Barack obama foreign policy issues

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South Asian foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration
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For purposes of U.S. foreign policy, South Asia consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs as of 12 June 2017 is William E. Todd.

History

Background

The Obama administration's South Asian foreign policy was outlined, in part, in "The Obama Administration's Policy on South Asia" by Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs who wrote "[o]ur goal was and remains to support the development of sovereign, stable, democratic nations, integrated into the world economy and cooperating with one another, the United States, and our partners to advance regional security and stability."[1] The interests of the United States and South Asia have converged. The US and South Asia are at a unique place in time and history for building and cementing strong ties between the South Asian nations and its peoples, and these two blocks are determined to do so. The region is now, and will long remain, at the forefront of America's foreign policy concerns. The United States is committed to help South Asia achieve the bright future that it deserves. The American Chamber of Commerce is an important partner that is helping to strengthen ties between the United States and South Asia. Through counting on the business community for leadership and insight, and South Asia's strong linkages with businesses in the United States and throughout the region, this relationship will deepen and broaden relations. The American Chamber of Commerce in South Asian countries is a vocal proponent of economic and political reform.

Countries

Afghanistan

Main articles: War in Afghanistan (2001present), AfghanistanUnited States relations, and International Security Assistance Force Zardari (right) with president Barack Obama (center) and president Hamid Karzai (left) during a USAfghanPakistan Trilateral meeting

On February 17, 2009, Obama announced that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would be bolstered by 17,000 new troops by the summer.[2] The announcement followed the recommendation of several experts including Defense Secretary Robert Gates that additional troops be deployed to the strife-torn South Asian country.[3][4] The Obama Department of Justice submitted a court filing that there would be no immediate change from Bush-era policy to deny detainees at Bagram Air Force Base access to U.S. courts in order to appeal their detention.[5]

General Stanley A. McChrystal, argued in September and October 2009 that success in Afghanistan "demands a substantial expansion of the American presence," [6] "up to 40,000 more troops." [6] Some foreign policy analysts and political commentators criticized the General for making public statements about political matters [7] while others supported the proposed increase in the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan.[8]

In a speech on 1 December 2009 that he delivered at United States Military Academy at West Point (also known as USMA, West Point) and announcing a long-awaited strategy, Obama said another 30,000 American troops would be deployed quickly in Afghanistan,[9][10] while Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the US Congress that "curbing the Taliban" was "essential for regional security". In a speech to the Senate Armed Services Committee he stressed that the US goal in Afghanistan and Pakistan was "to defeat the al-Qaeda network and to do that, the Taliban must be pushed back". Taliban-ruled areas could in short order become again sanctuaries for al-Qaeda and militant groups fighting in Pakistan.

Obama identified several objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan: (1) disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda; (2) deny al-Qaeda a safe haven; (3) reverse the Taliban's momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the Afghan government; and (4) strengthen the capacity of the Afghan security forces and government to better protect and serve population centers.

To accomplish this, he ordered the deployment of the additional 30,000 troops to the region, which would bring the U.S. total to almost 100,000 troops. This deployment would be staged over the following six months, with the full additional complement intended to be in-country by summer 2010. He expressed his confidence that some of 42 coalition allies would also increase their contributions. NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen stated that he expected NATO allies to contribute at least an additional 5,000 troops in 2010.

The Taliban reacted to the announcement by saying they would step up their fight in Afghanistan. A Taliban commander told the BBC that if more US troops came, more would die.[11]

Bangladesh

Further information: BangladeshUnited States relations See also: BD-US Trade Partnership Agreement Bangladesh Minister of Foreign Affairs Dipu Moni and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department in 2011.

BangladeshU.S. relations under the Barack Obama Administration by most normal indicators, banks on a bright future. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "betting on Bangladesh" when she visited Bangladesh in July 2012.[12] In the last two decades, Bangladesh has made marked progress in the economic arena and in some key areas of development. Bangladesh has become agriculturally self-sufficient; dramatically reduced its birth rate; highly improved literacy rates; delivered basic social services to its people; and empowered women through employment and education. As the fourth most populous Muslim country in the world, Bangladesh's voice of moderation in regional and international fora is widely respected and appreciated. U.S.Bangladesh relations were boosted in March 2000 when U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Bangladesh, the first-ever visit by a sitting U.S. President, then Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit in June 2003, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's visit in June 2004.

Relations between Bangladesh and the United States steadily strengthened by the participation of Bangladesh Armed Forces in the 1991 Gulf War coalition, and alongside U.S. forces in numerous UN peacekeeping operations, including Haiti in 1994, as well as assisting a U.S. Naval task force. Between 2005 and 2008, the United States obligated $5.2 million in grant aid funding (Foreign Military Financing) to purchase Defender class High Speed Motor boats, under water demolition training and diving equipment for the Bangladesh Coast Guard, and allocated $934,000 in IMET (International Military Education and Training) for 2007.

Additionally, Bangladesh has become a valuable United States ally in global efforts to control terrorism. As part of these efforts, the Government of Bangladesh has begun to address problems of money laundering and weak border controls to ensure that Bangladesh does not become a terrorist safe-haven. However, neighboring nation India is consistent in its rogue policies against Bangladesh. Despite porous borders, ungoverned spaces, and poor service delivery, Bangladesh's strong national identity and moderate traditions help it serve as a key player in combating over the border extremism.

The two sides agreed to enhance partnership in UN Peacekeeping, counterterrorism and disaster management. The whole gamut of on-going security cooperation between the two countries in counterterrorism, disaster management, maritime security and peacekeeping operations, and shared commitment to peace, security and prosperity in the region, are consistent.

A press release of the US Embassy in Dhaka said the positive and substantial work on the exchanges and dialogues reflected the depth and strength of the bilateral defense relationship as well as shared commitment to peace and prosperity in the region. Both nations maintain Defense Attache Wings of the host embassy's. In It said: "This Significant Dialogue on Security Issues highlights the robust engagement between the United States and Bangladesh as well as our growing defense relationship." Describing Bangladesh as an important partner of the US in dealing with many traditional and non-traditional security issues, Andrew Shapiro stressed the strategic importance of Bangladesh in the broader U.S. economic and security interest.

Apart from U.S.Bangladesh partnership in the much talked about global war on terror, as are its other South Asian neighbors, a deeper degree of bilateral security cooperation has been ongoing behind closed doors. This dialogue transcended bilateralism and Bangladesh has been officially taken on in a U.S.- South Asian security loop. On March 2, 2012, head of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Robert Willard visited Bangladesh, and later said at a Congressional hearing that U.S. Special Forces teams were currently stationed in this South Asian country for tactical training purposesBangladeshas part of the counter-terrorism cooperation with that nation. "South Asia is home to a confluence of challenges, including nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan. In Bangladesh's case, numerous transnational VEOs such as the Indian Lashkar-e-Toiba, piracy, over the border trafficking in narcotics and persons, disputed borders with India, and Bangladesh border being a sensitive one because of the insurgent movements that have plagued India.[13]

The U.S. understands the potential of Bangladesh as the seventh largest populous (Muslim majority) country in the world; secondly, the U.S. sees the country emerging as the next "Tiger in Asia" provided it remains politically stable; and also the US values Bangladesh for its geo-political importance. Bangladesh is the bridgehead between South and Southeast Asia, with a close border to China and a littoral state of Indian Ocean with two seaports of high potential at Mongla and Chittagong. The U.S. Ambassador in Bangladesh Dan Mozena has been consistently upbeat in his remarks about Bangladesh when he remarked, "Indeed, we have moved a long way ahead since Henry Kissinger's labeling of Bangladesh as a basket case in the early 70s", in resonance with the political and economic situation of the time.[14]

That the United States is attaching increasing importance to her relationship with Bangladesh has been illustrated by a flurry of visits by U.S. dignitaries to Dhaka in the year 2012. They included U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr., Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro. All this was followed by the visit of the highest U.S. defense official, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, between July 13 and 15. Cooperation between the navies of the two countries began with discussions at length. The series of inter-state contacts climaxed with the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signing up to Bangladesh-US Partnership Dialogue Framework. The maiden annual meeting under the framework is likely to be held in September 2012.[15]

Nilanthi Samaranayake, Strategic Studies Analyst at CNA in Alexandria, VA, writing for Asia-Pacific Bulletin (Sept 22, 2011), East-West Center underscored: "The prospects for advancing U.S. security ties with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka deserve serious examination." The reasons for such a shift of emphasis can be ticked off in the following order: While relations with India "may not progress as quickly as desired" and those with Pakistan and Afghanistan are "in tatters," the United States needs to forge deeper strategic relationship with the "marginal states." Such states," according to Doug Lieb in the Harvard International Review, "are often overlooked in a structural realist world view that privileges the study of larger countries." Bangladesh and Sri Lanka being maritime countries exude significant potential for securing Indian Ocean sea lanes in the eyes of China and United States, of course with implications independent of India.

Today Bangladesh exports stand at US$25 billion worth of goods worldwide and is expected to increase rapidly with infrastructure development, political stability and sound governance. At $1.8 billion, the United States is Bangladeshs biggest foreign investor, but new foreign investment is going down, not up. Privatization, export diversification, deregulation, financial sector reform, and major infrastructure investments are essential to reverse the declining foreign investment trends and achieve steady economic growth. The key factor stemming from Bangladesh's international relations

India

Further information: IndiaUnited States relations See also: Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President Barack obama, 2015

India was not one of the countries the new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited on her first multi-nation visit to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China in February 2009. The Foreign Policy magazine reported that even though Foreign Policy Staff of the Bush administration had recommended India as a "key stop" during any such official tour of Asia, Clinton decided not to visit New Delhi.[16]

We want to build a future in which India is indispensable Barack Obama[17]

The exclusion of India from the Asian tour was regarded as a "mistake" by several analysts.[18] Analysts also noted that India was not even mentioned once in the Obama administration's official foreign policy agenda.[19] Tunku Varadarajan an Indian columnist in Forbes magazines, alerted Obama on the need to prevent United States' new-found alliance with India from erosion.[20] In an editorial, The National Interest suggested that the Obama administration could possibly damage "the foundations underlying the geostrategic partnership" between India and the United States.[21] Another editorial published by the Taipei Times highlighted the importance of India-U.S. relations and urged Obama to give "India the attention it deserves".[22] Terming India to be the United States' "indispensable ally", the Christian Science Monitor argued that the Obama administration needs India's cooperation on several issues, including climate change, the war in Afghanistan and energy security; therefore, the editorial said, Obama cannot risk putting ties with India on "back-burner".[23]

CIA Director Leon Panetta visited India to discuss a host of issues including common strategy on dealing with Islamic extremism and the Taliban. This was his first international visit since he assumed office in February 2009.[24] However, there were signs of new coldness in India-U.S. relations. India's National Security Adviser, M.K. Narayanan, criticized the Obama administration for linking the Kashmir dispute to the instability in Pakistan and Afghanistan and said that by doing so, Obama was "barking up the wrong tree".[25] The Foreign Policy too criticized Obama's approach towards South Asia, saying that "India can be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem" and suggested India to take a more proactive role in rebuilding Afghanistan irrespective of the attitude of the Obama administration.[26] In a clear indication of growing rift between India and the U.S., the former decided not to accept a U.S. invitation to attend a conference on Afghanistan.[27] Bloomberg reported that since 2008 Mumbai attacks, the public mood in India has been to pressure Pakistan more aggressively to take actions against the culprits behind the attack. Consequently, the Obama administration may find itself at odds with India's rigid stance against non-state terrorism.[28] The Times of India reported that because of increasing concerns over the possibility of the United States agreeing to a Pakistan-assisted scheme to put some "moderate" elements of Taliban in charge of governing Afghanistan, India was carrying out discussions with Iran and Russia, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to devise a strategy to "roundly defeat" the Taliban.[29]

Ties between India and the United States have soured on the economic front too. India criticized the Obama administration's decision to limit H-1B visas and India's External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, said that his country would argue against U.S. "protectionism" at various international fora.[30] The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a close aide of India's main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that if the United States continues with its anti-outsourcing policies, then India will "have to take steps to hurt American companies in India."[31] India's Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, said that India may move against Obama's outsourcing policies at the World Trade Organization.[32] However, the outsourcing advisory head of KPMG said that India had no reason to worry since Obama's statements were directed against "outsourcing being carried out by manufacturing companies" and not outsourcing of IT-related services.[33]

In March 2009, the Obama administration cleared the US$2.1 billion sale of eight P-8 Poseidons to India, the largest military deal between the two countries.[34] The Obama administration temporarily halted work on General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines which were to be fitted in Indian Navy's Shivalik class frigates.[35] On March 24, 2009, the Indian Navy reported that the U.S. government had ordered GE to resume work on the turbine engines.[36]

Indias growing role in the global economy is accepted the way we accept the law of gravity. And the partnerships that are blooming at all levels of our societies are indeed exciting. Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of State[37]

The White House congratulated India on the successful conclusion of the Indian general election in May 2009.[38] On May 23, 2009, Obama hailed the election as "a testament to the strength of India's democracy".[39] In a press release by the White House, it was announced that Timothy J. Roemer was named the next U.S. Ambassador to India. The nomination of Roemer, a non-proliferation expert, led to mixed reactions from the South Asian experts and community advocates.[40] Roemer has previously stated that, "We also must address the tension between Pakistan and India over Kashmir. For generations, this issue has fueled extremism and served as a central source of friction between two nuclear states. Resolving this dispute would allow them to focus more on sustainable development and less on armed conflict. We need to harness the energy of the international community to resolve security issues in the (South Asia) region."[41]

The first official state dinner of Barack Obama's administration was held in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited the United States on November 24, 2009. This official state visit followed a visit to India by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July.[42]

President Obama became the first US president to be the chief guest of India's Republic Day celebrations of India held on 26 January 2015.[43] India and the US held their first ever bilateral dialogue on the UN and multilateral issues in the spirit of the "Delhi Declaration of Friendship" that strengthens and expands the two countries' relationship as part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.[44]

Pakistan

See also: War in North-West Pakistan Further information: PakistanUnited States relations Clinton with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani during an October 2009 visit to Islamabad.

As a presidential candidate, Obama was noted for his tough stance on Pakistan. "If the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out," Obama asserted at a September 26, 2008, presidential debate with John McCain. The Republican candidate responded, "You dont say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government.[45]

Since Obama took office, U.S. foreign policy toward Pakistan has deviated little from that of the Bush administration, with Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta hailing the former administration's strategy of using unmanned aerial vehicles to strike at al Qaeda and Taliban bases within Pakistan[46] and Obama ordering the expansion of airstrikes to include the organization of Baitullah Mehsud, the militant chief reportedly behind the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto,[47] as priority targets.[48] In response to a ceasefire agreement between Islamabad and the Pakistani Taliban establishing sharia law in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, the Obama administration has adopted a 'wait and watch' policy, with Admiral Mike Mullen stating a continued need for intercommunication and cross-cultural understanding between the U.S. and Pakistan.[49] He also has ordained a common geo-strategical approach towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, a policy known as "AfPak".

