By Martin S. Indyk, Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Michael E. O'Hanlon
How good has Barack Obama performed his tasks as U.S. commander-in-chief, best diplomat, and grand strategist? He has been not able to alter the weather of Washington, and fiscal problems have ruled the 1st years of his presidency. yet his better luck or failure will most probably hinge as a lot on overseas coverage. In Bending History, a trio of popular international coverage specialists illuminates the grand promise and the nice contradictions of a brand new president who has captured the eye and mind's eye of electorate all over the world like few of his White apartment predecessors.
Conflicting caricatures of Obama omit the mark. the suitable principally believes he's a naive apologist attempting to quash "American exceptionalism," or at top attempting too not easy to satisfy the calls for of his Democratic celebration. Conversely, whereas many at the Left nonetheless see him as a transformational political determine, the good antidote to George Bush's unilateralist militarism, others think he's an accommodationist who lacks the nerve to finish the excesses of Bush antiterror regulations. no longer strangely, Obama is considerably extra complex and nuanced than any of those pictures allows.
Bending History argues that Obama so far has, exceptionally, been a overseas coverage pragmatist, tackling one factor at a time in a considerate method. On stability he has been powerfuble and sturdy, making a choice on moderate rules (or least-worst ideas, no less than) with an procedure typified via thoroughness, quite strong teamwork, and adaptability while needed.
The professional authors goal to provide the 1st critical book-length appraisal of Obama's international coverage. they're Martin Indyk, a diplomat with nice adventure within the risky zone that has obvious nearly unbelievable political switch in 2011 (the heart East); Kenneth Lieberthal, an oft-quoted authority at the old upward push and political financial system of China; and Michael O'Hanlon, an finished analyst of nationwide defense coverage, quite the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With equity and class, the authors mixture their very own services with entry to significant army and diplomatic gamers at most sensible degrees of the management. They locate little strategic coherence in a international coverage that's amazing in most cases for its person projects instead of unifying issues, regardless of what the character of Barack Obama himself represents symbolically and rhetorically.
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Extra info for Bending History: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy
Indd 23 2/13/12 3:09 PM C H A P T E R T WO Emerging Power: China One of the key characteristics of the current international system is the increasing importance of the emerging powers. This trend, under way for several decades, has arguably become more significant in the wake of the global financial crisis. China’s development has been the most consequential for the international system to date, and since January 2009, Beijing has posed the full array of issues for President Obama that the emergence of new major players entails.
Still, along the way, one can discern some promising signs of change in the global order: some G-20 coordinated action to deal with the global economic crisis; UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which mandated the use of all necessary means to protect the people of Libya; and Russian and Chinese support for sanctions on Iran. Part of this mixed record can be attributed to the degree of difficulty involved in reordering the world in the aftermath of a global economic crisis widely viewed as “made in America,” compounded by a deeply polarized political environment in Washington that diverted the president’s attention and constrained some high-priority foreign policy initiatives, such as that on climate change.
But his previous foreign policy experience had been limited to two years as Secretary of State Warren Christopher’s chief of staff, another coordinating position; Donilon was not a likely candidate to develop the integrated strategy that would help Obama fulfill his grand design. Obama’s motive in making these two appointments only emerged over time, as it became increasingly clear that the young and inexperienced president intended to be his own overall national security strategist. Beyond Jones and Donilon, he depended on two National Security Council staffers who had worked closely with him during the campaign—Denis McDonough and Ben Rhodes; as of 2012 both are serving as Donilon’s deputies.
Bending History: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy by Martin S. Indyk, Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Michael E. O'Hanlon