-George McGovern wing of the Democratic Party, which deeply distrusts America's power and intentions.

Consider how fortunate he is--we all are--that no major challenge to American power has occurred on his watch.  Yet, anyway.  Still two and a half years to go.
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