Monday 9 February 2009: report by The Guardian said by an American general that "Pakistan, not Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran, is the most urgent foreign policy issue facing Obama", furthermore by Obama aide saying that nation that 'scares' them ; because of the situation that it faces and how it affect U.S. foreign policy.[50]

While Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi praised the Obama administration as "really willing to listen to us" during three-party talks with Afghan and American officials in February concerning the war on terrorism,[51] the Pakistani government also adopted a new proposal asking the U.S. to turn over aerial attack drones to Islamabad to allow the Pakistani Air Force to continue anti-militant airstrikes in the North-West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the Afghan border.[52] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to comment on the request.[53]

On February 27, 2009, Obama gave an interview to Jim Lehrer in which he said, "Obviously, we haven't been thinking regionally, recognizing that Afghanistan is actually an Afghanistan/Pakistan problem."[54]

Later in May, the U.S., in an effort to strengthen trust with Pakistan, said they would start 'sharing drone surveillance data with Pakistan, says Mike Mullen (U.S. general) '[55]

In late October 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan. Her talks with the government there were aimed at getting direct, open discussions going regarding the level of Pakistan's efforts in fighting terrorism, al Qaeda and al Qaeda sanctuaries.[56] Furthermore, in a speech in Pakistan capital Islamabad, she 'vowed'[57] support Pakistan military efforts against the militants and that the U.S. would continue to support Pakistan; she also said 'These extremists are committed to destroying that which is dear to us, as much as they are committed to destroying that which is dear to you, and to all people,... So this is our struggle as well, and we commend the Pakistani military for their courageous fight, and we commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in your fight for peace and security."[58]

On December 1, 2009, President Obama in a speech on a policy about Pakistan said 'In the past, we too often defined our relationship with Pakistan narrowly. Those days are over... The Pakistani people must know America will remain a strong supporter of Pakistans security and prosperity long after the guns have fallen silent, so that the great potential of its people can be unleashed'.[59]

In October, U.S. Congress approves $7.5 billion non-military aid package to Pakistan over the next 5 years. Then later in February 2010 Obama seeks to increase funds to Pakistan; these funds would 'promotes economic and political stability in strategically important regions where the United States has special security interests'.[60] Obama also seeks $3.1 billions aid for Pakistan to defeat Al Qaeda in the 2010 fiscal year.[61]

In February 2010, Anne W. Patterson (U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan) said that United States is committed to partnership with Pakistan and further said, "Making this commitment to Pakistan while the U.S. is still recovering from the effects of the global recession reflects the strength of our vision. Yet we have made this commitment, because we see the success of Pakistan, its economy, its civil society and its democratic institutions as important for ourselves, for this region and for the world."[59]

In mid February, after the capture of Taliban No.2 leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan, the White House 'hails capture of Taliban leader'. Furthermore, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that this is a "big success for our mutual efforts(Pakistan and United States)in the region" and He praised Pakistan for the capture, saying it is a sign of increased cooperation with the U.S. in the terror fight.[62] Furthermore, Capt. John Kirby, spokesman for Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said 'We also strongly support Pakistani efforts to secure the border region, Kirby added, noting that Pakistan has lost soldiers in that effort.' Mullen, (President Barack Obama's senior military adviser) has made strengthening 'U.S. military relationship with Pakistan a top priority'. The U.S. and Pakistan have a robust working relationship that serves the mutual interests of our people,' Kirby said. "We continue to build a long-term partnership that strengthens our common security and prosperity.".[63]

References

^ State.gov (2009-09-09). "The Obama Administration's Policy on South Asia". State Department. Archived from the original on September 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-09..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em} ^ Hodge, Amanda (February 19, 2009). "Obama launches Afghanistan surge". The Australian. Archived from the original on February 19, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009. ^ "Gates: More Troops For Afghanistan". The New York Post. January 27, 2009. ^ "U.S. general urges troop surge in Afghanistan". International Herald Tribune. October 1, 2008. ^ Pickler, Nedra; Apuzzo, Matt (February 21, 2009). "Obama backs Bush: No rights for Bagram prisoners". The News Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved February 23, 2009. ^ a b Baker, Peter; Schmitt, Eric (October 7, 2009). "Afghan War Debate Now Leans to Focus on Al Qaeda". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010. ^ Robinson, Eugene (October 6, 2009). "Out of Line on Afghanistan". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2010. ^ "Motley Crew". Newsweek. October 7, 2009. ^ "Obamas Address on the War in Afghanistan " ^ "Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan" Archived 2009-12-03 at the Wayback Machine ^ Taliban vow to fight US troop surge in Afghanistan ^ "Clinton "bets on Bangladesh" despite turmoil". Chicago Tribune. May 5, 2012. ^ http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=231482 ^ http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=242737 ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/bangladesh/forrel-us.htm ^ A U.S. Asia strategy for Hillary Clinton's trip ^ "India indispensable to a future we want to build: Obama". The Hindu. Chennai, India. November 25, 2009. ^ Mrs. Clinton Goes To China ^ THE AGENDA FOREIGN POLICY Archived 2009-04-29 at the Wayback Machine ^ Obama Should Visit India--Soon ^ "Ignoring India". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2009-09-16. ^ The US and India cant put off a strategic partnership any longer ^ India: America's indispensable ally ^ Report: U.S. CIA chief to be in India to discuss non-state terrorism, Taliban ^ Obama should not link Kashmir with Pak's problems: NSA ^ India needs a lot more love from Obama ^ India not to attend conference on Afghanistan with Pakistan, U.S. ^ Indias Terror Stance Vexes Obama Amid Voter Ire at Pakistan ^ India, Iran, Russia mull ways to take on Taliban ^ India says it will oppose U.S. 'protectionism' ^ Anger Grows in India over U.S. Visa Rules ^ India may contest Obama's move against outsourcing in WTO ^ Obama on outsourcing is no reason to panic ^ U.S. OKs record $2.1 billion arms sale to India ^ US freezes engine supply, Navy in a fix ^ US allows GE to work on Indian warship ^ Remarks at U.S.-India Business Council's 34th Anniversary "Synergies Summit" ^ Obama congratulates India on election ^ AFP: Obama congratulates India's PM Singh ^ Rediff 2009 May 29. http://news.rediff.com/report/2009/may/29/roemer-as-us-envoy-to-india-mixed-reactions.htm ^ Telegraph India ^ "Obama to honor India with his first state dinner". Washington Times. September 30, 2009. ^ "Obama to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations". Thomson Reuters. Reuters. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015. ^ "India, US hold first ever bilateral dialogue on UN, multilateral issues". Firstpost. 2015-02-19. Retrieved 2015-12-30. ^ Azam, Omer (September 27, 2008). "Obama, McCain differ over policy towards Pakistan". Pakistan Times. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. ^ DeYoung, Karen; Joby Warrick (February 26, 2009). "Drone Attacks Inside Pakistan Will Continue, CIA Chief Says". The Washington Post. ^ "Profile: Baitullah Mehsud". BBC News. December 28, 2007. ^ Mark Mazzetti, David E. Sanger (February 20, 2009). "Obama Expands Missile Strikes Inside Pakistan". The New York Times. ^ Jha, Lalit K (February 27, 2009). "Swat agreement: US to adopt a policy of wait and watch". Press Trust of India. ^ Shah, Saeed (February 9, 2009). "Pakistan identified as biggest foreign policy test". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 23, 2010. ^ Tandon, Shaun (March 1, 2009). "Obama team lays out new Afghan-Pakistan approach". AFP. ^ "Pakistan wants drones on table in US-Afghan review". AFP. February 26, 2009. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. ^ Klug, Foster (February 25, 2009). "Pakistan foreign minister pushes US for drones". Associated Press. ^ Silva, Mark (February 27, 2009). "Obama: 'Exit strategy' for Afghanistan too". The Chicago Tribune. ^ "US sharing drone surveillance data with Pakistan, says Mike Mullen". The Daily Telegraph. London. May 14, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2010. ^ "Hillary Clinton urges openness between U.S., Pakistan". CNN. October 30, 2009. ^ [1] ^ [2] ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2011-03-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) ^ "Obama seeks boost in Pakistan aid". Reuters. February 1, 2010. ^ [3] ^ Holland, Steve (February 17, 2010). "White House hails capture of Taliban leader". Reuters. ^ [4]

Further reading

  • Ganguly, Sumit. India's Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect (2012)
  • Jacobson, Gary C. "A Tale of Two Wars: Public Opinion on the U.S. Military Interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq," Presidential Studies Quarterly (Dec 2010) 40#4 pp 585610. Polls (Jan 2009 to spring 2010) show strong bipartisan support for Obama's policies regarding both wars
  • Rashid, Ahmed. Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (2012)
  • Riedel, Bruce O. Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad (2012)
  • Schaffer, Teresita C. India and the United States in the 21st Century: Reinventing Partnership (2010)
  • Schaffer, Teresita C. and Howard B. Schaffer. How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States: Riding the Roller Coaster (2011)
  • Woodward, Bob. Obama's Wars (2011)
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Barack Obama
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Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=South_Asian_foreign_policy_of_the_Barack_Obama_administration&oldid=898938698"
barack obama foreign policy issues
Barack Obama on Foreign Policy
Barack Obama on Foreign Policy OnTheIssuesLogo

Democratic incumbent President; IL Senator (2004-2008)

World order in flux but US still dominates

The big question that we have to answer together is how to keep America safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build everywhere there's a problem. All the talk of America's economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. Let me tell you something. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. We're threatened most by failing states. The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation. Economic headwinds are blowing in from a Chinese economy that is in significant transition. Even as their economy severely contracts, Russia is pouring resources in to prop up Ukraine and Syria - client states that they saw slipping away from their orbit. The international system we built after World War II is now struggling to keep pace with this new reality. Source: 2016 State of the Union address to Congress , Jan 20, 2016

US should learn lessons from Iraq and Vietnam

Instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world -- in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, in parts of Central America, in Africa, and Asia. We can't try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis, even if it's done with the best of intentions. That's not leadership; that's a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. It's the lesson of Vietnam; it's the lesson of Iraq. Source: 2016 State of the Union address to Congress , Jan 20, 2016

Don't let our fears blind us to opportunity

My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how. When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military--then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That's what our enemies want us to do.

I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That's exactly what we're doing right now--and around the globe, it is making a difference.

Source: 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

Make sure both allies and enemies know where we stand

Here's one thing I've learned as commander in chief. You've got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean. Now, it is absolutely true that we cannot just beat these challenges militarily, and so what I've done throughout my presidency and will continue to do, is:Make sure that these countries are supporting our counterterrorism efforts;Make sure that they are standing by our interests in Israel's security, because it is a true friend and our greatest ally in the region.Make sure that we're protecting religious minorities and women because these countries can't develop unless all the population--not just half of it--is developing.Develop their economic capabilities. Recognize that we can't continue to do nation building in these regions. Part of American leadership is making sure that we're doing nation building here at home. That will help us maintain the kind of American leadership that we need. Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Every fact-checker concurs: I didn't apologize to Iran

ROMNEY: Iran looked at this administration and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be. The president, in his campaign some four years ago, said he'd meet with all the world's worst actors. He'd sit down with Ahmadinejad of Iran. And then the president began what I've called an apology tour of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness.

OBAMA: Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign, and every fact-checker and every reporter who's looked at it, Governor, has said this is not true. The strength that we have shown in Iran is shown by the fact that we've been able to mobilize the world. When I came into office, the world was divided. Iran was resurgent. Iran is at its weakest point economically, strategically, militarily, than in many years.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Prepare for global pandemics with global partners

Q: What steps should the US take to protect our population from emerging diseases, global pandemics and/or deliberate biological attacks?

A: Advancements in technology allow Americans to travel internationally with ease, and allow us to welcome individuals from around the world. This fluidity also requires that we, as a nation, are prepared to protect against them. I will continue to work to strengthen our systems of public health so we can stop disease from spreading across our borders. It is also important that should these threats breach our borders, our communities can respond quickly & effectively. Lastly, to help our country prepare to meet these challenges, we have been working with the private sector to assess potential vulnerabilities. I have no doubt that we can counter any threat we face, but we cannot face it alone. We must continue to work with our international partners, remain diligent in seeking out new threats, and prepare to act should a need arise.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Avoid trap of military overstretch; that destroys countries

Obama looked ahead to a time when the US, with all its economic problems, might no longer be able to maintain predominance. He focused on redirecting America's resources and energy toward domestic renewal. His US would manage to work out a new, more modest international role in line with its new circumstances: its still awesome military power but diminishing economic power. The ideas underlying Obama's foreign policy were those of Paul Kennedy's book, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers." Kennedy's great powers became overstretched in their military commitments yet were unable to give them up, and they eventually lost their dominant roles. This was the fate of Spain and the Netherlands in the 18th and 19th centuries and Britain and France in the 20th. Obama sought to avoid the trap into which these countries fell. Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.251 , Jun 14, 2012

America is the one indispensable nation in world affairs

The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. From the coalitions we've built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we've led against hunger and disease; from the blows we've dealt to our enemies; to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.

Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about. That's not the message we get from leaders around the world, all of whom are eager to work with us; where opinions of America are higher than they've been in years. Yes, the world is changing; no, we can't control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs--and as long as I'm President, I intend to keep it that way.

Source: 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

Obama's international stances compared to Ron Paul's

Do Obama and Paul disagree on the Patriot Act? (No; they both oppose it). Who would cut the defense budget more? (Not Obama!). We cite details from Paul's books and speeches, and Obama's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama on International Issues

  • Climate Change
  • Oil Drilling
  • China Trade
  • Illegal alien deportation
  • Guest Workers
  • American Exceptionalism
  • North Korea
  • Iranian Sanctions
  • International Diplomacy
  • Foreign Aid
  • Patriot Act
  • Defense spending
  • Sources of Terrorism
  • Iraq War
  • Torture Policy
Source: Paperback: Obama vs. Paul On The Issues , Jan 1, 2012

OpEd: Claims "poverty causes terrorism" but they're educated

Most suicide bombers are well-educated and have a generally higher socio-economic status. Nevertheless, the Obama administration continues to cling to the "poverty causes terrorism" theory because it supports the social work approach to national security that it favors.

If the Obama administration were to admit that Islamic terrorists are not motivated by poverty but rather by an evil ideology, that would require a paradigm shift in the way it approaches terrorism. They'd have to admit the existence of evil, name the enemy, and acknowledge that military power rather than more anti-poverty programs must be the central means to fight and win.

Our president has made a bad habit of apologizing to foreign audiences for America's supposed transgressions. This groveling needs to end--now. The American president must proudly represent the world's greatest democracy to the world. It is naive to think these apologies gain us respect--they simply convey a dangerous lack of confidence.

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.257-258 , Nov 15, 2010

No balance of power among nations will hold

Obama's worldview is almost exclusively Wilsonian. In his September 2009 address to the UN General Assembly, Obama said:
  • It is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009--more than at any point in human history--the interests of nations and peoples are shared. In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No balance or power among nations will hold.
In 1916, Woodrow Wilson said, "There must be, not a balance of power but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace" resting on "the moral force of the public opinion of the world." Removing the dates in these remarks makes it nearly impossible to differentiate Wilson from Obama. Source: Obama is Endangering our Sovereignty, by John Bolton,p.11-12 , May 18, 2010

OpEd: Life story gives him broad appeal beyond USA

Obama's story and it was predominantly his rhetoric, his manner and his oratory that persuaded people he was the right person for the job. There were other ingredients as well, including his background and the country's mood for change. His life-story gives him a broad appeal beyond the USA. More significantly, it has also provided Obama with a strong sense of self-reliance and self-belief. This life narrative is something that Obama often uses in his speeches, both formally and informally. By opening up about his personal background, engaging and reassuring people, he helps himself connect with his audience. Obama's personal story was memorably invoked at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention, when he first came to national prominence, with the words: "I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible." Source: The 100 Greatest Speeches, by Kourdi & Maier, p.196-197 , Mar 3, 2010

OpEd: American Apology Tour: disliking USA understandable

Pres. Obama is well on his way toward engineering a dramatic shift in American foreign policy. He envisions America as a nation whose purpose is to arbitrate disputes rather than to advocate ideals, a country consciously seeking equidistance between allies and adversaries. Obama has positioned himself as a figure transcending America instead of defending America.

This sentiment manifests itself in several different ways, including Pres. Obama's American Apology Tour. Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined. It is his ways of signaling that foreign dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable. There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; Obama's words are kindling to them. In his first nine months in office, Obama has issued apologies and criticism of America in speeches in France, England, Turkey, and Cairo.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 25 , Mar 2, 2010

I do not accept 2nd place for the USA

From the day I took office, I've been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious; such an effort would be too contentious. I've been told that our political system is too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for a while

For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold?

You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations--they're not standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America.

As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may become, it's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.

Source: 2010 State of the Union Address , Jan 27, 2010

The UN has succeeded in avoiding a Third World War

With the advent of the nuclear age, it became clear to victor and vanquished alike that the world needed institutions to prevent another World War. And so, a quarter century after the US Senate rejected the League of Nations--an idea for which Woodrow Wilson received this Prize--America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide, and restrict the most dangerous weapons.

In many ways, these efforts succeeded. Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.

Source: Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway , Dec 10, 2009

Global Poverty Act: spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid

As the Democratic primaries were winding down in May 2008, Obama quietly steered his Global Poverty Act, known as S. 2433, through the Senate. Obama likes to characterize S. 2433 as requiring "the president to develop and implement a comprehensive policy to cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015 through aid, trade debt relief, and coordination with the international community, businesses and NGOs (non-governmental organizations)." Obama clearly hopes he will be in his second term as president by then, so reduction of global poverty by half can be tracked back to his co-sponsorship of this visionary piece of legislation.

Critics on the right, who were anything but enthusiastic, sarcastically renamed the bill the "Global Poverty Tax." The legislation "would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

Source: Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi, p.250 , Aug 1, 2008

In Cold War, we won hearts & minds; now do same to world

This is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instea they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust--not just from the people of Berlin, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember. Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time? Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law?

People of Berlin--people of the world--this is our moment. This is our time.

Source: Speech in Berlin, in Change We Can Believe In, p.269-70 , Jul 24, 2008

Dangers of intertwined world cant be contained in borders

The 21st century has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers--dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. And if were honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

Source: Speech in Berlin, in Change We Can Believe In, p.264-5 , Jul 24, 2008

OpEd: Policy views based on experience in Kenya & Indonesia

Obama is a descendant of Kenya, and is very aware of the unjust governmental practices inherited from the colonial British. He saw his father's successful career, as a diplomat and finance expert in Kenya, evaporate because his father would not support an unjust dictator.

