Obama's foreign policy record

IP is the place for boisterous political discussion, but please remember, the Rules still apply, especially with regards to Personal Attacks. These and other inappropriate posts will be removed without notification.

Moderators: Mick, TheGingerMan

Forum rules
IP is the place for boisterous political discussion, but please remember, the Rules still apply, especially with regards to Personal Attacks. These and other inappropriate posts will be removed without notification.

Obama's foreign policy record

Postby reztrop » 11 Dec 2011, 23:17

What do you think of Obama's foreign policy record so far?

I would say his foreign policy has been above average so far. He has eliminated top terrorist leaders and authorized far more drone strikes, with results to show for it, than the previous administration.

Also, he managed to topple Qaddafi in Libya with multilateral action without shedding a single American blood.

Second, Obama is turning American attention toward the Pacific. I am very pleased that Obama is maintaining alliances with its Asian neighbors to keep the PRC in check. Compared to the Bush administration's butt-kissing of the PRC, this is a breath of fresh air.

It's about time that the US pursue engagement with Burma. It's true that Burma's leadership are a repressive bunch. But the more the West ignores Burma and pursues economic sanctions to the detriment of the population, the more leverage it will give to the PRC. The PRC is plundering massive resources in Burma to the detriment of the environment and ethnic minorities. Burma is not like North Korea. Its potential for democracy is much greater than North Korea. Some in the Burmese leadership have been educated in the West, and harbor pro-West sympathies. But economic sanctions are rubbing Burma the wrong way.

"Democracy first" in a poor, ethnically-fractured, strategically important country like Burma is a misguided policy. Pursuing economic engagement and ethnic reconciliation first, while quietly prodding the Burmese leadership toward political liberalization is a wiser strategy. And it looks like Obama is pursuing this course, rather than giving the PRC more influence in Burma.

Taiwan and South Korea achieved prosperity first and pursued political liberalization later. I think Obama is aware of the US advisory role in Taiwan during the Cold War, working with KMT to pursue economic reforms despite authoritarian rule.

Finally Hillary Clinton has done a competent job as Secretary of State. Her intelligence, hard work, and diplomatic efforts have maintained alliances with other countries in crucial regions.
reztrop
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
 
Posts: 525
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 29 May 2005, 18:10
4 Recommends(s)
2 Recognized(s)



Re: Obama's foreign policy record

Postby fred smith » 12 Dec 2011, 00:43

Sign me 100% behind your statment. I could have written it myself. Some will suggest that Clinton is the one who deserves all the credit and I would certainly say she does but then choosing the right person for the job is also a sign of good leadership so kudos all around in my view.
Forumosan avatar
fred smith
Guan Yin (Guānyīn)
 
Posts: 17022
Joined: 11 Oct 2002, 17:14
1 Recommends(s)
56 Recognized(s)



Re: Obama's foreign policy record

Postby ChewDawg » 12 Dec 2011, 03:14

reztrop wrote:What do you think of Obama's foreign policy record so far?


I'd give Hillary and Obama a "B" on foreign policy. Pretty good! They've been assisted by some pretty high calibre Republican appointments (Gates, Petraeus etc.). I'd give Obama a "D" on his handling of the domestic economy though.

He has eliminated top terrorist leaders and authorized far more drone strikes, with results to show for it, than the previous administration.

I think he has the last administration to thank for setting the foundations for this later success. But yes, I agree, more results (killing of OBL, regime changes in Libya etc.).

Second, Obama is turning American attention toward the Pacific.

I am very pleased with the US actions in this area (e.g., wanting to accede to the TPP, the bases in Australia etc.).

Obama is maintaining alliances with its Asian neighbors to keep the PRC in check.

This isn't anything new though. A strong Japan as a counterbalance to China, participation in SEATO from the 50s to 70s, longstanding regional alliances with Australia, Thailand, Philippines etc. has been a cornerstone of US policy for decades.

Compared to the Bush administration's butt-kissing of the PRC, this is a breath of fresh air.

