Freitag, 14. Mai 2010

In the Making Somewhere?

President Obama is well into his first term but his foreign and security policy still leaves observers wondering. We are still waiting for his National Security Strategy, which would not be such a big story would there be no war or an adversary that would challenge the West. But there is and we are in the midst of a major war in Afghanistan. On the other hand: Since he seems to continue much of his predecessors foreign policies a new National Security Strategy would exactly qualify as a big departure from Bush's foreign policy. To me that would be a relief, but I am guessing that most observers would not exactly be pleased to read that change isn't coming just yet. Rambling on for a more than a year, however, has left the administration seemingly without a compass. But there are daunting challenges:

Once the drawdown of troops in Iraq is completed and begins in Afghanistan the question is, how much of a footprint does the US want in the Middle East. Is it going to maintain bases in the Middle East or return to an over the horizon-strategy, as Eugene Gholz and Daryl G. Press argued in the latest issue of The American Interst.

Once the Middle East issue is being tackled, what is the Administration going to envisage as a strategy in Somalia and Yemen. So far, no strategy has been implemented. But in 2011, with independence for South Sudan coming, there is an opportunity for a new approach.

And when it comes to Asia, there is still no strategy at all. Bush did a good job with regard to China and India, will the Obama-administration be able to continue on that path, so far it doesnt't look like it.

On a more fundamental level, the Bush NSS states that increasingly our freedom depends upon the availability of freedom elsewhere. So far, Obama seems to continue this crucial element of the Bush doctrine. A more fundamental turn is rather unlikely to unfold, it would simply contradict what Obama has been doing over the past year.

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