For a president elected on his promise of pulling the U.S. out of Iraq in a jiffy and treating the world at large with a softer hand, observers say Obama is carrying on in much the same tradition of his predecessor when it comes to foreign policy.
Though he comes armed with a wealth of soft power and celebrity status, Obama’s international priorities have yet to develop into anything that would distinguish him. Guantanamo remains open–and is liable to stay open for the foreseeable future; Americans are still in Iraq albeit in fewer numbers; and Talibanistan looms large as the next big fight on the horizon.
Duke University’s Peter Feaver, who crafted national security policy under Bush thus notes “far more continuity than change” in the ethos behind Obama’s foreign policy.
Feaver is not the first international security hand to notice the similarities. Foriegn policy analyst David Rieff put Obama in perspective saying we have to remember the president is a centrist democrat, and one who would be on the right in many countries in the world. Though Rieff does not expect much in the way of reshaping the global balance of power, Rieff does credit his Af-Pak strategy and reach out to Cuba.
Obama will set out his national security policies in a speech today.