I disagree. Alliances to counter China's influence have been longstanding and are nothing new. Furthermore, I would disagree with her term "butt-kissing of the PRC." You had a lot of Bush appointments that were pretty pro-Taiwan. Who serves as the current head of the US-Taiwan Business Council? :lol: Answer: Paul Wolfowitz.

It's about time that the US pursue engagement with Burma......"Democracy first" in a poor, ethnically-fractured, strategically important country like Burma is a misguided policy.


I have mixed feelings on this issue. On one hand, Obama has been pro-active by first sending then-Senator Jim Webb a few years ago and now Hillary. Asian countries such as Singapore and Australia have been active in Burma for some time and countries that refuse to engage risk losing out in a market that has hardly been penetrated by outsiders.

On the other hand, I think the late Scoop Jackson, a Democrat neocon that mentored Republican advisors/appointments such as Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams etc in the 70s when many were still Democrats, and the co-drafter of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, would be turning over in his grave. That trade bill in the 70s helped put another nail in the coffin of 'detente' with the USSR by linking human rights with trade. Many of the proponents of Jackson-Vanik in the 70s had prominent positions of power in the Reagan admin in the 80s that helped defeat the "Evil Empire."

By warmly engaging Burma and by considering repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment in 2012 for Russia before it accedes to the WTO, the Obama administration is not putting enough pressure to prevent further backsliding on democratization, human rights and respect for the rule of law.
So I got an expresso and a hot burrito!
Forumosan avatar
ChewDawg
Gravel Truck Driver (suìshí chē sījī)
Gravel Truck Driver (suìshí chē sījī)
 
Posts: 1375
Joined: 06 Sep 2011, 10:27
111 Recommends(s)
95 Recognized(s)



Re: Obama's foreign policy record

Postby reztrop » 12 Dec 2011, 23:26

I'd give Obama a "D" on his handling of the domestic economy though.


We're on the same page on this. Obama seems to regard legislative negotiations as beneath him. He could take a page out of the master of the Senate, LBJ.

I disagree. Alliances to counter China's influence have been longstanding and are nothing new. Furthermore, I would disagree with her term "butt-kissing of the PRC." You had a lot of Bush appointments that were pretty pro-Taiwan. Who serves as the current head of the US-Taiwan Business Council? Answer: Paul Wolfowitz


Bush deserves credit for continuing this longstanding tradition. During his administration he built upon the US-Japan relationship.

On the other hand, China's leverage and clout today has its roots in the Bush Administration. Bush largely ignored the Pacific region as a whole, and devoted a huge portion of the administration's attention on the Middle East. Although 9/11 made this understandable, I think the administration's management of world affairs after 9/11 could have been better.

Bush's emphasis on hard power and the Defense Department, at the expense of diplomacy and State, allowed Beijing to make inroads in other countries. To win hearts and minds and provide development assistance, you need to devote resources toward State, which deteriorated under his administration. Because of this, Beijing was able to expand its influence in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. This is slowly being corrected by Obama.

Also the Bush administration gave Beijing leverage by allowing Beijing to finance its military and domestic expenditures through the massive sale of Treasury bonds.

This imbalance could have been avoided had Bush managed his priorities right in his foreign policy (albeit 9/11) and domestic agenda, especially over spending.

I have mixed feelings on this issue. On one hand, Obama has been pro-active by first sending then-Senator Jim Webb a few years ago and now Hillary. Asian countries such as Singapore and Australia have been active in Burma for some time and countries that refuse to engage risk losing out in a market that has hardly been penetrated by outsiders.

On the other hand, I think the late Scoop Jackson, a Democrat neocon that mentored Republican advisors/appointments such as Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams etc in the 70s when many were still Democrats, and the co-drafter of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, would be turning over in his grave. That trade bill in the 70s helped put another nail in the coffin of 'detente' with the USSR by linking human rights with trade. Many of the proponents of Jackson-Vanik in the 70s had prominent positions of power in the Reagan admin in the 80s that helped defeat the "Evil Empire."