As a youth Obama moved to Indonesia, another former colony, and watched again as his [stepfather's] career was virtually destroyed because he was at odds with the ruling elite.

Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p. 39 , Jul 1, 2008

Important to undo the damage of the last seven years

The Bush administration has done so much damage to American foreign relations that the president take a more active role in diplomacy than might have been true 20 or 30 years ago. If we think that meeting with the president is a privilege that has to be earned, that reinforces the sense that we stand above the rest of the world at this point in time. Its important for us in undoing the damage that has been done over the last seven years, for the president to be willing to take that extra step. Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Never negotiate out of fear, and never fear to negotiate

As commander-in-chief, all of us would have a responsibility to keep the American people safe. Thats our first responsibility. I would not hesitate to strike against anybody who would do Americans or American interests harm. What I do believe is that we have to describe a new foreign policy that says, for example, I will meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies, because I remember what Kennedy said, that we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. Having that kind of posture is the way we effectively debate the Republicans on this issue. Because if we just play into the same fear-mongering that they have been engaged in since 9/11, then we are playing on their battlefield, but, more importantly, we are not doing whats right in order to rebuild our alliances, repair our relationships around the world, and actually make us more safe in the long term. Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate , Jan 21, 2008

President must abide by international human rights treaties

Q: Under what circumstances, if any, is the president, when operating overseas as commander-in-chief, free to disregard international human rights treaties that the US Senate has ratified?

A: It is illegal and unwise for the President to disregard international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the United States Senate, including and especially the Geneva Conventions. The Commander-in-Chief power does not allow the President to defy those treaties.

Source: Boston Globe questionnaire on Executive Power , Dec 20, 2007

Obama Doctrine: ideology has overridden facts and reality

Q: How will future historians describe your foreign policy doctrine?

A: The Obama Doctrine is not going to be as doctrinaire as the Bush Doctrine because the world is complicated. Bushs ideology has overridden facts and reality. That means that if there are children in the Middle East who cannot read, that is a potential long-term danger to us. If China is polluting, then eventually that is going to reach our shores. We have to work with them cooperatively to solve their problems as well as ours.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate , Dec 13, 2007

No Obama Doctrine; just democracy, security, liberty

Obamas failure to condemn all military action has led to criticism from some on the left. One critic noted: He accepts the Bush Doctrine. He accepts the doctrine of preemptive strikes.

The key part of the Bush Doctrine is the focus on unilateral action and the use of force to spread democracy around the world. And the worst part of the Bush administration is not the Bush Doctrine but Bushs implementation of it.

As Obama famously declared in 2002, he did not oppose all wars, but he did oppose a dumb war. Isolationism must not be the reaction to a dumb president and a dumb war.

There is no Obama Doctrine because Obama is not a doctrinaire kind of leader who operates according to fixed policies. Instead, Obama believes in a set of principle (democracy, security, liberty) for the world and tries to come up with practical measures for incrementally increasing US security and global freedom. He rejects isolationism and he tries to steer clear of unilateralism.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.117-118 , Oct 30, 2007

$50B annually to strengthen weak states at risk of collapse

Barack Obama believes that strengthening weak states at risk of collapse, economic meltdown or public health crises strengthens Americas security. Obama will double U.S. spending on foreign aid to $50 billion a year by 2012.

He will help developing countries invest in sustainable democracies and demand more accountability in return. Obama will establish a $2 billion Global Education Fund to eliminate the global education deficit. He will reduce the debt of developing nations and better coordinate trade and development policies.

Obama also will reestablish U.S. moral leadership by respecting civil liberties; ending torture; restoring habeas corpus; making the U.S. electoral processes fair and transparent and fighting corruption at home.

Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, BarackObama.com Flyers , Aug 26, 2007

No strategic ambiguity on foreign policy issues

Q: [to Clinton]: You said Sen. Obamas views on meeting with foreign dictators are naive and irresponsible.

CLINTON: A president should not telegraph to our adversaries that youre willing to meet with them without preconditions.

OBAMA: Strong countries and strong presidents meet and talk with our adversaries. We shouldnt be afraid to do so. Weve tried the other way. It didnt work.

Q: [to Dodd]: Youve called Sen. Obamas views confusing & confused, dangerous & irresponsible.

DODD: I disagreed with Obama on a hypothetical solution that raised serious issues within Pakistan. I thought it was irresponsible to engage in that kind of a suggestion. Thats dangerous.

OBAMA: We should describe for the American people in presidential debates & in the presidency, what our foreign policy is and what were going to do. We shouldnt have strategic ambiguity with the American people when it comes to describing how were going to deal with our most serious national security issues.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on This Week , Aug 19, 2007

My critics engineered our biggest foreign policy disaster

Q: [to Dodd]: You said that Sen. Obamas assertions about foreign and military affairs have been confusing and confused. You added, He should not be making unwise categorical statements about military options. What in your opinion has been confusing?

DODD: Words mean things. When you raise issues about Pakistan, understand that while General Musharraf is no Thomas Jefferson, but he may be the only thing that stands between us and having an Islamic fundamentalist state in that country.

OBAMA: I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize & engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism. Sen. Dodd obviously didnt read my speech. Because what I said was that we have to refocus, get out of Iraq, make certain that we are helping Pakistan deal with the problem of al Qaeda in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

Meet with enemy leaders; its a disgrace that we have not

Q: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them--which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration--is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when he called them an evil empire. He understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I dont want to be used for propaganda purposes. I dont want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

We cannot afford isolationism

We cannot afford isolationism--not only because our work with respect to stabilizing Iraq is not complete but because our missteps in Iraq have distracted us from the larger threat of terrorism, a threat that we can only meet by working in cooperation with other countries.

We risk a further increase in isolationist sentiment unless both the administration and Congress can restore the American peoples confidence that our foreign policy is driven by facts and reason, rather than hopes and ideology.

Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 74-75 , Mar 27, 2007

Never has US had so much power & so little influence to lead

American leadership has been a mighty force for human progress. The steady march of democracy and free enterprise across the globe speaks to the steadfastness of our leadership and the power of our ideals. Today we face new and frightful challenges, especially the threat of terror. Never has it been more important for American to lead wisely, to shrewdly project power and wield influence on behalf of liberty and security. Unfortunately, I fear our once great influence is waning, a victim of misguided policies and impetuous actions. Never has the US possessed so much power, and never has the US had so little influence to lead.

We still have the chance to correct recent missteps that have put our principles and legacy in question. Indeed, it is imperative to our nations standing and security to do so. It will take a change of attitude and direction in our national leadership to restore the values and judgment that made and kept our nation the worlds beacon of hope and freedom.

Source: Speech to Chicago Council on Foreign Relations , Jul 12, 2004

US policy should promote democracy and human rights

In every region of the globe, our foreign policy should promote traditional American ideals: democracy and human rights; free and fair trade and cultural exchanges; and development of institutions that ensure broad middle classes within market economies.

It is our commonality of interests in the world that can ultimately restore our influence and win back the hearts and minds necessary to defeat terrorism and project American values around the globe. Human aspirations are universal-for dignity, for freedom, for the opportunity to improve the lives of our families.

Let us recognize what unites us across borders and build on the strength of this blessed country. Let us embrace our history and our legacy. Let us not only define our values in words and carry them out in deeds.

Source: Speech to Chicago Council on Foreign Relations , Jul 12, 2004

Double access to electricity in Africa

Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country's future. Across Africa, we're bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we're also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people.

We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.

Source: 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2014

Dressed in Africa in traditional garb, not "Muslim attire"

The infamous photograph of Obama in African garb was originally published by Afrika Online on Sept. 1, 2006. The photo shows Obama dressed as a Somali elder. The photo is authentic; it was taken during Obama's visit to a rural area in northeastern Kenya. There is little doubt Obama wore the Somali elder garb, but we can easily find dozens of photos of U.S. politicians wearing local costume during overseas travel.

On February 4, 2008, the tabloid National Enquirer published the photo in an article that asserted Obama was wearing "Muslim attire" on a trip to Kenya. The Obama campaign decried the National Enquirers sensationalism, arguing that Obama was dressed in traditional tribal garb, not "Muslim attire," much as Pres. Bush might take on traditional native costumes when meeting in foreign countries. The Obama campaign was right: Somalia is almost entirely Sunni Muslim, so in that sense the Somali elder garb would of course be Islamic.

Source: Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi, p. 94 , Aug 1, 2008

Majored in international affairs based on living abroad

Q: Why did you major in international affairs?

A: Well, obviously, having lived overseas and having lived in Hawaii, having a mother who was a specialist in international development, who was one of the early practitioners of microfinancing, and would go to villages in South Asia and Africa and Southeast Asia, helping women buy a loom or a sewing machine or a milk cow, to be able to enter into the economy--it was natural for me, to be interested in international affairs.

The Vietnam War had drawn to a close when I was fairly young. And so, that wasnt formative for me in the way it was, I think, for an earlier generation.

The Cold War, though, still loomed large. And I thought that both my interest in what was then called the Third World and development there, as well as my interest in issues like nuclear proliferation and policy, that I thought that I might end up going into some sort of international work at some point in my life.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series on Zakarias GPS , Jul 13, 2008

Moral obligation to intervene in Darfur to avoid spillover

Q: What about Darfur? Youve called for a UN no-fly zone, but the Chinese and the Russians will probably not go along with it, so itd be a US or NATO no-fly zone.

A: In a situation like Darfur, I think that the world has a self-interest in ensuring that genocide is not taking place on our watch. Not only because of the moral and ethical implications, but also because chaos in Sudan ends up spilling over into Chad. It ends up spilling over into other parts of Africa, can end up being repositories of terrorist activity. Those are all things that weve got to pay attention to. And if we have enough nations that are willing--particularly African nations, and not just Western nations--that are willing to intercede in an effective, coherent way, then I think that we need to act.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series on Zakarias GPS , Jul 13, 2008

Wrote 2006 law stabilizing Congo with $52M

Obama wrote the law signed in 2006 that provided $52 million in US assistance to help stabilize the Congo, and he worked to approve $20 million for the African Union peacekeeping mission. Obama also worked with Sam Brownback (R-Kans.), writing an op-ed in the Washington Post criticizing the Bush administrations failure to stop genocide in Darfur. Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.160 , Oct 30, 2007

Increased aid to Republic of Congo

[Obama had planned his trip to Africa since 2005]. Conversations I had with Obama along the 2004 campaign trail made it abundantly clear that the atrocities of Darfurs civil war were a deep source of concern for him. Also, as a senator, Obama was successful in passing an amendment to a 2006 Iraqi spending bill that increased aid to the Republic of Congo.

The 15-day trip to Africa was organized to include visits to 5 countries, but the bulk of the journey was to be spent in South Africa and then Kenya. After Kenya, Obama had planned brief visits to the Congo, Djibouti and the Darfur region of Sudan, site of the bloody conflict that was killing thousands of Sudanese a month and displacing millions more.

But Kenya, the homeland of his father, was the physical and emotional centerpiece of the trip. Kenyans had adopted him as one of their own, and had made him a living folk hero in the East African nation.

Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.322-323 , Aug 14, 2007

Visited largest slum in Africa, to publicize its plight

[Obamas African trip] would take us to one of the bleakest places on the planet. Kibera is recognized as the largest single slum in all of Africa, and thus in all the world. Over 700,000 impoverished souls are packed into a tract of urban land that is just 2.5 square kilometers. Situated in the southwest quadrant of Nairobi, Kibera was first settled extensively in the 1920s by an ethnic group called Nubians.

Many residents lacked basic services, such as clean running water and plumbing. Sewage and garbage were dumped into the open; dwellings were made of canvas and tin with corrugated roofing; and some children appeared less than fully nourished.

The inhabitants, however, were positively gleeful at Obamas visit. Obama grabbed a bullhorn. Everybody in Kibera needs the same opportunities to go to school, to start businesses, to have enough to eat, to have decent clothes, he told the residents, who madly cheered his words. I wants to make sure everybody in America knows Kibera.

Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.367-369 , Aug 14, 2007

No-fly zone in Darfur; but pay attention more in Africa

Q: Darfur is the second time that our nation has had a chance to do something about genocide in Africa. The first came in Rwanda in 1994, when we did nothing.

RICHARDSON: What I would like to do is, one, a no-fly zone. Get economic sanctions backed by the Europeans; we should use the levers on China. We need to find ways to stop the massive rapes.

OBAMA: The no-fly zone is important. Having the protective force is critical. But we have to look at Africa not just after a crisis happens; what are we doing with respect to trade opportunities with Africa? What are we doing in terms of investment in Africa? What are we doing to pay attention to Africa consistently with respect to our foreign policy? That has been whats missing in the White House. Our long-term security is going to depend on whether were giving children in Sudan and Zimbabwe and in Kenya the same opportunities so that they have a stake in order as opposed to violence and chaos.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University , Jun 28, 2007

U.S. funds for humanitarian aid to Darfur

The United States should raise the needed funds to ensure that the civilians in Sudan receive life saving humanitarian assistance. We should lead in contributing the lions share of these funds so that we can convince others to give their fair share as well--the United States should support the immediate deployment of an effective international force to disarm militias, protect civilians, and facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance in Darfur. Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 26 , Mar 27, 2007

Protested South African apartheid while at college

[While at college in the 80s] Obama became involved in the movement to demand that colleges divest themselves of financial interests that helped support apartheid in South Africa.

At a rally, Obama rose to speak in public for the first time: There is a struggle going on. It is happening an ocean away. But it is a struggle that touches each and every one of us... a struggle that demands we choose sides. Not between black & white. Not between rich & poor. No, it is a choice between dignity & servitude. Between fairness & injustice. Between commitment & indifference. A choice between right & wrong.

By prearrangement, he was dragged off by students dressed as soldiers to dramatize the lack of rights in South Africa. He did not want to give up the microphone. The audience was clapping and cheering, and I knew that I had them, that the connection had been made. I really wanted to stay up there, to hear my voice bouncing off the crowd and returning back to me in applause. I had so much left to say.

Source: Hopes and Dreams, by Steve Dougherty, p. 58-59 , Feb 15, 2007

Focus on corruption to improve African development

During Obamas trip to Kenya, at an Aug. 28 2006 speech in Nairobi, he stung some Kenyan officials enough that they sent Obama a scathing official complaint, because Obama pointedly encouraged Kenyan officials to do more to fight corruption:
Like many nations across this continent, where Kenya is failing is in its ability to create a government that is transparent and accountable One that serves its people and is free from corruption. The reason I speak of the freedom you fought so hard to win is because today that freedom is in jeopardy. It is being threatened by corruption.

Corruption is not a new problem. Its not just a Kenyan problem, or an African problem. Its a human problem, and it has existed in some form in almost every society. My own city of Chicago has been the home of some of the most corrupt local politics in American history. But while corruption is a problem we all share, here in Kenya it is a crisis thats robbing an honest people of opportunities.

Source: Should Barack Obama Be President?, by Fred Zimmerman, p.29 , Oct 17, 2006

Visited Africa in 2006; encouraged HIV testing & research

Pros and Cons: Obama visited African in 2006 and went to South Africa, Chad, and Kenya.

Pro: He is a mensch. Here on a few things he did on his summer vacation:

  • Attended a ceremony for the 200 people who died in the 1988 bombing of the US Embassy.
  • Encouraged the South African government to respond more effectively to HIV.
  • Urged Kenyas government to end corruption.
  • Along with his wife, took a public HIV test.
  • Visited a malaria research institute.
  • Visited a program helping children orphaned by AIDS.
  • Visited his grandmother.

Con: Who cares? It is Africa. If we are going to go with a President from a non-European background, lets go with one whose relatives are from a country whose friendship will help us, like China or India.

Pro: Kenyans love him.

Con: Who cares? Its Kenya.

Source: Should Barack Obama be President, by F. Zimmerman, p. 27-28 , Oct 17, 2006

The Cold War is over; lift 50-year embargo on Cuba

Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, it set us back in Latin America. That's why we restored diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people. So, if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo.

American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world, except when we kill terrorists; or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling. Leadership means a wise application of military power, and rallying the world behind causes that are right. It means seeing our foreign assistance as part of our national security, not something separate, not charity.

Source: 2016 State of the Union address , Jan 12, 2016

Cuba: When something doesn't work for 50 years, change it

In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new. Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. Source: 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

Focus on BRICs: Brazil, Russia, India, China, & South Africa

Early on, the Obama administration seemed to embrace a new concept: Its diplomacy would emphasize 4 emerging economic powers called the BRICs, or Brazil, Russia, India & China. (Later on, South Africa was sometimes added as a 5th country, conveniently taking up the letter S.) The idea originally came from Wall Street: In 2001, a Goldman-Sachs economist invented the concept of the BRICs to describe the 4 emerging economies that he believed would play an increasingly important role in the world markets. By 2009, the term had become an addition to the jargon of foreign policy, and the Obama team began to talk about the importance of the BRICs in their speeches. In her first major speech as secretary of state, Clinton said that the Obama administration, while reinvigorating its traditional alliances, "will also put special emphasis on encouraging major emerging global powers--China, India, Russia & Brazil, as well as Turkey, Indonesia & South Africa--to be full partners in tackling the global agenda." Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.174 , Jun 14, 2012

Cuba should reduce surcharge on remittances from US

The president said that Cuba could reduce the surcharge imposed on remittances, which would match the new US government remittances from Cuban-American families. He explained Cuba applies a very high surcharge from which it is exacting significant profits. He added that this would be an example of cooperation where both governments would be working to help Cuban families and improve living standards in Cuba.

