Foreign and Security Policy

Jun 22nd, 2015
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All incoming American presidents, as they contemplate the achievement of a successful record in foreign and security policy face, at least in outline terms, a similar array of challenges. They have to deal with problems, structures and policy assumptions inherited from the previous administration.

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Foreign and Security PolicyJohn DumbrellAll incoming American presidents, as they contemplate the achievement of a successful record in foreign and security policy face, at least in outline terms, a similar array of challenges. They have to deal with problems, structures and policy assumptions inherited from the previous administration. They must attempt to establish a purposeful, appropriate and consensual sense of direction for the United States under its new leadership. They must prepare to meet unexpected crises and unforeseen international developments. In the case of Barack Obama, the inheritance from President George B. Bush was extremely problematic. As Obama himself asserted: When I entered into office, we had two wars taking place. So once youre in, what youre trying to do is to impose clarity on the chaos (Woodward 2010: 376). Unanticipated events most obviously the Arab Spring uprisings which began in 2011 certainly put the first term Obama administration on the back foot. However, by the beginning of the second term in 2013, the world had become familiar with a number of concepts including the Russian re-set; the Asian pivot; low-cost or soft power leadership; leading from behind; and the indispensable catalyst which (for good or ill) seemed to underpin a new direction for the United States. The key developments of the first Obama term included: the American exit from Iraq; an expanded fo

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