Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

USA | Barack Obamas utrikespolitik kommer sannolikt kritiseras mer av framtida historiker än hans inrikespolitiska framgångar.

Foreign Policy - September-October 2014

Även om han nu t.ex. skulle lyckas få Iran att skriva på ett kärvapenavtal kommer USA:s smått förvirrande, och ofta direkt ointresserade, attityd när det gäller röran i Mellanöstern, utmaningarna från Kina och Rysslands aggressivitet förfölja honom bra många år framöver.

Inför utgivningen av David Rothkopfs National Isecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear publicerade Foreign Policy ett utdrag från boken.

“You’re still a superpower,” a top diplomat from one of America’s most dependable Middle Eastern allies said to me in July of this year, “but you no longer know how to act like one.”

He was reflecting on America’s position in the world almost halfway into President Barack Obama’s second term. Fresh in his mind was the extraordinary string of errors (schizophrenic Egypt policy, bipolar Syria policy), missteps (zero Libya post-intervention strategy, alienation of allies in the Middle East and elsewhere), scandals (spying on Americans, spying on friends), halfway measures (pinprick sanctions against Russia, lecture series to Central Americans on the border crisis), unfulfilled promises (Cairo speech, pivot to Asia), and outright policy failures (the double-down then get-out approach in Afghanistan, the shortsighted Iraq exit strategy).

The diplomat with whom I was speaking is a thoughtful man. He knew well that not all of these problems are the result of the blunders of a single really bad year or the fault of any one president. The reality is that any president’s foreign policy record depends heavily on luck, external factors, cyclical trends, and legacy issues. And, to be sure, Obama inherited many of his greatest challenges, some of the biggest beyond his control.

Obama’s presidency is largely a product of a moment in history that likely will be seen someday as an aberration—the decade after 9/11, during which a stunned, angry, and disoriented America was sent spinning into a kind of national ptsd. Call it an age of fear, one in which the country and its leaders were forced to grapple with a sense of vulnerability to which they were unaccustomed. The response of George W. Bush’s 
administration—entering into the long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, remaking U.S. national security policy around the terrorism threat—led to a backlash that ushered Obama into office with a perceived mandate to undo what his predecessor had done and avoid making similar mistakes.

The problem is that in seeking to sidestep the pitfalls that plagued Bush, Obama has inadvertently created his own. Yet unlike Bush, whose flaw-riddled first-term foreign policy was followed by important and not fully appreciated second-term course corrections, Obama seems steadfast in his resistance both to learning from his past errors and to managing his team so that future errors are prevented. It is hard to think of a recent president who has grown so little in office.

As a result, for all its native confidence and fundamental optimism, the United States remains shaken and unsteady more than a decade after the 9/11 attacks. Many of its problems have only grown dangerously worse: Its relative influence has declined; the terrorism threat has evolved and spread; and U.S. alliances are superannuated, ineffective shadows of their former selves. Compounding this is such gross dysfunction in Washington that, on most issues, the president is presumed to be blocked by Congress even before he has had the opportunity to make a move.If the nation is to recover fully, Obama must not only identify and attempt to reverse what has gone wrong, but he also must try to understand how he can achieve new gains by the end of his second term. That is to say that huge challenges remain unaddressed and rising to them requires a hard look at himself—his responses, his messages, his management, and his team.

Tidskriftsomslag: Foreign Policy, september-oktober 2014.

Read Full Post »

DEMOKRATI | Tio författare. Tio förslag. Alla med fokus på vad Barack Obama kan göra på det inrikes- eller utrikespolitiska området.

Foreign Policy januari-februari 2013

Foreign Policy har tagit fram förslagen med tanke på att de ganska snabbt skulle kunna få effekt. Med eller utan kongressens stöd.

Ett av förslagen handlar om att fixa så att den amerikanska demokratin skall fungera bättre än vad den gör idag.

Micah L. Sifry, editorial director Personal Democracy Media och senior rådgivare vid Sunlight Foundation, skriver:

By executive order, he could require that government contractors disclose their political expenditures, as he considered doing in 2011. He could make his political appointees disclose their contacts with lobbyists and their involvement in fundraising activities. To revive his moribund open-government agenda, he could require that federal agencies list all the data they collect, whether or not the data are being made public. Then he could mandate that anything already being made public be made available online, so it is more accessible to all, rather than just to insiders and the well-connected.

Obama could also follow up on his off-the-cuff remark during his victory-night speech and actually start fixing the country’s broken voting system. Voter registration ought to be automatic at age 18. Election Day ought to be moved to the weekend, to make it easier for working people to vote. Polling places ought to be held to uniform national standards, with federal funding made available to help localities with the costs.


Fortunately, much of the legwork has already been done. The Fair Elections Now Act, which has 118 co-sponsors in Congress, would institute a constitutionally sound system of voluntary public financing for congressional candidates. The DISCLOSE Act would ensure that donations above $10,000 contributed by corporations and labor unions to influence elections get reported. The Lobbyist Disclosure Enhancement Act would require lobbyists to disclose which officials or members of Congress they are lobbying, speed up disclosure, and close loopholes that allow some of Washington’s most powerful players to avoid disclosure. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act would establish uniform public reporting of government spending by agencies and recipients, enabling much better tracking of where tax dollars actually go.

All this would hit Washington like an earthquake, but nothing less is needed — that is, if we are going to have a democracy in which ordinary Americans count for more than a throwaway line in all those fundraising emails.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Foreign Policy januari/februari 2013.