The assertion that Cuba imposes a very high surcharge and obtains significant profits [from remittances] is an attempt by the president's advisors to cause trouble and sow division among Cubans. Every country charges a certain amount for all hard currency transfers. If these are in dollars, all the more reason we have to do it, because that is the currency of the country that blockades us. Not all Cubans have relatives abroad who can send them remittances. Redistributing a relatively small part of this to benefit those more in need of food, medicines and other goods is absolutely fair.

Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 60-1 , Apr 21, 2009

OpEd: Maintaining Guantanamo base violates international law

After taking office, Barack Obama said the decision to return to its legitimate owner of the territory occupied by the Guantanamo naval base required weighing up the extent to which the defensive capacity of the US would or would not be affected.

Soon afterwards he added, with regard to the return to Cuba of the occupied territory, that he would first consider what concessions to demand from Cuba to return. This would amount to demanding a change of its political system, a price Cuba has been resisting for half a century.

To keep a military base in Cuba against the will of our people is a violation of the most elemental principles of international law. The US president has the ability to abide by that law without exacting any concession whatsoever. Non-compliance would be an act of arrogance and an abuse of his immense power against a small country.

Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 18 , Jan 29, 2009

Maintain Cuban embargo, but allow Americans to send money

The speech Obama delivered on May 23 at the Cuban American National Foundation created by Ronald Reagan:

"Throughout my entire life, there has been injustice in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of 2 generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy. This is the terrible and tragic status quo that we have known for half a century--of elections that are anything but free or fair... I won't stand for this injustice, you won't stand for this injustice, and together we will stand up for freedom in Cuba," he told the annexationists, adding: "It's time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent on the Castro regime... I will maintain the embargo."

Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 1 , May 25, 2008

Meet with Cuban leaders only with agenda of US interests

Q: [to Clinton]: Would you meet with Raul Castro or not?

CLINTON: I would not meet with him until there was evidence that change was happening.

Q: [to Obama]: Presumably you would be willing to meet?

A: Thats correct. Now, keep in mind that the starting point for our policy in Cuba should be the liberty of the Cuban people. And I think we recognize that that liberty has not existed throughout the Castro regime. And we now have an opportunity to potentially change the relationship between the US & Cuba after over half a century. I would meet without preconditions, although Sen. Clinton is right that there has to be preparation. It is very important for us to make sure that there was an agenda [including] human rights, releasing of political prisoners, opening up the press. And that preparation might take some time. But I do think that its important for the US not just to talk to its friends, but also to talk to its enemies. In fact, thats where diplomacy makes the biggest difference.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Cuba: Loosen restrictions now; normalization later

Q: Do you support normalizing relations with Cuba now?

A: As a show of good faith that were interested in pursuing a new relationship, Ive called for a loosening of the restrictions on remittances from family members to Cuba, as well as travel restrictions for family members who want to visit their family members in Cuba. And I think that initiating that change in policy as a start could be useful, but I would not normalize relations until we started seeing some progress.

Q: But thats different from your position back in 2003, when you called US policy toward Cuba a miserable failure.

A: I support the eventual normalization. And its absolutely true that I think our policy has been a failure. During my entire lifetime, Cuba has been isolated, but has not made progress when it comes to the issues of political rights and personal freedoms. So I think that we have to shift policy. I think our goal has to be ultimately normalization. But thats going to happen in steps.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Willing to meet with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il & Hugo Chavez

Q: In July, you were asked if you were willing to meet separately without pre-condition during your first year with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il, Hugo Chavez. You said yes. You stand by that?

A: I do. Now, I did not say that I would be meeting with all of them. I said Id be willing to. Obviously, there is a difference between pre-conditions and preparation. Pre-conditions, which was what the question was in that debate, means that we wont meet with people unless theyve already agreed to the very things that we expect to be meeting with them about. And obviously, when we say to Iran, We wont meet with you until youve agreed to all the terms that weve laid out, from their perspective thats not a negotiation, thats not a meeting.

Q: Youre not afraid of being used in a propaganda way?

A: You know, strong countries and strong presidents speak with their adversaries. I always think back to JFKs saying that we should never negotiate out of fear, but we shouldnt fear to negotiate.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 Meet the Candidates series , Nov 11, 2007

Invest in our relationship with Mexico

Making sure that we are investing in our relationship with Mexico so that people in Mexico feel as if they can raise a family and have a good life on the other side of the border is going to be critical; making certain that we have strong border security is important; a pathway to citizenship is something that Ive been committed to since I came to the US Senate. Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish , Sep 9, 2007

2009: Chose Japan PM as first visitor to emphasize alliance

Japan was still one of the largest economies in the world and a key partner in responding to the global financial crisis. I chose Tokyo as my first destination to underscore that our new administration saw the alliance as a cornerstone of our strategy in the region. President Obama would also welcome Prime Minister Taro Aso to Washington later that month, the first foreign leader to meet with him in the Oval Office. Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p. 47-8 , Jun 10, 2014

Support stable transition to democracy in Burma & elsewhere

America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon--when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American President into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags.

In defense of freedom, we will remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy. The process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt; but we can--and will--insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We will keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. These are the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month.

Source: 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Pivot to East Asia; America is a Pacific power

ROMNEY: We can be a partner with China. Now, they look at us and say, is it a good idea to be with America? How strong are we going to be? How strong is our economy? They look at the fact that we owe them $1 trillion and owe other people $16 trillion. They look at our decision to cut back on our military capabilities--a trillion dollars. They look at America's commitments around the world and they see what's happening and they say, well, OK, is America going to be strong? And the answer is yes. If I'm president, America will be very strong.

OBAMA: When it comes to our military and Chinese security, part of the reason that we were able to pivot to the Asia-Pacific region after having ended the war in Iraq and transitioning out of Afghanistan, is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future. And we believe China can be a partner, but we're also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power, that we are going to have a presence there.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

We pushed China hard to raise currency exchange by 11%

ROMNEY: On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator.

OBAMA: As far as currency manipulation, [China's] currency has actually gone up 11 percent since I've been president because we have pushed them hard. And we've put unprecedented trade pressure on China. That's why exports have significantly increased under my presidency. That's going to help to create jobs here.

Q: Apple iPhones are all manufactured in China. How do you convince Apple to bring that manufacturing back here?

ROMNEY: The answer is very straightforward. We can compete with anyone in the world as long as the playing field is level. China's been cheating over the years. One by holding down the value of their currency. Number two, by stealing our intellectual property; our designs, our patents, our technology. There's even an Apple store in China that's a counterfeit Apple store, selling counterfeit goods. They hack into our computers. We will have to have people play on a fair basis.

Source: Second Obama-Romney 2012 debate , Oct 16, 2012

OpEd: North Korean behavior under Bush same as under Obama

Recent history with North Korea was a pretty effective guide to how they would behave. They signed the Agreed Framework in 1994 during the Clinton administration and immediately began violating its terms, demanding payment and looking for ways to use the negotiations to blackmail the United States.

They behaved the same way with us and have brought out all their threats and demands again for the Obama administration. They have learned now, through Republican and Democratic administrations, that this is an effective way to operate. It yields concessions from the West while they continue to develop nuclear weapons. I hope a future president and secretary of state will break the cycle. This is particularly important because in the area of nonproliferation, as in so much else, the United States must lead. If we do not hold the line, few others will.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.493 , Aug 30, 2011

2007: Pledged to meet with leaders of Iran & North Korea

In a June 2007 debate in South Carolina she again drew a sharp contrast with Obama when he unexpectedly pledged that, as president, he would willingly meet with the leaders of such rogue nations as Iran and North Korea without preconditions during his first term in office. "Well, I will not promise to meet with the leasers of these countries during my first year." Clinton interjected. "I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don't want to make a situation even worse."

This looked like another Obama gaffe. The following day, her campaign recruited former secretary of state Madeleine Albright to lead the attack against Obama. During a telephone interview, she launched a personal attack on Obama, [saying], "I thought he was irresponsible and frankly naive."

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p. 83-84 , Aug 4, 2009

2007: Raids into Pakistan to kill high-value terrorists

On August 8, 2007 in Chicago, the day after the fifth debate, hosted by the AFL-CIO, Obama had come under fire for his foreign policy statements over the last three weeks, beginning with the CNN-YouTube debate in South Carolina. In a speech, he had made an implied threat to mount cross-border raids into Pakistan by U.S. soldiers if actionable intelligence showed there was a chance to capture or kill "High-value terrorist targets." He stumbled over considering nuclear weapons to fight terrorism there. In Chicago, his opponents were instantly on the attack. Chris Dodd called Obama "highly irresponsible." Clinton said it was "a very big mistake to telegraph that and destabilize" the Pakistani government.

Obama fired back, but clearly he and his campaign had been put on the defensive. The exchanges bolstered the continuing story line. He wasn't seasoned enough to be president.

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p. 89 , Aug 4, 2009

We must be tough with Pakistan & stop coddling Musharraf

McCAIN: Im not prepared to threaten Pakistan, as Sen. Obama wants to do, as he has said that he would announce military strikes into Pakistan.

OBAMA: If the US has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out. I think thats the right strategy; I think thats the right policy. This is not an easy situation. Youve got cross-border attacks against US troops. Weve got a choice. We could allow our troops to be on the defensive and absorb those blows again and again, if Pakistan is unwilling to cooperate, or we start making some decisions. And the problem with the strategy thats been pursued was that, for 10 years, we coddled Musharraf, we alienated the Pakistani population, because we were anti-democratic. We had a 20th-century mindset that basically said, Well, you know, he may be a dictator, but hes our dictator. As a consequence, we lost legitimacy in Pakistan. Thats going to change when Im president.

Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain , Sep 26, 2008

Must be tough on Iran, but talk to them too

Q: How big a threat is Iran to the US?

A: Ironically, the single thing that has strengthened Iran over the last several years has been the war in Iraq. What weve seen over the last several years is Irans influence grow. They have funded Hezbollah, they have funded Hamas, they have gone from zero centrifuges to 4,000 centrifuges to develop a nuclear weapon.

So our policy over the last eight years has not worked. We cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. Not only would it threaten Israel, a country that is our stalwart ally, but it would also set off an arms race in the Middle East.

We are going to have to engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain, this notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked. It has not worked in Iran, it has not worked in North Korea. In each instance, our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated their efforts to get nuclear weapons.

Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain , Sep 26, 2008

Learned privilege of being American by living in Indonesia

Q: What is your first memory of a foreign policy event that shaped your life?

A: Well, it wasnt so much an event--my first memory was my mother coming to me and saying, Ive remarried this man from Indonesia, and were moving to Jakarta on the other side of the world. And thats my first memory of understanding how big the world was. This was only a year after an enormous coup. But it was for me, as a young boy, a magical place. And I think that probably is when it first enters into my consciousnes that this is a big world. There are a lot of countries, a lot of cultures. Its a complicated place.

Q: But you were an American in Indonesia. How did that make you feel?

A: Well, it made me realize what an enormous privilege it is to be an American. [Not just] the gap in the wealth. It was also becoming aware that the generals in Indonesia were living in lavish mansions, and the sense that government wasnt always working for the people, but was working for insiders.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series on Zakarias GPS , Jul 13, 2008

China is a competitor but not an enemy

Q: Given Chinas size, its muscular manufacturing capabilities, its military buildup, at this point--and also including its large trade deficit--at this point, who has more leverage, China or the U.S.?

A: Number one is weve got to get our own fiscal house in order. Number two, when I was visiting Africa, I was told by a group of businessmen that the presence of China is only exceeded by the absence of America in the entire African continent. Number three, we have to be tougher negotiators with China. They are not enemies, but they are competitors of ours. Right now the United States is still the dominant superpower in the world. But the next president cant be thinking about today; he or she also has to be thinking about 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 50 years from now.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate , Dec 13, 2007

U.S. needs to ameliorate trade relations with China

The U.S. should be firm on issues that divide us like Taiwan while flexible on issues that could unite us. We should insist on labor standards and human rights, the opening of Chinese markets fully to American goods, and the fulfillment of legal contracts with American businesses but without triggering a trade war as prolonged instability in the Chinese economy could have global economic consequences. Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 22 , Mar 27, 2007

Russia is in tatters because of our steady resolve

We're upholding the principle that bigger nations can't bully the small--by opposing Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine's democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies. Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin's aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters. Source: 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

Deal with Russia: no new missile defense in Eastern Europe

Within weeks of being sworn in as president of the United States, Obama sent a top official to Moscow to hand deliver a secret letter to Russia's then-President Dmitry Medvedev. The secret letter said that Obama "would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would stop Iran from developing long-range weapons."

Not surprisingly, Putin was ecstatic: "The latest decision by President Obama has positive implications," said Putin. "I very much hope that this very right and brave decision will be followed by others."

The Obama administration made the decision to throw our friends Poland and the Czech Republic under the bus and leave them naked to missile attacks "despite having no public guarantees" that Moscow would help crack down on Iran's missile programs.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 94-95 , Dec 5, 2011

Weve been reactive for 8 years; be proactive with Russia

Part of the job of the next commander-in-chief, in keeping all of you safe, is making sure that we can see some of the 21st Century challenges and anticipate them before they happen.

We havent been doing enough of that. We tend to be reactive. Thats what weve been doing over the last eight years. Thats part of what happened in Afghanistan, where we rushed into Iraq and Sen. McCain and President Bush suggested that it wasnt that important to catch bin Laden right now and that we could muddle through, and that has cost us dearly.

Weve got to be much more strategic if were going to be able to deal with all of the challenges that we face out there.

Regarding Russia: Energy is going to be key in dealing with Russia. If we can reduce our energy consumption, that reduces the amount of petro dollars that they have to make mischief around the world. That will strengthen us and weaken them when it comes to issues like Georgia.

Source: 2008 second presidential debate against John McCain , Oct 7, 2008

Recent Russian actions in Georgia are unacceptable

Q: How do you see the US relationship with Russia?

A: Our entire Russian approach has to be evaluated, because an aggressive Russia is a threat to the stability of the region. Their actions in Georgia were unacceptable. It is critical for the next president to follow through on our six-point cease-fire. It is important that we explain to the Russians that you cannot be a 21st-century superpower and act like a 20th-century dictatorship.

We also have to affirm the fledgling democracies in that region--the Estonians, the Lithuanians, the Poles, the Czechs. They are members of NATO. To countries like Georgia & Ukraine, we have to say they are free to join NATO if they meet the requirements.

We also cant return to a Cold War posture with respect to Russia. Its important that we recognize there are going to be some areas of common interest. One is nuclear proliferation. This is an area where Ive led in the Senate, working to deal with the proliferation of loose nuclear weapons.

Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain , Sep 26, 2008

In Berlin: proud citizen of US; fellow citizen of the world

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I dont look like the Americans whove previously spoken in this great city. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

People of the world--look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

People of the world--look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Source: Speech in Berlin, in Change We Can Believe In, p.262-3 , Jul 24, 2008

Cooperation among nations is not a choice; its the only way

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europes role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth--that Europeans today are bearing new burdens; and that America still sacrifices greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more--not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

Source: Speech in Berlin, in Change We Can Believe In, p.265 , Jul 24, 2008

Chairs European subcommittee; could hold Afghanistan hearing

Q: If you believe Afghanistan is the central front in the war on terror, why didnt you hold a single hearing as chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the fighting force there?

A: Actually, the subcommittee that I chair is the European subcommittee. And any issues related to Afghanistan were always dealt with in the full committee, precisely because its so important. Thats not a matter that you would deal with in a subcommittee setting.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric , Jul 22, 2008

Engage Russia regarding nuclear proliferation

Q: John McCain has talked about a new G-8 which would expel Russia.

