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Posts Tagged ‘Jacques Chirac’

UTRIKESPOLITIK | President Barack Obamas verkar inte ha ett lika stort intresse för utrikespolitik som för inrikespolitik. Och detta skadar honom inrikespolitiskt.

Time 9 september 2013

Detta är i och för sig inget nytt för en amerikansk president. Vare sig Bill Clinton eller George W. Bush blev primärt valda för sina utrikespolitiska ståndpunkter.

Annat var det under kalla kriget när det förväntades att presidentkandidaterna kunde visa upp en gedigen förståelse för hur världen fungerar.

Till skillnad från väljare i många andra demokratier har amerikanarna varit mycket väl medvetna om att amerikanska presidenten har en unik position i världspolitiken.

Detta inte minst för att presidenten aldrig är långt ifrån avfyrningskoderna till landets kärnvapen.

Men vad som verkar vara unikt för Obama är att kritiken inte bara kommer från republikanerna i USA.

Som Michael Crowley påminner om i Time så hoppades t.o.m. president Assad i en tidningsartikel 2009 att Obama skulle ta aktiv del i utvecklingen i Mellanöstern.

Assad påpekade att det i realiteten inte fanns något substitut för USA i världspolitiken.

Some of Obama’s problems have a familiar ring. Early in his first term, Bill Clinton–who, like Obama, focused on domestic matters–also faced charges of timidity and weakness. ”We simply don’t have the leverage, we don’t have the influence [or] the inclination to use military force,” a senior State Department official complained in 1993. And much as Obama is facing pressure at home and abroad over Syria, Clinton was castigated for not intervening in the Balkan wars. ”The position of leader of the free world is vacant,” French President Jacques Chirac lamented in 1995.

Obama has likewise developed a strangely broad coalition of critics: humanitarians who want to stop the war in Syria; hawks who want a bolder U.S. foreign policy; democracy and human-rights advocates appalled that Obama isn’t tougher on Egypt’s generals. Meanwhile, U.S. allies in Europe complain that America isn’t showing leadership, and a senior Arab government official tells TIME that friendly states in the region don’t feel they can count on the U.S. ”There’s no perception that we’re engaged in issues in the Middle East right now,” says Christopher Hill, a veteran diplomat who served as Obama’s ambassador to Iraq.

Obama’s defenders say he has done the best with a poisoned inheritance–from anti-Americanism abroad to tight budgets and rising isolationism at home. And his White House predecessors have often heard cries from overseas that the U.S.’s will to power was faltering. But it’s also true that the public is tired of paying in blood and treasure to solve faraway problems that often look unsolvable. ”At the end of the day, the U.S. cannot impose its will on every problem in the world,” says Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

The blunt instrument of military power may be especially useless when it comes to untangling the Arab Spring’s social upheavals. ”Frankly, the U.S. is not good at resolving another country’s political implosion,” says Mieke Eoyang, a national-security analyst at Third Way, a Washington think tank. ”It may be that the U.S. just doesn’t have the tools.”

[…]

But to his critics, Obama does hesitate, and trouble follows as a result. With more than three years left in his presidency, he has the opportunity to reverse that impression. Success in Syria and then Iran could vindicate him, and failure could be crushing. ”The risk is that, if things in the Middle East continue to spiral, that will become his legacy,” says Brian Katulis, a former Obama campaign adviser now with the Center for American Progress.

Some Democratic Presidents have been crippled by foreign policy: Carter by Iran, Lyndon Johnson by Vietnam. But there is another model. Clinton doused the fires in the Balkans and demonstrated the nobility of American intervention. Obama has time to find a path through the current chaos to a successful legacy abroad.

As he charts his course, he might consider a thought from an unlikely source. In a 2009 British newspaper interview that struck a moderate tone, Assad said he hoped Obama would take an active role in the Middle East peace process because only Washington could broker a lasting solution. He said, ”There is no substitute for the United States.”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 9 september 2013.

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FRANKRIKE | Det kommer kanske att visa sig att det var lättare att besegra Nicolas Sarkozy än att infria alla vidlyftiga vallöften.

The Economist skriver:

Optimists retort that compared with the French Socialist Party, Mr Hollande is a moderate who worked with both François Mitterrand, the only previous French Socialist president in the Fifth Republic, and Jacques Delors, Mitterrand’s finance minister before he became president of the European Commission. He led the party during the 1997-2002 premiership of Lionel Jospin, who was often more reformist than the Gaullist president, Jacques Chirac. They dismiss as symbolic Mr Hollande’s flashy promises to impose a 75% top income-tax rate and to reverse Mr Sarkozy’s rise in the pension age from 60 to 62, arguing that the 75% would affect almost nobody and the pension rollback would benefit very few. They see a pragmatist who will be corralled into good behaviour by Germany and by investors worried about France’s creditworthiness.

If so, no one would be happier than this newspaper. But it seems very optimistic to presume that somehow, despite what he has said, despite even what he intends, Mr Hollande will end up doing the right thing. Mr Hollande evinces a deep anti-business attitude. He will also be hamstrung by his own unreformed Socialist Party and steered by an electorate that has not yet heard the case for reform, least of all from him. Nothing in the past few months, or in his long career as a party fixer, suggests that Mr Hollande is brave enough to rip up his manifesto and change France (see article). And France is in a much more fragile state than when Mitterand conducted his Socialist experiment in 1981-83. This time the response of the markets could be brutal—and hurt France’s neighbours too.

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