By warmly engaging Burma and by considering repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment in 2012 for Russia before it accedes to the WTO, the Obama administration is not putting enough pressure to prevent further backsliding on democratization, human rights and respect for the rule of law.


It's interesting that you mentioned Wolfowitz. Wolfowitz, despite his hawkish democratic ideals, worked with Suharto on economic matters during his time as ambassador to Indonesia. I think this kind of pragmatic working relationship can be applied to Burma under the proper conditions.

Engaging Burma is a huge gamble that can make the Obama administration lose face if any backsliding occurs. Burma's leaders currently needs the US more than at any time in the previous 10 years. Only the US has the power to veto World Bank and IMF assistance, and counterbalance China. History will judge whether Hillary and Obama made the right decision.

I recently read a book by Robert Kaplan called Monsoon. It's an interesting read on power politics in Southeast Asia. Burma's ethnic landscape is so diverse and fractured that any attempts at democracy would require their participation. The ethnic minorities are so different from one another that they could be a country in their own right. Ethnic reconciliation and autonomy issues are a prerequisite for nationwide democracy. The Panglong Agreement of 1947 that Aung Sang Syu Ki's father drafted before he was assassinated might be a good precedent for ethnic reconciliation. The US will need to work with both the Burmese government and ethnic minorities, and perhaps neighbors like Thailand and India, to accomplish true change in Burma.
reztrop
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
 
Posts: 525
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 29 May 2005, 18:10
4 Recommends(s)
2 Recognized(s)



Re: Obama's foreign policy record

Postby bohica » 13 Dec 2011, 14:28

reztrop wrote:Second, Obama is turning American attention toward the Pacific. I am very pleased that Obama is maintaining alliances with its Asian neighbors to keep the PRC in check. Compared to the Bush administration's butt-kissing of the PRC, this is a breath of fresh air.


Oh sure, to keep the PRC in check. I'm not surprised because this is a bit of a deja vu for China here. In the 80's when the cold war was still going on, the US similarly befriended China in an effort to keep the Soviet Union in check. That was a time when the US was selling arms to the PRC(obviously hard to imagine the US doing this now), all in the name of counterbalancing the Soviets. And today US is schmoozing up to every dictator and despot in the region because the US has decided that China, same country with the same party as the one in the 80's, is now the world's new evil empire that has to be "contained", "kept in check", and "counterbalanced."

Please.

Of course the difference is there's isn't a new cold war going on between US and China. None. As hard as US officials and the western media try to manufacture it, it's just not going to happen. It takes two to tango and China isn't interested. I think the sooner the US stop pretending they're in a cold war with China the better it's going to be for everyone. But I doubt it. Afterall the US need a reason to keep defense spendings up. It's not going to help weapons companies and military towns if there aren't as many ships, fighter planes, missiles and bombs being built.
bohica
Shoe-wielding Legislator (huīwǔ xiézi de lìfǎ wěiyuán)
Shoe-wielding Legislator (huīwǔ xiézi de lìfǎ wěiyuán)
 
Posts: 243
Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 17:10
16 Recognized(s)



Re: Obama's foreign policy record

Postby fred smith » 13 Dec 2011, 20:27

Oh sure, to keep the PRC in check. I'm not surprised because this is a bit of a deja vu for China here. In the 80's when the cold war was still going on, the US similarly befriended China in an effort to keep the Soviet Union in check. That was a time when the US was selling arms to the PRC(obviously hard to imagine the US doing this now), all in the name of counterbalancing the Soviets. And today US is schmoozing up to every dictator and despot in the region because the US has decided that China, same country with the same party as the one in the 80's, is now the world's new evil empire that has to be "contained", "kept in check", and "counterbalanced."


The US does not view China as an evil empire that needs to be contained. That said, we have very different views as to how to solve the North Korean issue, I cannot see us selling out Taiwan just to improve relations with China and it is China not the US who is causing all of its neighbors in Southeast Asia to seek US assistance in fending off any overly aggressive China in the South China or West Philippines or East Vietnam or North Malaysian Sea.