A: It would be a mistake. Look, if were going to do something about nuclear proliferation--just to take one issue--weve got to have Russia involved. The amount of loose nuclear material thats floating around in the former Soviet Union, the amount of technical know-how that is in countries that used to be behind the Iron Curtain--without Russias cooperation, our efforts on that front will be greatly weakened.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series on Zakarias GPS , Jul 13, 2008

Strengthen NATO to face 21st-century threats

Barack Obama will restore Americas leadership abroad, reform and enhance international organizations and strengthen our alliances. He will strengthen NATO to face 21st-century threats, forge a new and lasting framework for collective security in Asia, and work with other countries around the world to combat global climate change. Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, BarackObama.com Flyers , Aug 26, 2007

Negotiations with Iran don't rely on trust

American diplomacy, backed by pressure, has halted the progress of Iran's nuclear program--and rolled parts of that program back--for the very first time in a decade. Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. And with our allies and partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

These negotiations will be difficult. We are clear-eyed about Iran's support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away. But these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If JFK and Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

Source: 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2014

Libyans marching FOR America means we've been successful

Q: Your opinion on the Benghazi attack?

ROMNEY: With the Arab Spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation. But instead we've seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events.

OBAMA: With respect to Libya, [I said that] we would go after those who killed Americans, and we would bring them to justice. But I think it's important to step back and think about what happened in Libya. Now, keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to--without putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq--liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years, got rid of a despot who had killed Americans. And as a consequence, you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying, "America's our friend. We stand with them." Now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

I stand by "time for Mubarak to go" in Egyptian Revolution

Q: During the Egyptian turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for President Mubarak to go. Some in your administration thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. Do you have any regrets about that?

OBAMA: No, I don't because I think that America has to stand with democracy. But now that you have a democratically elected government in Egypt, they have to make sure that they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities--and we have put significant pressure on them to make sure they're doing that--to recognize the rights of women, which is critical throughout the region. These countries can't develop if young women are not given the kind of education that they need. They have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us.

Q: [to Romney]: Would you have stuck with Mubarak?

ROMNEY: No, I supported the president's action there. I wish we'd have had a better vision of the future.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Partner with Arab Spring countries to work toward democracy

[After the riots attacking American embassies], there is a larger issue, and that is what's going to be happening in the Arab Spring as these countries transition from dictatorship to democracy. And we cannot replace the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of a mob. And so my message to the Presidents of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and these other countries is, we want to be a partner with you, we will work with you, and we stand on the side of democracy, but democracy is not just an election; it's also, are you looking out for minority rights, are you respecting freedom of speech, are you treating women fairly.

All these issues are ones that the region is going to wrestle with. The one thing we can't do is withdraw from the region, because the US continues to be the one indispensable nation. And even countries where the US is criticized, they still want our leadership. And so we're going to continue to work in these regions.

Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News) , Sep 19, 2012

Engage with Iran; but combat Al Qaeda in Pakistan

One important influence upon the new administration's thinking was Lee Hamilton. Hamilton had served as a back-channel adviser to the Obama presidential campaign, both through his former aides and in private talks with Obama himself. The Obama aides who had previously worked for Hamilton felt the men shared a common worldview, a general sense of the limits of American power. Hamilton had long been a proponent of a policy of engagement with Iran. Separately, however, he had also favored intensive US military strikes into Pakistan to combat al-Qaeda. Both of these positions became key points on which Obama, as a candidate, had sought to differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton. After Obama was elected president, these ideas on Iran and Pakistan eventually became among the most prominent and distinctive aspects of the new administration's foreign policy. Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.150 , Jun 14, 2012

$1.8B per year for mega-embassy in Iraq; same in Afghanistan

The immense city-within-a-city "embassy" in Baghdad not only remains, but its cost is also to rise under Obama to $1.8 billion a year, from an estimated $1.5 billion in Bush's last year. The Obama administration is also constructing mega-embassies in Pakistan and Afghanistan that are completely without precedent. Throughout the Gulf region, billions are spent to develop "critical base & port facilities," along with military training & arms shipments expanding the US global system of militarization. Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p. 63 , Jun 1, 2010

Hamas election void until they renounce violence

Obama repeated the familiar reasons for ignoring the elected government led by Hamas: "To be a genuine party to peace," Obama declared, "the Quartet [US, EU, Russia, UN) has made it clear that Hamas must meet clear conditions: recognize Israel's right to exist; renounce violence; and abide by past agreements."

Also near-universal are the standard references to Hamas: a terrorist organization, dedicated to the destruction of Israel (or maybe all Jews). Hamas has called for a 2-state settlement in the terms of international consensus: publicly and repeatedly. Israel and the US object that the Hamas proposals do not go far enough. Perhaps so, but they surely go much farther toward the international consensus than the firm and unwavering US-Israeli rejectionist stance, reiterated obliquely by Obama in his State Department talk.

Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p.254-255 , Jun 1, 2010

Iran is more isolated and will face growing consequences

Diplomatic efforts have strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. That's why North Korea now faces increased isolation, and stronger sanctions--sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. That's why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations: They, too, will face growing consequences. Source: 2010 State of the Union Address , Jan 27, 2010

Fundamental commitment to strong US-Israel relationship

Jesse Jackson, speaking before a World Policy Forum in France, suggested that an Obama presidency would put an end to excessive "Zionist" influence in American foreign policy. In a subsequent "clarification," Jackson repudiated the column and confirmed that he "has never had a conversation with Sen. Obama about Israel or the Middle East."

Obama's camp was again forces to issue a strong denial: "Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is not an adviser to the Obama campaign and is therefore in no position to interpret or share Barack Obama's views on Israel and foreign policy. As he has made clear throughout his career and throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has a fundamental commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and he is advised by people like Dennis Ross, Daniel Kurtzer, Rep. Robert Wexler, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Senator Joe Biden who share that commitment."

Source: What Obama Means, by Jabari Asim, p.200-202 , Jan 20, 2009

Kissinger agrees with me on meeting with enemy leaders

McCAIN: Throughout history, whether it be Ronald Reagan, who wouldnt sit down with Brezhnev, Andropov or Chernenko until Gorbachev was ready with glasnost and perestroika, or whether it be Nixons trip to China, which was preceded by Henry Kissinger, many times before he went. Ill sit down with anybody, but theres got to be pre-conditions.

OBAMA: Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, whos one of his advisers, who, along with five recent secretaries of state, just said that we should meet with Iran--guess what--without precondition. This is one of your own advisers.

McCAIN: My friend, Dr. Kissinger, whos been my friend for 35 years, would be interested to hear this conversation and Senator Obamas depiction of his -- of his positions on the issue. Ive known him for 35 years. And I guarantee you he would not -- he would not say that presidential top level.

OBAMA: Nobodys talking about that.

Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain , Sep 26, 2008

FactCheck: Kissinger opposes presidential meetings with Iran

McCain attacked Obama for his declaration that he would meet with leaders of Iran and other hostile nations without preconditions. To do so with Iran, McCain said, isnt just naive; its dangerous. Obama countered by saying former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger--a McCain adviser--agreed with him.

So whos right? Kissinger did in fact say a few days earlier at a forum of former secretaries of state that he favors very high-level talks with Iran--without conditions. On Sept. 20 Kissinger said, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level... I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations.

After the McCain-Obama debate, however, Kissinger issued a statement saying he doesnt favor a presidential meeting, saying, I would not recommend the next President engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first Presidential debate , Sep 26, 2008

My record on Israel is same as McCains

Q: Youre heading to Israel next?

A: Yes.

Q: According to a recent poll out of Jerusalem, Israeli Jews favor John McCain for President 43% to 20%. Why do you think thats the case?

A: Well, Im not as well known as John McCain. I think thats obviously a factor. And, you know, I think, understandably, Israelis are very interested in making sure that whoever takes the White House is absolutely committed to their security, regardless of other issues. And they know John McCain. Hes been there. Despite the fact that my record is as strong as John McCains on all the issues related to Israeli security, people just dont know me as well. Thats part of the reason why were gonna spend a day visiting there in discussions and hopefully give people confidence that I have a track record that will assure not only the people of Israel, but friends of Israel back home, that, in fact, Israels security is paramount.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric , Jul 22, 2008

Appropriate for Israel to take out Syrian nuclear reactor

Q: How likely do you think a preemptive military strike by Israel against Iran may be?

A: I will not hypothesize on that. I think Israel has a right to defend itself. But I will not speculate on the difficult judgment that they would have to make in a whole host of possible scenarios.

Q: This is not a speculative question then. Was it appropriate, in your view, for Israel to take out that suspected Syrian nuclear site last year?

A: Yes. I think that there was sufficient evidence that they were developing a site using a nuclear or using a blueprint that was similar to the North Korean model. There was some concern as to what the rationale for that site would be. And, again, ultimately, I think these are decisions that the Israelis have to make. But, you know, the Israelis live in a very tough neighborhood where a lot of folks, publicly proclaim Israel as an enemy and then act on those proclamations.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric , Jul 22, 2008

Jerusalem should be capital of Israel, pending final status

Q: You said not too long ago that Jerusalem should remain undivided. And then you backtracked on that statement.

A: There was no backtracking. We just had phrased it poorly in the speech. But my policy has been very consistent. Its the same policy tha Bill Clinton has put forward, and that says that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, that we shouldnt divide it by barbed wire, but that, ultimately that a final status issue that has to be resolved between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric , Jul 22, 2008

Jerusalem as joint Palestinian-Israeli capital is ok

Q: You recently supported Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. Why not support the Clinton plan, which envisions a divided Jerusalem, the Arab half being the capital of a Palestinian state, the Jewish half being the capital of the Jewish state?

A: The truth is that this was an example where we had some poor phrasing in the speech. The point we were simply making was, is that we dont want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the 67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent. I think the Clinton formulation provides a starting point for discussions between the parties. The intention was never to move away from that core idea that a Jewish state depends on their ability to create peace with their neighbors, and that the Palestinian leadership has to acknowledge that the battles that theyve been fighting, and the rhetoric theyve been employing, has not delivered for their people.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series on Zakarias GPS , Jul 13, 2008

Palestinian people suffer-but from not recognizing Israel

Q: You said recently, No one is suffering more than the Palestinian people. Do you stand by that remark?

A: Well, keep in mind what the remark actually, if you had the whole thing, said. And what I said is nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region. Israel is the linchpin of much of our efforts in the Middle East.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

FactCheck: Palestinian suffering from stalled peace effort

Obama defended his remark that nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people, a statement attacked by some pro-Israel activists. His version differed in tone if not in substance from the way it was originally reported, however. Obama claimed in the debate that he meant the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize , to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region. Thats somewhat different from the way Obama was quoted March 12. As reported, Obama attributed Palestinian suffering to the stalled peace efforts with Israel and not so narrowly to failures by Palestinian leadership only. However, the Des Moines Register also reported that Obama praised Israel as an important US ally and urged the Palestinian government to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism. So far as we can tell, the Register had the only reporter present at the event and no full transcript exists. Source: FactCheck on 2007 South Carolina Democratic debate , Apr 26, 2007

Supports Israels self-defense; but distrusted by Israelis

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz convened a panel of experts to assess and track 2008 presidential candidates and evaluate whom they consider best for Israel. In Sept. 2006, Obama came in dead last, 18th in a field of 18. However, Haaretz also notes that during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, Obama was careful to defend Israels right to defend itself against Hezbollahs attacks.

Pro: Obama will be uniquely positioned to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict.
A liberal Democrat who is not trusted by Israeli experts is exactly what the US and the world needs. Only by treating Palestinian rights with dignity can the Middle East problem be resolved.

Con: President Obama will be widely detested in the Muslim world.
If Obama comes to power, it will be on the basis of blending authentic Christian religiosity with an inspiring message of tolerance and diversity. Unfortunately, this message runs exactly opposite to the core values of fundamentalist Islam.

Source: Should Barack Obama Be President?, by Fred Zimmerman, p.64-5 , Oct 17, 2006

At college, protested for divestment from South Africa

Obama became involved in a popular campus movement of the day--urging divestment of university money from South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. It was through this activism that Obama first learned the power of words--and his own power with the spoken word. I noticed that people had begun to listen to my opinions, he wrote. It was a discovery that made me hungry for words. Not words to hide behind but words that could carry a message, support an idea. His first public-speaking moment occurred when he opened a staged rally in which he was to begin talking to an afternoon crowd only to be yanked from the stage in a physical metaphor for the voiceless black South Africans. Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p. 57 , Aug 14, 2007

Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.

Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
  • Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
  • Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
  • any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.

Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement; Bill HR.7081 ; vote number 2008-S211 on Oct 1, 2008

Sponsored aid bill to avert humanitarian crisis in Congo.

Obama sponsored increasing aid to avert humanitarian crisis in Congo

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

  • A bill to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
  • Obligates a specified minimum amount under the Foreign Assistance Act, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act, and the Arms Export Control Act for bilateral assistance programs in the DRC.
  • States that the US should work with other donor nations to increase international contributions to the DRC.
  • Expresses the sense of Congress that the DRC government should exercise control over its Armed Forces, stop the mass rapes by its armed forces, and hold those responsible accountable before an appropriate tribunal; and
  • Expresses the sense of Congress that the US should withhold assistance if the government of the DRC is not making sufficient progress towards accomplishing the policy objectives.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: There is a country embroiled in conflict that has not yet received the high-level attention or resources it needs. It's the Democratic Republic of Congo, and right now it is in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe.

31,000 people are dying in the Congo each month and 3.8 million people have died in the previous 6 years. The country, which is the size of Western Europe, lies at the geographic heart of Africa and borders every major region across the continent. If left untended, Congo's tragedy will continue to infect Africa.

I believe that the United States can make a profound difference in this crisis. According to international aid agencies, there are innumerable cost-effective interventions that could be quickly undertaken--such as the provision of basic medical care, immunization and clean water--that could save thousands of lives. On the political front, sustained U.S. leadership could fill a perilous vacuum.

EXCERPTS OF BILL:

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Became Public Law No. 109-456

Source: Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act (S.2125) 05-S2125 on Dec 16, 2005

Implement Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force.

Obama co-sponsored implementing Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force
  • A resolution calling for peace in Darfur.
  • Calls upon the government of Sudan and other signatories and non-signatories to the May 5, 2006, Darfur Peace Agreement to cease hostilities.
  • Calls upon the government of Sudan to facilitate the deployment of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force, including any non-African peacekeepers.
  • Urges all invited individuals and movements to attend the next round of peace negotiations without preconditions.
  • Condemns: (1) intimidation or threats against camp or civil society leaders to discourage them from attending the peace talks; and (2) actions by any party that undermines the Darfur peace process.
  • Calls upon all parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to support all terms of the agreement.
  • Legislative Outcome: Resolution agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Source: S.RES.455 08-SR455 on Feb 14, 2008

Urge Venezuela to re-open dissident radio & TV stations.

Obama co-sponsored urging Venezuela to re-open dissident radio & TV stations
  • WHEREAS for several months, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chvez, has been announcing over various media that he will not renew the current concession of the television station "Radio Caracas Televisin", also known as RCTV, which is set to expire on May 27, 2007, because of its adherence to an editorial stance different from his way of thinking;
  • WHEREAS President Chavez justifies this measure based on the alleged role RCTV played in the unsuccessful unconstitutional attempts in April 2002 to unseat President Chavez, under circumstances where there exists no filed complaint or judicial sentence that would sustain such a charge under Venezuelan law;
  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Senate--
  • (1) expresses its profound concern about the transgression against freedom of thought and expression that is being committed in Venezuela by the refusal of the President Hugo Chavez to renew the concession of RCTV
  • (2) strongly encourages the Organization of American States to respond appropriately, with full consideration of the necessary institutional instruments, to such transgression.
Source: Radio Caracas Resolution (S.RES.211) 2007-SR211 on May 21, 2007

Let Ukraine & Georgia enter NATO.

Obama co-sponsored including Ukraine & Georgia in NATO

Congressional Summary: A resolution expressing strong support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to enter into a Membership Action Plan with Georgia and Ukraine:

reaffirming support for enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to include democratic governments that are able to meet the membership responsibilities;that NATO's expansion contributes to its relevance;that Georgia and Ukraine are strong allies that have made important progress in the areas of defense and democratic and human rights reform;that a stronger relationship among Georgia, Ukraine, and NATO will benefit those countries and NATO member states; andthat the United States should take the lead in supporting the awarding of a Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine.

Legislative Outome: Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

Source: S.RES.439 & H.RES.997 2008-SR439 on Jan 31, 2008

Condemn violence by Chinese government in Tibet.

Obama co-sponsored condemning the violence by Chinese government in Tibet

A resolution condemning the violence in Tibet and calling for restraint by the Government of the People's Republic of China and the people of Tibet. Calls for:

a dialogue between the government of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama on religious and cultural autonomy for Tibet within China; and release of peaceful protesters. Calls on the PRC to:respect the right of the people of Tibet to speak of the Dalai Lama and possess his photograph;respect basic human rights;allow international journalists free access to China; and provide a full accounting of the March 2008 protests in Tibet. Urges that the agreement permitting the PRC to open further diplomatic missions in the United States should be contingent upon establishment of a U.S. government office in Lhasa, Tibet. Source: S.RES.504 2008-SR504 on Apr 7, 2008

Sanction Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy.

