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Thread: Has the foreign policy of the US changed significantly..

  1. #1 Has the foreign policy of the US changed significantly.. 
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    since the coming to power of the Obama administration? What does this suggest about the fundamental characteristics of international politics?

    This is the topic for a paper I'm writing in my Global Politics class. I'm not American, so I'd like some American insight.

    I was also wondering if anyone could help with two things.

    First, in my paper, I need to define a 'significant' change, but I have no idea what the measure would be on something abstract like this.

    Second, I'm having difficulty with the second part of the question, and I don't know where to start in defining these 'fundamental characteristics'.

    I really appreciate any direction anyone can give me


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  3. #2  
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    ariellexo; In fairness you must consider the fact Obama has been in office nearing 11 months. American Media would suggest, nothing has changed with regards to foreign Policy, but IMO that policy depends a great deal on Domestic Policy, which is almost reversal to the past.

    Significance, on Foreign Policy, depends more on our Legislative Branch than the Executive. Congress, at least the Senate, under either party is going to hold firm on previous policy, agreement (trade) and treaties, many of which have been around through many Administrations. What ever Ms. Clinton (Sec. of State) or the President himself say, are meaningless rhetoric, without their affirmation. While I see NO significant changes apparent, that domestic policy may force some alterations, probably very soon. For instance in Israel, N. Korea, Russia, Poland, Venezuela, Afghanistan, China and Pakistan the general attitudes have changed direction in what priorities may soon be.

    If this stimulates any questions, please feel free to ask them, but I feel your paper is designed to get your feelings or understandings of Obama policy, not mine...


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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    When you look at it objectively, Obama's policies in foreign affairs are almost identical to Bush's. People just like him and trust him more to do the right thing. Except for stating that he wants Guantanamo closed, he's pretty much picked up the Bush playbook and carried forward with little to no change.

    However, that's just actions. Where the real difference lies is in diplomacy and relationship building. Secretary of State Clinton has made huge strides in that arena, as has Ambassador Rice. We're reaching out to people... Treating them with respect... and acknowledging that we are a global community. That goes a very long way, and is a complete reversal from the "We're America and we'll do whatever the hell we want" attitude to which people grew accustomed under Bush.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Where the real difference lies is in diplomacy and relationship building.
    Bluntly put: US diplomacy collapsed under the former administration. This was not so apparent to Americans, because their government continued to address foreign audiences... but in a way actually meant for American consumption.

    Obama's speeches to the world contain diplomatic concessions few Americans would catch. It's like he's speaking on two levels.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5 Re: Has the foreign policy of the US changed significantly.. 
    Forum Masters Degree samcdkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ariellexo
    since the coming to power of the Obama administration? What does this suggest about the fundamental characteristics of international politics?

    This is the topic for a paper I'm writing in my Global Politics class. I'm not American, so I'd like some American insight.

    I was also wondering if anyone could help with two things.

    First, in my paper, I need to define a 'significant' change, but I have no idea what the measure would be on something abstract like this.

    Second, I'm having difficulty with the second part of the question, and I don't know where to start in defining these 'fundamental characteristics'.

    I really appreciate any direction anyone can give me
    I'm not American and I like to keep up with American politics and opinions about it.

    No, Obama has not made any significant changes in US foreign policy. Besides the misadventure which continues in Afghanistan as he promised, the situation in Iraq continues to broil on the back burner and the situation in Gaza can be exemplified by the latest joint report of 16 humanitarian agencies showing no rebuilding in one year after one of the most devastating attacks by the Israeli occupation. This is the worst its been in decades. His nonspeaking stance on the Goldstone report was another huge failure in credibility.

    Additionally, he is still continuing with the same failed policies that alienated Iran in the 1950s.

    Meanwhile, he failed in Copenhagen, has continued the policies of secret detention [aka rendition], blocked the routes which would have held the last administration responsible for war crimes and been unable to close Gitmo ["honour bound to defend freedom" lol]

    Pretty much old wine in new bottle.
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  7. #6 Re: Has the foreign policy of the US changed significantly.. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by ariellexo
    since the coming to power of the Obama administration? What does this suggest about the fundamental characteristics of international politics?

    This is the topic for a paper I'm writing in my Global Politics class. I'm not American, so I'd like some American insight.

    I was also wondering if anyone could help with two things.

    First, in my paper, I need to define a 'significant' change, but I have no idea what the measure would be on something abstract like this.

    Second, I'm having difficulty with the second part of the question, and I don't know where to start in defining these 'fundamental characteristics'.

    I really appreciate any direction anyone can give me
    The second part implies that your instructor believes the answer to the first part is 'no.'

    In science, for what it is worth, 'significant' is typically considered a 5% difference. You could certainly argue that the Americans have made a 5% change in their foreign policy, if you feel so inclined.

    More properly in global politics, significant might be considered a course that will lead to a different outcome than otherwise. As virtually any decision can be envisioned to alter the flow of history, then it could be argued that (almost) any foreign policy shift is significant.

    Your instructor sounds cynical and/or disappointed in the Obama administration.

    Fundamental characteristics - I would assume these are things like existing alliances, economic considerations, which powers are nuclear vs not nuclear, competition for resources, and so on.
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