August 31, 2012 |
I've just returned from a gorgeous Maine vacation in time to follow the hoopla of the presidential conventions (from the sublime to the ridiculous?). I'll be writing on Mitt Romney's foreign-policy potential - and President Obama's performance - as the conventions progress. But having read the GOP's foreign-policy platform, with its slashing critique of the president, I can already say this: A Romney foreign policy would likely wind up looking much like Obama's. Despite a call for another "American century" in which we possess the "strongest military and strongest economy," a President Romney would soon confront the realities of today's world.
October 23, 2012 |
BOCA RATON, Fla. - A forceful President Obama accused Republican Mitt Romney on Monday of taking a muddled approach to foreign policy that would only encourage the nation's enemies in a dangerous world. Romney parried by arguing that Obama has failed to address the threats from a Middle East in upheaval, with an Islamist regime in Egypt and a Syria convulsed in civil war, and had "wasted" four years while Iran moved closer to having a nuclear weapon. American needs "strong steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that's all over the map," Obama said.
July 31, 2008 |
American foreign policy has often been described as oscillating between realist and idealist poles. The U.S. presidential election campaign offers an excellent opportunity to subject the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees to a realist-idealist test. Realists see the world through gray and melancholy lenses: humans are selfish and aggressive by nature, and conflict between political entities is inevitable. Diplomacy, backed by military force, can at best moderate state behavior, if favorable balances of power are maintained by coalitions of the privileged and the satisfied.
May 2, 2011 |
"Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the president's actions in Libya as 'leading from behind.' " - Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker To be precise, leading from behind is a style, not a doctrine. Doctrines involve ideas, but since there are no discernible ones that make sense of Obama's foreign policy - Lizza's painstaking two-year chronicle shows it to be as ad hoc, erratic, and confused as it appears - this will have to do. And it surely is an accurate description, from President Obama's shocking passivity during Iran's 2009 Green Revolution to his dithering on Libya, acting at the very last moment, and then handing off to a bickering coalition, yielding the current bloody stalemate.
May 24, 2010 |
It is perfectly obvious that Iran's latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20 percent). Which is why the French foreign ministry immediately declared that the trumpeted temporary shipping of some Iranian uranium to Turkey will do nothing to halt Iran's nuclear program. It will, however, make meaningful sanctions more difficult.
April 16, 1996 |
Watching an old kinescope of the 1960 debates between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, I was reminded of how hard Kennedy attacked on three foreign policy issues. One of them, the so-called missile gap, was a myth. The second, the resoluteness of the Eisenhower administration's stand in defense of the two tiny islands of Quemoy and Matsu, was trivial. The third, the question of the administration's toughness toward Castro, put Nixon in a bind because, as vice president, he couldn't reveal that plans already had been laid for the invasion of the island by Cuban exiles.
October 11, 2011 |
LOS ANGELES - Jon Huntsman Jr., far behind in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, outlined his foreign policy Monday, trying to steer a course less hawkish than the party's leader, Mitt Romney, but still forceful enough to attract Republican support. The former U.S. ambassador to China, Huntsman was also critical of President Obama, his former boss, saying the president's foreign policy lacked leadership. "The world needs American leadership now more than ever.
September 5, 2001 |
Maybe we all expected too much from Colin Powell. When the the charismatic ex-general was appointed Secretary of State, he seemed the perfect choice to shape a foreign-policy vision for a President who lacked one. He was a glamorous diplomat-warrior. He looked just the ticket to tone down the administration's gung-ho Star Wars crowd, with a dose of realism honed by years of military service. He seemed poised to become the great articulator, to explain why America must remain internationalist.
July 30, 1987 |
Surprise! The secretary of state found himself cut out of the loop in important foreign-policy matters. Bureaucrats engaged in infighting and officials waged turf wars. This is like saying wolves hunt or cars collide: certainly true, sometimes deplorable, but hardly unexpected. George Shultz's testimony at the Iran-contra hearing certainly had a real- world flavor, including his earthy choice of language: "guerrilla warfare" among competing factions, a "battle royal" for the President's ear, Ollie North's irregulars getting "taken to the cleaners" in their dealings with the wily Iranians.