Obama co-sponsored sanctioning Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the political situation in Zimbabwe. Expresses the sense of the Senate:

supporting the people of Zimbabwe;that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should immediately release the legitimate results of the presidential election and ratify the previously announced results of the parliamentary elections;that President Robert Mugabe should accept the will of the people of Zimbabwe in order to effect a timely and peaceful transition to democratic rule;that the U.S. government and the international community should impose targeted sanctions against individuals in the government of Zimbabwe and state security services and militias who are responsible for human rights abuses and election interference;that the U.S. government and the international community should work together to prepare an economic and political recovery package for Zimbabwe;that regional organizations should play an active role in resolving the crisis; andthat the U.N. Security Council should support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis and impose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe until a legitimate democratic government has taken power. Source: S.RES.533&H.RES.1230 2008-SR533 on Apr 24, 2008

Afghan law tolerating marital rape is abhorrent.

Obama Shi'ite Personal Status Law
  • CONCURRENT RESOLUTION: Expressing the sense of Congress that the Shi'ite Personal Status Law in Afghanistan violates the fundamental human rights of women and should be repealed.
  • Whereas in March 2009, the Shi'ite Personal Status Law was approved by the parliament of Afghanistan and signed by President Hamid Karzai;
  • Whereas according to the United Nations, the law legalizes marital rape by mandating that a wife cannot refuse sex to her husband unless she is ill;
  • Whereas the law also weakens mothers' rights in the event of a divorce and prohibits a woman from leaving her home unless her husband determines it is for a 'legitimate purpose';
  • Whereas President Barack Obama has called the law 'abhorrent' and stated that 'there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle';
  • Whereas Afghanistan acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, entered into force September 3, 1981 (CEDAW), which condemns discrimination against women in all its forms and reaffirms the equal rights and responsibilities of men and women during marriage and at its dissolution;
  • Whereas the provisions in the Shi'ite Personal Status Law that restrict women's rights are diametrically opposed to those goals:
  • Now, therefore, be it Resolved that Congress--
  • urges the Government of Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai to declare the provisions of the Shi'ite Personal Status Law on marital rape and restrictions on women's freedom of movement unconstitutional;
  • encourages the Government of Afghanistan to solicit information and advice from governmental and women-led nongovernmental organizations to ensure that legislation uphold the equal rights of women.
Source: SCR.19&HCR.108 2009-SCR19 on Apr 23, 2009

Pressure friendly Arab states to end Israeli boycott.

Obama signed Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members Dear Secretary Rice,
In the past, the lack of sufficient support from [non-participating] Arab states have made it difficult to reach agreements [on the Arab-Israeli conflict]. You should press friendly Arab countries that have not yet done so, to:Participate in the upcoming international meeting and be a full partner of the US in advancing regional peaceTake visible, meaningful steps in the financial, diplomatic and political arena to help Palestinian President Abbas govern effectively and meet obligations to fight terrorStop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitementRecognize Israel's right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessionsEnd the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all of its formsPressure Hamas to recognize Israel, reject terror, and accept prior agreements, and isolate Hamas until it takes such steps. Source: Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members 2010-LT-AR on Oct 2, 2007

Page last updated: Oct 12, 2016



Barack Obama: Foreign Affairs | Miller Center

Iraq and Afghanistan

In addition to inheriting an economy in crisis when he took office, President Obama inherited two wars, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. An early opponent of President George W. Bushs decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Obama promised during the 2008 election campaign to withdraw American troops as soon as possible. In February 2009, he announced a plan to bring troop levels down from 160,000 to 50,000 by August 2010, including the removal of all combat forces. The remaining troops, he added, would be withdrawn by the end of 2011. For several years, the withdrawal proceeded smoothly, in part because Obama was able to build on the gains achieved by Bush's surge of 20,000 additional troops in 2007, which had helped the government of Iraq to restore a measure of stability to the country. By 2012, only 150 American troops were in Iraq, a number that remained level for about three years.

Obamas other war-related campaign promise was to step up the US military commitment in Afghanistan in order to keep the extremist Taliban regime from regaining power and allowing al Qaeda once again to use the country as a base of terrorist operations against the United States and its allies. Soon after taking office, Obama granted the militarys request, initially made at the end of the Bush presidency, to send an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, raising the American military presence there to about 60,000.

As his first year as president unfolded, however, Obama became convinced that a change in military strategy was needed so that the government of Afghanistan eventually would be able to defeat the Taliban on its own. In June, he appointed a new military commander, General Stanley McChrystal, and asked him to recommend a new course of action. McChrystal requested 40,000 more troops and promised to deploy them to train Afghan forces to fight the Taliban instead of relying on American might. After an extended series of meetings beginning in September, Obama announced in a speech on December 1, 2009, at West Point that he had approved a short-term surge of 33,000 troops with a proviso that American forces must begin to withdraw from Afghanistan in July 2011. The president soon fired McChrystal for making disparaging remarks about members of the administration, and he replaced him with General David Petraeus, who had developed and implemented the successful surge in Iraq that inspired McChrystal's new strategy for Afghanistan.

After the 2010 midterm elections, congressional Republicans were much more interested in domestic policy than foreign policy, which allowed President Obama to accomplish a complete disengagement of US forces, at least in terms of active combat, from Afghanistan by 2014. The number of American troops in Afghanistan, which peaked at 97,000 in 2011, declined steadily to about 12,000 in 2015 before leveling off at that figure as the president reluctantly acknowledged that the campaign to defeat the Taliban was not yet won. Buttressing Obamas credentials on military matters was the May 2, 2011, killing of al Qaedas leader, Osama bin Laden, by a team of Navy SEALS. Intelligence agencies had concluded that bin Laden was probably hiding in a residential compound near Abbottabad, Pakistan. Lacking certainty on the matter, and realizing the risks attending a military strike, Obama nonetheless ordered the attack, which was successful. In celebrating bin Laden's death, Americans applauded the president's decisiveness and judgment.

Even after United States soldiers killed bin Laden in May 2011 and began disengaging from Iraq and Afghanistan, the president expanded the strategic deployment of special forces and drones in a secret war against suspected terrorists. (Drones are remotely controlled, unpiloted aircraft that conduct surveillance and drop precision-targeted bombs.) Moreover, the White House joined with NATO to help Libyan rebels end the reign of dictator, Colonel Muamar el-Qaddafi. The administration argued that the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to report to Congress when he deploys American forces, did not apply because a state of hostilities did not exist.

Obama and his national security team claimed that they were using a new approach to war that relied on multinational rather than unilateral action, and surgical air and Special Forces strikes rather than on massive troop deployments. The administrations reliance on bombing rather than ground troops in Libya, however, deprived it of any means to reduce the chaos that ensued after Qaddafi was killed. One unfortunate consequence was a radical mob attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in which four American officials were killed.

Syria and ISIS

During the first year of his second term, President Obama seemed determined to take the United States off a perpetual war footing. Sensing the countrys war fatigue and noting resistance from both Democrats and Republicans to additional commitments in the Middle East, the president decided not to launch missile strikes in Syria in support of rebels fighting the autocratic regime of Bashar al-Assad, even though the brutal dictator had crossed Obamas stated red line by using chemical weapons against civilians. Calling off a planned air attack on Syria at virtually the last minute, Obama decided to refer the matter to Congress, which had little interest in endorsing his proposed course. A few days later, Obama accepted Russian leader Vladimir Putins offer to persuade Syria to get rid of its chemical weapons.

The Rise of ISISWith the dramatic rise of a radical group that declared itself the Islamic State during the fall of 2014, however, presidential forbearance gave way to a more muscular new course in the Middle East. The Islamic State, known by most as ISIS but, somewhat idiosyncratically referred to as ISIL by the president, was a former al Qaeda affiliate that took advantage of the civil war in Syria and the lassitude of the Iraq government to gain territory on both sides of the IraqSyria border.

As the president acknowledged, his administration underestimated the danger of ISISs incursions into Syria and Iraq; indeed, Obama initially dismissed these fighters as a JV team. But the steady advance of the self-proclaimed Caliphate and the powerful public reaction to ISISs release of videos that graphically showed the beheading of two American journalists spurred the President to action. In a September 10, 2014, speech to the nation, Obama announced a plan to degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy. Two weeks later, soon after ordering air strikes on dozens of ISIS targets in Syria, the president issued an even more militant call to arms against the self-described Islamic State in an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The number of American troops in Iraq with a mission to help fight ISIS rose to more than 5,000 by 2016, and his administration conducted more than 10,000 air strikes against the radical organization.

Although the air strikes in Syria had strong bipartisan support, constitutional and partisan issues lurked just beneath the surface. In his speech to the nation, Obama said he welcomed congressional support for this effort, yet insisted he had the authority to address the threat from ISIL. That authority, he claimed, resided in the resolution Congress passed in 2001 authorizing President George W. Bush to use military force against those who planned, authorized, committed or aided in the September 11 attacks. The White House argued that the resolution covered a war on ISIS because the terrorist organization is the true inheritor of Osama bin Ladens legacynotwithstanding the recent public split between al Qaedas senior leadership and ISIS.

The president took pains to ensure that the battle against ISIS would be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because it would not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. Yet the military action involved not just a systematic campaign of airstrikes but the deployment of additional troops to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence, and equipment. Notwithstanding the strong public sentiment to strike back against ISIS atrocities, the failure of Congress to place limits on a new Middle East mission renewed concerns about executive power.

Legal and constitutional issues aside, the situation on the ground in Iraq and, especially, Syria remained troubled at the end of Obamas tenure as president. Nightmarish instability in Syria had consequences not just for the region but for Europe as well, where hundreds of thousands of Syrians fled in pursuit of refuge from the chaotic conditions in their country. Growing Russian ambitions in the Middle East under Putin also were a source of frustration, as was the Putin-ordered military occupation of neighboring Ukraine in 2014. In response to the Russian occupation, the United States and European nations imposed economic sanctions against Russia but they brought about no withdrawal of Russian forces.

Iran Nuclear Agreement and Trade Policy

Obamas foreign policy goals extended beyond the wars he inherited or that broke out while he was in office. At the start of his second term in 2013, he and the leaders of five other nations began negotiations with Iran that resulted in a 2015 agreement designed to prevent that country from developing nuclear weapons for at least a decade in return for removing United Nations-imposed economic sanctions. Under the agreement, Iran surrendered 97 percent of its enriched uranium.

Obama also restored diplomatic relations with communist Cuba in December 2014 for the first time in more than a half century and visited the country in March 2016. In 2014, the president reached a bilateral climate agreement in which China and the United States agreed to substantially reduce carbon emissions. That agreement laid the foundation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, at which nearly every country in the world agreed to monitor their emissions and develop plans to reduce them.

In an effort to tie Pacific nations more closely to the United States than to China, Obama negotiated a multinational trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with twelve trading partners from round the Pacific basin. TPP was caught up in election-year politics in 2016, however, when the leading candidates in both major political parties opposed it, and it was never presented to Congress. So controversial had free trade become by the end of Obamas second term that even Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state had called TPP the gold standard in trade agreements, opposed it.

Other than in his fervent long-term concern about climate change, Obamas approach to foreign policy was pragmatic and piecemeal. He enunciated no sweeping Obama Doctrine analogous to the Monroe Doctrine or the Bush Doctrine, preferring to deal with situations as they arose around the globe on a case-by-case basis. More than anything else, Obama said, his rule was, Dont do stupid stuff, sometimes substituting a different four-letter word for stuff in private conversation.

Foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration
Jump to navigation Jump to search Main article: Presidency of Barack Obama

The foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration was the foreign policy of the United States from 2009 to 2017 while Barack Obama was president. The term Obama Doctrine is frequently used to describe the various principles of the administration's foreign policy. Obama's main foreign policy advisors were Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry. Substantial geopolitical developments that occurred during Obama's presidency include:

  • The aftermath of the "Great Recession" of 2008 and the ensuing Eurozone Crisis.
  • The widespread Arab Spring protests.
  • The growing and controversial role of drone aircraft.
  • Attempts to negotiate free trade agreements in the Trans-Pacific and Transatlantic areas.
  • Edward Snowden's revelations of extensive government surveillance.
  • Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and intervention in eastern Ukraine.

Supporters of Obama's foreign policy applaud cooperation with allies and his efforts to end the Iraq War, the administration's attempts at destroying al-Qaeda's core leadership, the killing of Osama bin Laden; the 2015 Paris Agreement on global climate change, brokering a nuclear deal with Iran, and normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba. Comparatively, the Obama administration's foreign policy received criticism across the political spectrum. Conservatives such as Obama's 2008 Republican challenger John McCain[1] and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham[2] have accused the President of being timid and ineffectual in wielding American influence. On the other hand, liberals including Jimmy Carter[3] and Dennis Kucinich[4] accused him of cynicism and heavy-handedness. More specifically, some critics charged that he had pursued similarly imperialistic policies to those of his predecessor, George W. Bush,[5][6][7] of whom Obama was deeply critical during his tenure in the Senate and his 2008 presidential campaign.[8]

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History

See also: Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008 and Presidential transition of Barack Obama

Background

International trips made by President Barack Obama during his time in office

Obama gave his first major foreign policy speech of his campaign on April 23, 2007 to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in which he outlined his foreign policy objectives, stressing five key points:

"bringing a responsible end to this war in Iraq and refocusing on the critical challenges in the broader region," "by building the first truly 21st century military and showing wisdom in how we deploy it," "by marshalling a global effort to meet a threat that rises above all others in urgency securing, destroying, and stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction," "rebuild and construct the alliances and partnerships necessary to meet common challenges and confront common threats", and "while America can help others build more secure societies, we must never forget that only the citizens of these nations can sustain them."

President-elect Obama nominated former rival, Senator Hillary Clinton to serve as his Secretary of State on December 1, 2008, and chose to keep Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as his Secretary of Defense. He appointed General James L. Jones to serve as his National Security Advisor and nominated Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Clinton stated during her confirmation hearings that she believed that "the best way to advance America's interests in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions." She stated, "We must use what has been called "smart power", the full range of tools at our disposal diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy."[9]

During the last weeks before his inauguration, in addition to the several major conflicts in the world, fighting related to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict erupted anew, specifically in Gaza, between Israel and the Hamas-led government. The 20082009 IsraelGaza conflict ended in an uneasy cease-fire on January 18, 2009, two days prior to Obama's inauguration.

Initial themes

Further information: First inauguration of Barack Obama Wikisource has original text related to this article: Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

In his inaugural address, Obama, elaborating on his foreign policy, suggested that he hoped to begin the process of withdrawing from Iraq and continuing to focus on the conflict in Afghanistan. He also mentioned lessening the nuclear threat through "working tirelessly with old friends and former foes." He spoke about America's determination to combat terrorism by proclaiming that America's spirit is "stronger and cannot be broken you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you." To the Muslim world, Obama extended an invite to "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." He also said that the United States was willing to "extend a hand" to those "who cling to power through corruption and deceit" if they "are willing to unclench" their fists.[10]

On his first full day as president, Obama called on Israel to open the borders of Gaza, detailing early plans on his administration's peace plans for the IsraeliPalestinian conflict.[11] Obama and Secretary of State Clinton named George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East peace and Richard Holbrooke as special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan on January 23, 2009.[12] The Mitchell appointment signaled that Clinton might stay away from the direct Secretary-level negotiating that her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, had spent much effort on during the previous two years.[13]

Within less than a week in her new position, Secretary of State Clinton already called almost 40 foreign leaders or foreign ministers.[14] She said the world was eager to see a new American foreign policy and that, "There is a great exhalation of breath going on around the world. We've got a lot of damage to repair."[14] She did indicate that not every past policy would be repudiated, and specifically said it was essential that the six-party talks over the North Korean nuclear weapons program continue.[15]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at the State Department on her first day greeted by a standing room only crowd of Department employees.

