Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 8 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/17/09

Overcoming Pottery Barn Foreign Policy

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bob Burnett
Become a Fan
  (23 fans)

After six months as President, Barack Obama has put his own imprint on US foreign policy. That's fortunate because George Bush broke everything he touched.

Obama is collaborative; Bush was confrontational. Drawing upon his experience as a community organizer, Obama looks for areas of agreement between the interests of the United States and those of other nations. "The United States and Russia have more in common than they have differences."

Bush's signature foreign policy doctrine was preemptive war. "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." Bush's "axis of evil" speech led to the invasion of Iraq and, if that war had played out as expected, would have resulted in the invasion of Iran and other military adventures.

Obama is a realist; Bush was an idealist. Over the past few decades, Democrats have been accused of quixotic foreign policy subscribing to the "one world, one global community" philosophy while Republicans have been pragmatic Henry Kissinger introduced the concept of realpolitik to Richard Nixon, leading to the normalization of relations with China. However, the Bush Administration returned to cold-war politics based upon dogmatic ideology: US military prowess would produce free markets inexorably followed by capitalism and Christianity.

Now it's Barack Obama who champions realpolitik, who has emerged as the pragmatic diplomat. Obama has kept the door open to Iran, as he seeks to build a coalition of containment that includes Russia and China.

Obama is a globalist; Bush was a nationalist. Obama sees the US as a powerful player in a complex world; Bush saw America as the leader in a global crusade. Driven by his conservative Christianity, Dubya viewed the world through the prism of good versus evil, "you are either with us or against us." Because of his rigid perspective, Bush wouldn't have countenanced continued diplomacy with Iran after June's election turmoil.

Obama sees a world of overlapping spheres of influence: military, business, and social. US military interests require that we collaborate with other nations to combat terrorism and control the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Our business interests require that we regulate trade and oversee the global economy, make sure that poor nations participate. US social interests require that we encourage the development of civil society everywhere, while we cooperate to control the spread of infectious diseases and respond to the crisis of global warming.

Bush viewed America as a fortress where barbarians were hammering at our gates. Therefore, his foreign policy perspective was simplistic: America needs to remain the world's preeminent military power to maintain our security. Dubya had little interest in global commerce and social problems. When questioned he'd invariably respond that they would be dealt with by "the market."

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Bob Burnett Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

 
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Ten Telltale Signs of Republican Disease

Big Liars and The Voters Who Love Them

Obama vs. Romney: The Bottom Line

The GOP Chooses Fascism

2011 Budget Battle: Obama Wins While Democrats Lose

Obama vs. Romney: The Popularity Contest

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend