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Posts Tagged ‘Mieke Eoyang’

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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