His trip to Denmark, that failed to convince the International Olympic Committee to award the 2016 Summer Olympic games to Chicago, made Denmark the sixteenth country Obama visited since becoming President on January 20, 2009. This edged out President's Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush (both tied at 15 visits in their first year) to make Obama the most traveled first year President.[16]

Appointments

Further information: Confirmations of Barack Obama's Cabinet .mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbinner{display:flex;flex-direction:column}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow{display:flex;flex-direction:row;clear:left;flex-wrap:wrap;width:100%;box-sizing:border-box}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle{margin:1px;float:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .theader{clear:both;font-weight:bold;text-align:center;align-self:center;background-color:transparent;width:100%}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbcaption{text-align:left;background-color:transparent}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-left{text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-right{text-align:right}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-center{text-align:center}@media all and (max-width:720px){.mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbinner{width:100%!important;box-sizing:border-box;max-width:none!important;align-items:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow{justify-content:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle{float:none!important;max-width:100%!important;box-sizing:border-box;text-align:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbcaption{text-align:center}}Obama's 2013 foreign policy teamJoe BidenJoe BidenJohn BrennanJohn BrennanSusan RiceSusan RiceJames ClapperJames ClapperJohn KerryJohn Kerry

The administration appointed, or allowed to remain in office, 2,465 ambassadors. Most were career diplomats. 805 were political appointees. 110 of 150 ambassadorships were political in the Caribbean; 259 out of 358 appointees in Western Europe were political. Career diplomats dominated all other areas including: North and Central America, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East, East Asia, South Asia and Oceania. In Central Asia, all appointees were career.[17]

Obama administration foreign policy personnel Vice President Biden
(20092017) Secretary of State Clinton
(20092013) Kerry
(20132017) Secretary of Defense Gates
(20062011) Panetta
(20112013) Hagel
(20132015) Carter
(20152017) Ambassador to the United Nations Rice
(20092013) Power
(20132017) Director of National Intelligence Blair
(20092010) Gompert
(2010) Clapper
(20102017) Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Panetta
(20092011) Morell
(2011) Petraeus
(20112012) Morell
(20122013) Brennan
(20132017) Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Jones
(20092010) Donilon
(20102013) Rice
(20132017) Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Donilon
(20092010) McDonough
(20102013) Blinken
(20132015) Haines
(20152017) Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting Rhodes
(20092017) Trade Representative Kirk
(20092013) Marantis
(2013) Sapiro
(2013) Froman
(20132017)

Africa

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete was the first African Head of State to meet Obama

During the 2008 campaign, Obama outlined his priorities for developing an Africa policy including taking action to stop "what U.S. officials have termed genocide in Darfur, fighting poverty, and expanding prosperity."[18] Some analysts believed that Obama's appointment of Susan Rice who was a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was a sign that his administration would prioritize the continent.[18]

Then Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, in a January 13 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the administration priorities would include "combating al-Qaida's efforts to seek safe havens in failed states in the Horn of Africa; helping African nations to conserve their natural resources and reap fair benefits from them; stopping war in Congo; [and] ending autocracy in Zimbabwe and human devastation in Darfur."[19]

Darfur, Eastern Congo, Ghana and Zimbabwe have all played a significant role in the United States Africa policy. Some foreign policy analysts believed that conflicts in "Sudan, Somalia, and eastern Congo" would "eclipse any other policy plans."[18]

President Obama visited Cairo, Egypt, where he addressed the "Muslim world" on June 4[20] and followed this trip with his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa, as President, on July 11, 2009 where he addressed Ghana's Parliament.[21]

He was followed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who took a seven nation trip to Africa in August including stops in Angola, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa. Some foreign policy analysts have made the claim that this is "the earliest in any U.S. administration that both the president and the secretary of state have visited Africa."

East Africa

Piracy

One of the first actions of the Obama administration was to sign a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to allow pirates captured off of Kenya's coast to be tried in Kenyan courts.[22][23]

Somali pirates took Richard Phillips, a captain of an American cargo ship, hostage on April 8, 2009 during a failed attempt to take over the Maersk Alabama.[24] President Obama ordered the U.S. military to conduct a rescue mission to free Phillips who was held hostage by the pirates for five days. He was rescued on April 12, 2009 by United States Navy SEALs who killed three pirates and obtained the surrender of a fourth, Abduwali Muse.[25][26][27][28][29]

The Obama administration's reaction and response to the kidnapping of Phillips had been commended as well as criticized, while others downplay his role in the rescue of Richard Phillips.[30][31][32] In 2014, Obama sought to increase operations in the Horn region in response to the Westgate mall attack in Kenya. A taskforce for the Horn peninsula had initiated drone strikes against pirates and al-Qaeda affiliates.[33]

Somalia

The Administration had been interested in propping up the Transitional National Government in Mogadishu. To this end, as well as to help cut down on terrorist activities and piracy in the region, the United States had deployed special operations forces, drones, air strikes and some military advisers to influence the ongoing Somali civil war and neutralize prominent Al-Shabaab members.[34][35][36][37]

Zimbabwe

Further information: ZimbabweUnited States relations

Obama was a strong critic of the government of Zimbabwe led by President Robert Mugabe. Although Obama congratulated longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on becoming Prime Minister of Zimbabwe under a power-sharing agreement, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood warned, "We need to see evidence of good governance and particularly real, true power sharing on the part of Robert Mugabe before we are going to make any kind of commitment" to lifting economic sanctions on the impoverished Southern African country, which was ruled by Mugabe from independence in 1980 to 2017.[38]

After the death of Susan Tsvangirai, the prime minister's wife, in an automobile collision in central Zimbabwe on March 6, 2009, the U.S. State Department expressed condolences to Tsvangirai, who also received minor injuries in the wreck.[39]

Prime Minister Tsvangirai met with President Obama on June 12, 2009 at the White House.[40]

Tsvangirai meets with Obama in the White House in June 2009

After Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's rival and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe under a power-sharing agreement, the Obama administration extended its congratulations to Tsvangirai, but said that the U.S. would wait for evidence of Mugabe's cooperation with the MDC before it would consider lifting its sanctions.[38] In early March 2009, Obama proclaimed that US sanctions would be provisionally extended for another year, because Zimbabwe's political crisis as yet unresolved.[41]

Middle Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Obama administration's foreign policy in Africa was conducted primarily through the bureaucratic apparatus of the State Department, with both Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry playing notable and well-publicized roles in African affairs.[42] In 2009, Secretary Clinton undertook a tour of seven African nations, including Angola, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and South Africa. During her visit to the DRC, Secretary Clinton met with rape survivors and later announced a $17 million plan for addressing sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).[43] Throughout her tenure, Secretary Clinton has issued numerous statements addressing gender-based violence and other human rights abuses in the DRC on in accordance with her goal of improving the status of women and girls around the world.

In 2013, then-Secretary of State John Kerry sought to draw greater attention to conflict and humanitarian crisis in DRC and surrounding countries, leading to the appointment of former Senator Russell Feingold to the position of Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region.[44] Founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative Ben Affleck testified to Congress in 2014 that Feingold's collaboration with his U.N. counterpart and other international actors had begun to remedy a previously incoherent international response to humanitarian crisis in the DRC.[45] At Feingold's urging, the Obama administration invoked the Child Soldiers Prevention Act in order to place sanctions on Rwanda for their support of the March 23 militia (M23).[46] These actions were crucial in brokering the end of a brutally violent and destabilizing two-year campaign of insurgency by M23.[47]

While the Obama administration received positive feedback for the invocation of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act against Rwanda, it was criticized for ignoring evidence that the Congolese government also made wide use of child soldiers.[48]

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law in 2010. Under Section 1502 of the Act, all corporations that use tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold are mandated to trace these potential conflict minerals to their source and to publicly disclose if they originated in the DRC, with the objective being to discourage corporate activities that contribute to conflict in the DRC.[49] Intended to promote human rights and divert resources from continued fighting, the law has widely been criticized by American companies who cite the cost and difficulty of tracking and certifying materials as barriers to implementation. Critics also argue that Section 1502 misunderstands and misrepresents the role that minerals play in conflict, resulting in legislation that has produced no notable change in levels of conflict. Instead, a de facto embargo has ensued which has propelled between 5 and 12 million Congolese miners into unemployment and deeper poverty.[50]

North Africa

Egypt

President Obama stands at a podium delivering a speech on "A New Beginning" at Cairo University on June 4, 2009 Obama speaking on "A New Beginning" at Cairo University on June 4, 2009

After escalating demonstrations challenged the long-standing strong-man rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Obama and many European leaders called for him to step down and he did so in 2011. The Egyptians elected a new government based on the Muslim Brotherhood. However the new President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in 2013 by the military. President Obama noted that the crisis in Egypt is deplorable and tragic; the situations at the end of 2013 remained very tense.[51]

Libya

After initial skepticism of international involvement to prevent Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from using violence to suppress popular demonstrations in his country,[52] the Obama administration crucially backed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 to create a Libyan no-fly zone, with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice successfully pushing to include language allowing the UN mandate free rein to launch air attacks on Libyan ground targets threatening civilians.[53]

In March 2011, Obama authorized the firing of 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Libya, in response to regime actions against rebel forces, to enforce the UN no-fly zone.[54]

West Africa

Mali

Under Obama, the U.S. government supported in Malian government in the Northern Mali conflict, aiding Mali in its fight against Tuareg rebels and their Islamist extremist allies, including Ansar Dine, which the U.S. designed as a foreign terrorist organization in 2013.[55] The U.S. provided counterterrorism, intelligence-sharing and other aid to the French military, which led an effort "to drive out insurgents and protect a civilian Malian government."[55] The U.S. also provided logistical support,[55] specifically by providing aerial refueling to the French Air Force.[55]

The Obama administration had pledged not to put "boots on the ground" in Mali, but in April 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense disclosed that it had deployed 22 U.S. military personnel to the country.[56][57] Of these, ten were liaison support staff to French and African forces, while the others were assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Bamako; the U.S. troops did not engage in combat operations in Mali.[56]

Arctic

Further information: Arctic Policy of the United States

During Obama's presidency, there was increased global attention paid to the Arctic, and the challenges and opportunities present in the region. The Obama administration responded accordingly by placing significantly greater focus on the Arctic and Arctic issues than the Bush administration, achieving a notable first in September 2015 by becoming the first sitting President ever to visit the Arctic Circle.

The Arctic is divided between 8 Arctic states that serve as permanent members of the Arctic Council. The primary policy of the Obama administration within the region had been to facilitate cooperation among these states on regional issues.[58] Upon assuming office, Obama had looked to reset relations with Russia across the board; however, as USRussian relations deteriorated in other matters of mutual interest, the Arctic remained a site of cooperation between the two states.

In 2011, the Arctic states created the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement, which established the search parameters for Arctic states. Search and Rescue collaboration between states has since strengthened further with the creation of the Coast Guard Forum in 2015.

During Obama's presidency, the United States assumed chairmanship of the Arctic Council 2015-2017 and looked to launch major collaborative projects while in that office.[59] With the United States at the helm, the Arctic Council had focused on improving economic and living conditions for Arctic communities; improving Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship; and also addressing the impacts of climate change. The last Arctic Council meeting of Obama's Presidency was in Maine in 46 October 2016 where the agenda focused on Arctic sustainable development and the climate.

Countering the regional effects of climate change had been a major focus of the Obama presidency's Arctic policy, particularly during his final two years in office. Obama agreed in March 2016 to protect at least 17% of its Arctic territory from development during a joint event with President Trudeau of Canada.

Within the Arctic Council, an expert group was created in 2015 investigating the threat posed by black carbon to the region which concluded its findings and recommendations in 2016. The administration had also looked to increase data sharinga major agenda item at the inaugural White House Arctic Science Ministerial in September 2016.[60]

While regional co-operation to counter joint challenges had been the primary commitment of the Obama administration, US Arctic military capabilities have also increased under Obama. In 2016, the ICEX exercise was carried out and was widely regarded to be a major success. President Obama had also commissioned two new US icebreakers in 2015.

Asia

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in 2011 a rebalancing of foreign policy to give more emphasis to Asia, especially in response to the rapidly growing Chinese role in the region. She called for "a substantially increased investment diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise in the Asia-Pacific region."[61] As of 2014, many analysts did not find significant changes and some argued that the U.S. is again neglecting the region.[62] Obama's support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was motivated in large part by his goal to "pivot" the US to East Asia.[63]

East Asia

Further information: East Asian Foreign Policy of the Barack Obama administration President Barack Obama addresses the opening session of the first U.S.China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. President Obama at the Vimean Santepheap (Peace Palace) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left on her first foreign policy tour (to Asia) on February 15, 2009 with stops in Japan, China, South Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia.[64] The Secretary had travelled to the region extensively, including at least three trips to various countries in the region in 2009, 2010 and 2011[65] In July 2012, Secretary Clinton traveled Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.[66] The visit to Laos was the first by a Secretary of State in 57 years.[67]

On April 1, 2009, Obama and Hu Jintao announced the establishment of the high-level U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue co-chaired by Hillary Clinton and Timothy Geithner on the U.S. side and Dai Bingguo and Wang Qishan on the Chinese side and on May 16, 2009 Obama personally announced the nomination of Jon Huntsman, Jr., the Republican Governor of Utah to fill the position of Ambassador to China. Huntsman was the only ambassador in the Administration to be personally announced by the President[68] times. Later that year, President Obama and Secretary Clinton made a high-profile trip to China on November 1518, 2009 marking Obama's first visit to China. It was Obama's first presidential Asia trip since he was inducted. He also went to Japan, Singapore for the APEC summit and South Korea for the first U.S.-ASEAN summit. The United States Pacific Command had also been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen military relationships in the region.[69] The United States and China often clashed over China's claims in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.[70]

In 2014, President Obama stated that the United States recognized Tibet as part of China but also encouraged the Chinese authorities to take steps to preserve the unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people.[71]

In 2016, Obama became the first sitting American president to visit Laos, which the United States had bombed during the Vietnam War.[72] Obama also increased funding to clean up unexploded ordnance in Laos.[72]

United States President Barack Obama and Lee walking after a meeting at the Blue House in Seoul in November 2010. Hillary Clinton with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

North Korea

North Korea is a major trouble area, especially regarding nuclear weapons and threats of military action.[73] Not long after Obama took office North Korea elbowed its way back onto the international stage after a period of relative quiet,[74] drawing accusations of planning a new long-range intercontinental ballistic missile test weeks after Obama was sworn in[75][76] and performing an unannounced nuclear warhead and missile testing in late May 2009 to the disapproval of the State Department.[77] Relations were further strained with the imprisonment of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling for their alleged illegal entry into North Korean territory on assignment for a media organization.[78] although both women were later released on August 5, 2009.[79] Later that year, Pyongyang announced its intention to terminate the 1953 armistice ending hostilities in the Korean War on May 28, 2009 effectively restarting the nearly 60-year-old conflict, and prompting the South Korea-United States Combined Forces Command to Watchcon II, the second-highest alert level possible.[80] In 2010, two more major incidents with North Korea occurred: the sinking of a South Korean Navy Ship that actuated new rounds of military exercises with South Korea as a direct military response to sinking[81] and the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong prompting the US aircraft carrier USSGeorge Washington to depart for joint exercises in the Yellow Sea with the Republic of Korea Navy, to deter further North Korean military action.[82][83] In light of the geopolitical developments with North Korea, the Obama Administration had called the U.S.South Korean alliance as a "cornerstone of US security in the Pacific Region."[80] During Obama's presidency North Korea's nuclear-weapons and missile programme had become "steadily more alarming", with his failure to stifle it being described as "glaring."[84]

Japan

Japan, a major ally of the United States, has been engaged in a diplomatic dispute with China over control of the South China Sea. In then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's inaugural tour of East Asia, she reassured Japanese officials of Japan's centrality in the network of American alliances.[85] In response to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the United States initiated Operation Tomodachi to support Japan in disaster relief following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami[86] earning gratitude from Japan's minister of defense, Toshimi Kitazawa who, while visiting the Ronald Reagan, thanked its crew for its assistance as part of Operation Tomodachi saying, "I have never been more encouraged by and proud of the fact that the United States is our ally."[87]

South Asia

Further information: South Asian Foreign Policy of the Barack Obama administration Asif Ali Zardari, Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai during a US-Afghan-Pakistan trilateral meeting

The Obama administrations's South Asian foreign policy was outlined in "The Obama Administration's Policy on South Asia" by Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, who wrote "[o]ur goal was and remains to support the development of sovereign, stable, democratic nations, integrated into the world economy and cooperating with one another, the United States, and our partners to advance regional security and stability.

At the start of the Obama administration there were several regional hot spots within South Asia including Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Several conflicts exist within the region including an ongoing war in Afghanistan and an ongoing conflict in North-West Pakistan.

President Obama with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the first dinner hosted by the Obama administration.