Read Full Post »

ETT OMSLAG som är lika aktuellt idag som för två år sedan. Rubriken ”Yes, he did. But what if he can’t?” och på insidan artikeln ”The Making of George W. Obama”.

Yes, there wil be changes ahead […] But despite all that, Obama’s foreign policy likely won’t depart radically from Bush’s.


There will even likely be a great deal of continuity in the fight against al Qaeda. There’s consensus now that preemtion is necessary to fight terrorism; Obama himself has advocated for it.

Och mycket riktigt. I början av 2011 gav presidenten klartecken till en militär raid in i Pakistan för att eliminera Usama bin Ladin.

Artikeln (endast tillgänglig för prenumeranter) skrevs av Christian Brose, tidskriftens senior editor, och tidigare talskrivare åt Condoleezza Rice och Colin Powell. Båda utrikesministrar under George W. Bush.

Övrigt: Numret är Foreign Policy, januari/februari 2009. Den enda informationen om tidskriftsomslaget och bilden på Barack Obama är följande: ”Charles Ommanney/(Contact Press Images)”.

Read Full Post »

iranVALRÖRELSER: Tidskriften Foreign Policy har sammanställt en inte helt komplett lista över några intressanta val som kommer att genomföras under 2009. Påpekas bör kanske att det är skillnad mellan val och val.

Att Iran avhåller ”val” i juni är knappast intressant ur demokratisk synvinkel. Snarare handlar det om en möjlighet för utomstående att få en bättre bild av vilken konstellation av makhungriga tokstollar som råkar ha ”the upper hand” i landets maktstrider.

Den rasistiske och anti-semitiske presidenten Mahmoud Ahmadinejad har lyckats med konststycket att under sin tid i ämbetet både hota Israel med utplåning, ge terroristorganisationer sitt stöd och uppmuntra till fler självmordsbombningar samtidigt som han har lyckats köra Irans ekonomi i botten, samt skapa massarbetslöshet och hög inflation.

Inte illa! Inte konstigt att utländska investerare flyr landet. Inte heller konstigt att han ännu inte har meddelat om han kommer att kandidera.

Mer intressant ur demokratisk synvinkel är valet i Indien.

Efter terrorangreppet i Mumbai/Bombay blir det intressant att se om väljarna i ”världens största demokrati” kommer att straffa Kongresspartiet.

Med tanke på att partiet lyckades vinna tre delstatsval i december mot nationalistiska hindupartiet Bharatiya Janata Party ser partistrategerna nu mer positivt på situationen än tidigare.

Det betyder naturligtvis inte att BJP inte kommer att försöka göra valet till en folkomröstning om landets säkerhet och terroristhotet. Och Indien – precis som så många andra länder – har också drabbats av den världsomspännande ekonomiska krisen.

Kanske landet väljare drar slutsatsen att man inte gärna kan skylla globala problem på landets inhemska politiker. Åtminstone kan man tolka den inrikespolitiska situationen i andra länder på detta sätt.

Både Fredrik Reinfeldt och Gordon Brown har gjort bättre ifrån sig i opinionsundersökningarna efter krisen än innan. Så länge som man inte tar politiska beslut som verkar förvärra situationen kan man t.o.m. dra nytta av ett dåligt ekonomiskt läge för att genomföra nödvändiga reformer och/eller lansera populära (eller om man så vill populistiska) förslag.

Read Full Post »

MAKEOVER: Att president George W. Bush brottas med ett imageproblem är idag lite av ett understatement.

Trots detta har det nu börjat dyka upp positiva utvärderingar i mainstream media i USA. Foreign Policy lockade t.ex. i sin pappersupplaga med omslaget ”Lonesome Cowboy: Why you´ll miss him when he´s gone” (artikeln endast för prenumeranter).


Och man får gå tillbaka till första mandatperioden för att finna den typ av positiva vinklingar som Newsweek bjuder på i ”What Bush Got Right”. Fareed Zakaria, redaktör för de internationella upplagorna, skriver om Bush´s Mellanösternpolitik;

Across New York, Los Angeles and Chicago – and probably Europe and Asia as well – people are nervously asking themselves a question: ‘Could he possibly have been right?’ The short answer is yes (…)

The Arab world (…) was almost unique in that over the past three decades it had become increasingly unfree, even as the rest of the world was opening up. His solution, therefore, was to push for reform in these lands.

Men detta hindrar inte att imageproblemet är påtagligt. Det kommer att krävas aktiva åtgärder för att råda bot på detta.

Av denna anledning har Matthew Cooper på affärstidskriften Portfolio ställt frågan vilken strategi Bush borde använda sig av för att bättra på bilden av sig själv när han har lämnat Vita huset. Några av förslagen;

Harold Burson, grundare av Burson-Marsteller pr-byrå;

I’ve got a very simple solution. Go down to Crawford, Texas, and be George W. Bush. In other words, don’t start some campaign to revive your legacy. He should be himself. Speaking out on public issues doesn’t come naturally to him, and so he should be quiet.

Jon Marder, New York;

All celebrities know that if you’re out of the day-to-day fray, you become more sought after. You have to make them miss you.

Karen Hughes, tidigare kommunikationsrådgivare åt Bush, numera på Burson-Marsteller;

His library is a natural venue for him to continue to promote and advance policies he cares about. He cares passionately about expanding freedom and opportunity to more people.

Read Full Post »