Does President Obama Transform US Foreign Policy?


President Barack Obama is always a popular topic in our everyday political conversations. He receives great attention to his political ideals, and with the allure of his speech, rhetorical style and public stardom. This is the reason why some people admire him and his policies and others criticize him harshly. The most extreme criticisms are centered on his national and international political ideals and practices.

In the last few weeks, much of attentions were focused on President Obama’s foreign policy and especially his policy toward Asia, South America and the Middle East. The debate reached its peak shortly after Jeffrey Goldberg published his article “The Obama Doctrine,” in The Atlantic Magazine. Moreover, the debate heated up further during Obama’s recent official state visit to Cuba and Argentina.

No doubt, Obama’s foreign policy is extremely compelling to everyone who is interested in U.S. foreign affairs. In this sense, some observers are claiming to be perplexed and even confused about Obama’s foreign policy. They are not able to pinpoint exactly the idea and practice of Obama’s foreign policy. Other observers, specially the opponents, have intense criticism to Obama’s foreign policy. They paint President Obama as being weak, hesitant and passive. They even accuse him of not being able to use America’s strong military power to influence U.S. global agenda. Some even claim that Obama’s foreign policy leads to “a U.S. retreat from the world scene and to an abandon of its global allies”.

Proponents of Obama’s foreign policy however, construct his foreign policy as the best. They argue that such foreign policy is ideal for those who believe that moral progress is possible and attainable. In a sense, they see that Obama’s foreign policy represents the ideal liberal democracies that have respect and tolerance toward the other (non democratic) values. As a result, those who embrace Obama’s political ideals consider him as one of America’s great leaders. They see his foreign policy as peaceful, cooperative, multilateral, pragmatic and dovish. They believe that Obama did a great effort to put America out of unnecessary wars and positively reconstruct its image around the world.

With this claim, will Obama’s foreign policy be widely discussed one hundred years from now? Assuming the debates about his policy still exist, such a speculative question can be useful in determining what if anything is enduring in Obama’s political ideals. On a positive note, one hundred years from now, readers of Obama’s foreign policy will conclude, Obama’s political ideals was a manifestation of America’s foreign policy transformation.

Certainly, Obama’s foreign policy is distinctively intriguing. For better or worse, Obama’s approach to global politics shifted the debate and forced us to re-think about traditional U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, we at Key Group believe that Obama’s foreign policy deserves more debates and conceptual and practical evaluations. In this remark, we will continue contributing to the debate and work on such propelling foreign policy issues.