Of course the difference is there's isn't a new cold war going on between US and China. None. As hard as US officials and the western media try to manufacture it, it's just not going to happen. It takes two to tango and China isn't interested. I think the sooner the US stop pretending they're in a cold war with China the better it's going to be for everyone. But I doubt it. Afterall the US need a reason to keep defense spendings up. It's not going to help weapons companies and military towns if there aren't as many ships, fighter planes, missiles and bombs being built.


Sorry to be so irritating but given Chinese actions in the region, what makes you think that the US is manufacturing a new Cold War? I would say the US has bent over backwards to engage the Chinese. Would you suggest that the fear from Tokyo to Seoul to Taipei to Hanoi to Singapore is manufactured by the US? Awfully stupid of these countries and their governments to be mere pawns in a US-instigated effort to sell more weapons and keep the defense industrial complex generating profits for evil fat cats who had the Occupy Wall Street movement for shining a bright light on its nefarious doings... Of course, there is the fact that OWS organizers are in fact a Canadian advertising agency but let´s not examine that too closely. NO, let´s not.
Forumosan avatar
fred smith
Guan Yin (Guānyīn)
 
Posts: 17022
Joined: 11 Oct 2002, 17:14
1 Recommends(s)
56 Recognized(s)



Re: Obama's foreign policy record

Postby bohica » 13 Dec 2011, 21:54

fred smith wrote:That said, we have very different views as to how to solve the North Korean issue


Of course, China's position is that these issues should be solved peacefully, whereas the US just want to send their military to force a violent regime change. Glad you realize there's a difference.


Sorry to be so irritating but given Chinese actions in the region, what makes you think that the US is manufacturing a new Cold War?


China isn't doing anything that other countries in the region aren't also doing, and that's staking its claims to those disputed islands and waters. So if those same islands are claimed by everyone in the region, why the hell is China the only one that gets blamed for being "assertive", "aggressive" or whatever. Why is China the only one that gets blamed for staking its claim to those areas that a dozen other countries are also claiming? Ridiculous double standard that's what.

And look no further than the comments right here. When people are saying that China needs to be "contained", "kept in check", and "counterbalanced", doesn't this smack of cold war mentality to you? It sounds exactly like the zero sum, jostling for sphere of influence the US had with the Soviet Union. Of course during the cold war the policy of containment was to prevent the spread of communism to more and more countries, which is obviously not what China is trying to do. Now I don't even know what the US is trying to contain. China's influence? What? did they not want China to develope relations with other countries? If the fact that China is trading, aiding, and investing in other countries more than ever means that China is making "inroads", expanding their "influence", and thus needs to be "contained" or "counterbalanced", then yes, the US is indeed making up a cold war because they clearly think every inroad China makes necessarily comes at a detriment to the US, which is obviously not true.
bohica
Shoe-wielding Legislator (huīwǔ xiézi de lìfǎ wěiyuán)
Shoe-wielding Legislator (huīwǔ xiézi de lìfǎ wěiyuán)
 
Posts: 243
Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 17:10
16 Recognized(s)



FRIENDLY REMINDER
   Please remember that Forumosa is not responsible for the content that appears on the other side of links that Forumosans post on our forums. As a discussion website, we encourage open and frank debate. We have learned that the most effective way to address questionable claims or accusations on Forumosa is by engaging in a sincere and constructive conversation. To make this website work, we must all feel safe in expressing our opinions, this also means backing up any claims with hard facts, including links to other websites.
   Please also remember that one should not believe everything one reads on the Internet, particularly from websites whose content cannot be easily verified or substantiated. Use your common sense and do not hesitate to ask for proof.




Proceed to International Politics



Who is online

Forumosans browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], Google [Bot] and 2 visitors

You can use Google to do math for you. Just type the equation, like 23*7+15/3=, and hit Enter. Oh, yeah: on the computer, * means "times" and / means "divided by."
More tips from David Pogue