On February 18, 2009, Obama announced that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would be bolstered by 17,000 new troops by the summer.[88] Obama also ordered the expansion of airstrikes to include the organization of Baitullah Mehsud, the militant chief reportedly behind the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto,[89] as priority targets.[90]

The U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, that were begun by President George W. Bush, have increased substantially[90] since an expansion of the attacks was authorized by President Barack Obama in 2009.[91] Drones have resulted in civilian casualties, and intentionally targeted rescuers, funerals, and one U.S. citizen.[92][93] UN reports have described the U.S. drone wars as extrajudicial killing[94] and summary executions.[95]

There was also tension between India and Pakistan who had both come into possession of nuclear weapons. This conflict had been ongoing since August 1947 after the Partition of India. Criticism had been leveled at the Obama administration for its apparent lack of an early response to U.S. foreign policy with India. The former director for South Asia in the National Security Council in the Bush administration, Xenia Dormandy claims that India is America's indispensable ally in the region and that the Obama administration should take steps to improve relations with India.[96][97][98][99][100]

West Asia

Main article: Middle Eastern foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration Further information: Middle East and IsraeliPalestinian peace process President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on Operation Neptune's Spear, a mission against Osama bin Laden, in one of the conference rooms of the Situation Room of the White House, on May 1, 2011. They are watching live feed from drones operating over the bin Laden complex. President Barack Obama along with members of the national security team, receive an update on Operation Neptune's Spear, in the White House Situation Room, May 1, 2011. See also: The Situation Room

War in Iraq

During his campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama advocated a phased redeployment of troops out of Iraq within 16 months of being sworn in as president.[101] In order to accomplish this Obama stated that he would, based on the conditions on the ground, redeploy between one and two battalions a month.[102] Some of the forces returned to the U.S., while others were redeployed as part of a focus on the broader region including Afghanistan and Pakistan to confront terrorism.[103]

Obama was in office for 3 years of the Iraq war. The U.S. gradually completed its withdrawal of military personnel in December 2011. In late February 2009, newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama announced an 18-month withdrawal window for combat forces, with approximately 50,000 soldiers remaining in the country. In November 2013 Obama met with Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki. He vowed a continuing partnership but said there would be no public aid, and urged to prime minister to be more inclusive, especially with regards to the Sunni population. Obama also encouraged wider political participation and passing an election law. They discussed how to curb a resurgent al-Qaeda and how to more thoroughly incorporate democracy in the country.[104] President Obama changed the timeline of withdrawing troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office as outlined in the election to 19 months after taking office.

Obama appointed several Special Envoys including a Special Envoy for Middle East peace (George Mitchell) and a Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan (Richard C. Holbrooke). In 2013, Obama urged the leaders of the middle east to do more to stem or address the multiple locations where Sunni-Shia strife is occurring in the middle east, including in Bahrain, Syria and Iraq.[105]

2014 Intervention
Main article: 2014 American intervention in Iraq

In the wake of the shattering of the Iraqi military following 2014 Northern Iraq offensive Obama deployed thousands of American Marines, Special Forces troops and military advisers to shore up the remaining Iraqi forces.[106][107][108][109] These troops were also tasked with securing the area around the American Embassy in Baghdad as well as taking control of the International Airport. Obama said that the actions of these men would be "targeted and precise".[106]

The administration also moved a carrier battle group in to the Persian Gulf. Americans have been flying extensive reconnaissance flights, both manned and unmanned.[107] American F-18 attack aircraft have also been spotted in the skies over Iraq since mid-summer.[106]

In early August the Administration announced a wide-ranging air campaign in northern Iraq aimed at Sunni militants, while undertaking a significant humanitarian efforts aimed at Iraq's imperiled minorities.[110]

Iran

After the disputed June 2009 Iranian presidential election, Obama condemned the Iranian government's crackdown on the Iranian Green Movement opposition, a group of pro-democracy demonstrators.[111] Obama stated: "we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran, but "I am deeply troubled by the violence that I've been seeing on television. I think that the democratic process -- free speech, the ability of people to peacefully dissent -- all those are universal values and need to be respected."[112] After more violent was directed at protesters, Obama stated: "The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days" and issued a strong condemnation of "these unjust actions."[112] Some critics, including his 2012 presidential campaign rival Mitt Romney, faulted Obama, saying that he should have done more to support the Green Movement.[112][113][114][115][116] Others disagreed, noting that the Green Movement did not need or want direct foreign support, and arguing that direct U.S. backing for the Iranian opposition would likely "undermine its credibility, and perhaps even lend credence to the governments assertion that the movement is a foreign-inspired plot that will rob Iran of its independence."[111]

Obama signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 on July 1, 2010 to expand sanctions on Iran. The restrictions of the new law are so tight that third countries have warned about the interference with their trade.[117] However under Obama, Iran's oil exports have been halved.[118]

After the election of centrist moderate Hassan Rouhani as President in 2013, Iran started a new stage of dialogue in its foreign relations in a bid to improve relations with the west. At Rouhani's official visit to New York City to attend the United Nations General Assembly, Obama requested a bilateral meeting with Rouhani, which didn't take place due to time restraints according to Rouhani. Rouhani stated that more time was needed to organise a proper meeting between the two countries' leaders due to the troubled past relationship of the two nations. On 27 September 2013, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry held a one-on-one meeting, the first between the U.S. and Iran in a generation. The rare get-together was groundbreaking, according to Iranian analysts. One day later, Obama and Rouhani spoke with each other on the phone, the highest level of communication between the two nations leaders since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.[119]

Israel

President Barack Obama, at left, shakes hands with Israeli President Shimon Peres, at right, in the Oval Office on Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Standing at right looking on is U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Obama meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, May 2009

Relations between the U.S. and Israel have deteriorated considerably under the Barack Obama administration. While the overall alliance remains intact, antagonism between Barack Obama and current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had eroded bilateral ties between the two nations. Israel announced it was pushing ahead with building 1,600 new homes in a Jewish area in East Jerusalem in March 2010, as Vice-President Joe Biden was visiting. It was described as "one of the most serious rows between the two allies in recent decades".[120] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israel's move was "deeply negative" for US-Israeli relations.[121] However Obama was the first United States president to supply Israel with modern bunker buster bombs.[122] And under Obama, United States Foreign Military Financing for Israel had increased to $3 billion for the first time in history.[123] Obama had pledged support for Israeli military superiority in the region and had described his allegiance with Israel as being "sacrosanct".[124] Under President Obama, the United States increased aid for Israel's Iron Dome.[125]

On September 20, 2011, President Obama declared that the U.S. would veto a Palestinian application for statehood at the United Nations, asserting that "there can be no shortcut to peace".[126] Furthermore, in February, the administration had vetoed a U.N. resolution declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.[127]

In 2014 Obama said that only a two-state solution could ensure Israel's future as a Jewish-majority democracy.[128] Ehud Barak described Obama's support for Israel as being unparalleled and the most supportive in history, stating that Obama had done "more than anything that I can remember in the past" and that Obama's support is "extremely deep and profound".[129][130]

On December 23, 2016, the United States, under the Obama Administration, abstained from United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, effectively allowing it to pass.[131] On December 28, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strongly criticized Israel and its settlement policies in a speech.[132] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized the Administration's actions,[133][134] and the Israeli government withdrew its annual dues from the organization, which totaled $6 million in United States dollars, on January 6, 2017.[135] On January 5, 2017, the United States House of Representatives voted 342-80 to condemn the UN Resolution.[136][137]

Syria

See also: Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War United States President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria and ISIL, September 29, 2015

In 2012, Obama, who had previously demanded the resignation of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, said that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government would be crossing a red line and would entail U.S. military action.[138] After reports on 21 August 2013 about the usage of chemical weapons in Syria, the Obama administration formally blamed the incident on the Syrian government and sought Congressional approval for military action in Syria. Besides, Obama sought support from Britain and France for an attack in Syria.[139] The Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved plans for a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missile strikes to have those called off by Obama in September.[140] On 11 September 2013, Obama put a military strike or combat operations on hold and achieved an agreement with Russia and the Syrian government to destroy all chemical weapons in Syria.[141]

Obama's decision to allow the violation of a red line he himself had drawn to go unpunished is widely criticised by the U.S. political establishment, as well as the allies,[142] as detrimental to America's international credibility.[138] However, in early 2016, Obama said he was "proud" of his decision, which repudiated what he referred to as the "Washington playbook" and avoided entangling the US in yet another "unfixable" situation in the Middle East.[138][143] More broadly, regarding Obama's lack of meaningful support to the Syrian anti-government rebels, in 2015, The Economist opined, "Rarely has an American president so abjectly abandoned his global responsibility",[144] adding in 2016, "The agony of Syria is the biggest moral stain on Barack Obama's presidency. And the chaos rippling from Syriawhere many now turn to al-Qaeda, not the West, for salvationis his greatest geopolitical failure."[145] In 2016, Nicholas Kristof described inaction in Syria as "Obama's worst mistake",[146] while Jonathan Schanzer said "the White House Syria policy has been an unmitigated dumpster fire."[147] Michael Mullen, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, described the conflict in Syria as "Obama's Rwanda".[148]

In comments published on 1 December 2016, about the U.S. becoming increasingly sidelined by Moscow and Ankara, Emile Hokayem of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, blamed the marginalisation of the U.S. in the Syrian Civil War and the region at large on Barack Obama, "The American approach to this conflict guaranteed the US less and less relevance, not just in the Syrian conflict but also the broader regional dynamics. There has been a loss of face and a loss of leverage. The politics of the region are being transformed and this happened under Obama, whether by design or by failure."[149]

In 2017, as Russia on the back of its successful military campaign in Syria forged closer ties with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, analysts and politicians in the Middle East concurred that Russia's clout in the region had grown because Obama allowed it to by failing to intervene robustly in Syria.[150]

The "Red Line" ultimatum

The Obama "Red Line" remark was intended as an ultimatum to the Syrian president and the Syrian army to cease the use of chemical weapons. It appeared in a Presidential statement on 20 August 2012. Obama's red line was enforced by means of threat of massive military force in September 2013 and resulted in the substantial destruction of the Syrian stockpile of chemical weapons by June 2014.

Obama stated, "We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."[151]

One year later, in the early hours of 21 August 2013, two opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs around Damascus, Syria were struck by rockets containing the chemical agent sarin. The attack was the deadliest use of chemical weapons since the IranIraq War.[152]

A U.S.-led military attack to punish Syria for using chemical weapons was anticipated by the end of August 2013 in which American forces and their allies launched more than 100 missiles into Syria.[153]

The U.S. Navy brought four destroyers into position in the eastern Mediterranean to reach targets inside Syria. The USS Nimitz carrier group was rerouted to Syria in early September 2013.[154]

Russia and Great Britain among other nations began evacuating their citizens in anticipation of the bombardment.[155]

During the G20 summit on 6 September, Vladimir Putin and Obama discussed the idea of putting Syria's chemical weapons under international control. On 9 September 2013, Kerry stated in response to a question from a journalist that the air strikes could be averted if Syria turned over "every single bit" of its chemical weapons stockpiles within a week, but Syria "isn't about to do it and it can't be done." State Department officials stressed that Kerry's statement and its one-week deadline were rhetorical in light of the unlikelihood of Syria turning over its chemical weapons. Hours after Kerry's statement, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia had suggested to Syria that it relinquish its chemical weapons, and Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem immediately welcomed the proposal.[156]

U.S.Russian negotiations led to the 14 September 2013 "Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons," which called for the elimination of Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles by mid-2014. Following the agreement, Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention and agreed to apply that convention provisionally until its entry into force on 14 October 2013. On 21 September, Syria ostensibly provided a of itn inventory of its chemical weapons to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), before the deadline set by the framework.

The destruction of Syria's chemical weapons began on the basis of international agreements with Syria that stipulated an initial destruction deadline of 30 June 2014. UN Security Council Resolution 2118 of 27 September 2013 required Syria to assume responsibility for and follow a timeline for the destruction of its chemical weapons and its chemical weapon production facilities. The Security Council resolution bound Syria to the implementation plan presented in a decision of the OPCW. On 23 June 2014, the last declared chemical weapons left Syria. The destruction of the most dangerous chemical weapons was performed at sea aboard the Cape Ray, a vessel of the United States Maritime Administration's Ready Reserve Force, crewed with US civilian merchant mariners. The actual destruction operations, performed by a team of U.S. Army civilians and contractors, destroyed 600 metric tons of chemical agents in 42 days.

Bahrain protests

Some in the media questioned Obama's decision to welcome Bahrain in Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa in June 2011 because of the fierce crackdown on protesters in the country. The collaboration of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states with Bahrains royalty, had carried out mass repression since the middle of March. This included detaining, beating and torture of thousands.[157] In June 2013, Obama urged meaningful reform in Bahrain.[158] Bahraini officials rejected Obama's claims about sectarianism between Sunnis and Shias.[105] Nevertheless, the Obama administration resumed providing arms and maintenance to the regime during its crackdown on pro-democracy groups, including ammunition, combat vehicle parts, communications equipment, Blackhawk helicopters, and an unidentified missile system.[159][160] Accordingly, the administration's larger policy on dealing with the "Arab Spring" is to continue propping up longtime client regimes while fostering "regime alteration."[161]

Saudi Arabia

The United States and Saudi Arabia continued their post-war alliance during the Obama presidency, and the Obama Administration supported the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen during the Yemeni Civil War.[162] However, tensions between the Saudis and the United States arose following the Iranian nuclear deal, as Saudi Arabia and Iran have strained relations and have competed for influence in the Middle East.[162] The Obama administration attempted to defuse tensions between the two countries, as it hoped for cooperation with both countries in regards to the Syrian Civil War and military operations against ISIS.[163] Obama also criticized the human rights record of Saudi Arabia, particularly in regards to the imprisonment of Raif Badawi.[164] When once asked whether Saudi Arabia was America's friend, Obama replied with "It's complicated."[165][166] According to The Economist, opining in April 2016, thanks in large part to Obama, America's relationship with Saudi Arabia had become "deeply strained" under his tenure.[167]

Despite fierce opposition on the part of the Saudi government,[168][169] the U.S. Congress passed and then overrode Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

Europe

President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine at the conclusion of their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, March 12, 2014. Main article: European foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration

Fabbrini in 2011 identified a cycle in anti-Americanism in Europe: modest in the 1990s, it grew explosively between 20032008, then declined after 2008. He sees the current version as related to images of American foreign policy-making as unrestrained by international institutions or world opinion. Thus it is the unilateral policy process and the arrogance of policy makers, not the specific policy decisions, that are decisive.[170]

East Europe

Russia

See also: RussiaUnited States relations Obama's tenure (20092017), and Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

Tensions remained as Russia pushed back against attempts at further eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union into areas that had previously been part of the Russian Empire and the USSR. Georgia and Ukraine were the major flash points. Early on, Obama called for a "reset" of relations with Russia, and in 2009 the policy became known as the Russian reset; but critics debated whether or not it could improve bilateral relations or was about to concede too much to Russia.[171]

At the end of March 2014, president Obama dismissed Russia as a "regional power" that did not pose a major security threat to the U.S.[172] The statement was later sharply criticised by Putin as "disrespectful" and an attempt to prove America's exceptionalism[173][174] as well as by the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker who in November 2016 said, "We have a lot to learn about the depths of Russia, we are very ignorant about it at the moment. ... Russia is not, as President Obama said, 'a regional power'. This was a big error in assessment."[175]

After Russia's military intervention in Syria in 2015 and the alleged interference[176] in the 2016 election campaign in the U.S., relations between the Russian government and Obama administration became more strained. In September 2016, the U.S. government publicly accused Russia of "flagrant violations of international law" in Syria.[177] Thomas Friedman opined, "Obama believed that a combination of pressure and engagement would moderate Putin's behavior. That is the right approach, in theory, but it's now clear that we have underestimated the pressure needed to produce effective engagement, and we're going to have to step it up. This is not just about the politics of Syria and Ukraine anymore. It's now also about America, Europe, basic civilized norms and the integrity of our democratic institutions."[178] George Robertson, a former UK defense secretary and NATO secretary-general, said that Obama had "allowed Putin to jump back on the world stage and test the resolve of the West", adding that the legacy of this disaster would last.[142]

In mid-November 2016, the Kremlin accused president Obama's administration of trying to damage the U.S.' relationship with Russia to a degree that would render normalisation thereof impossible for the incoming administration of Donald Trump.[179]

In December 2017, Mike Rogers, who was Chairman of the House of Representatives' Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 20112015, said that Obama and his inner circle had a habit of rejecting the idea that Russia under Putin was a resurgent and perilous adversary; and this dismissiveness on Russia "filter[ed] its way down".[180]

Ukraine

Main article: 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine

In the wake of the Euromaidan protests the Obama administration had embraced the new government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. After Russia began to occupy the Crimean peninsula Obama warned Russia of "severe consequences" if Russia annexes the region and attempted to negotiate a withdraw of Russian troops. To date, all negotiations have been unsuccessful.[181] On December 18, 2014 Obama signed into law Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014.[182]

North America

Canada

See also: Canada United States relations Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) and President Barack Obama (right) meet in Washington in March 2016

After Obama's presidential election victory in 2008, it was announced that Mr. Obama's first international trip would be to Canada, which took place on February 19, 2009.[183]

Aside from Canadian lobbying against "Buy American" provisions in the US stimulus package, relations between the two administrations had been smooth up to 2011. On February 4, 2011, Harper and Obama issued a "Declaration on a Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness".[184][185]

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was elected in October 2015, visited the White House for an official visit and state dinner on March 10, 2016.[186] Trudeau and Obama were reported to have shared warm personal relations during the visit, making humorous remarks about which country was better at hockey and which country had better beer.[187] Obama complimented Trudeau's 2015 election campaign for its "message of hope and change" and "positive and optimistic vision". Obama and Trudeau also held "productive" discussions on climate change and relations between the two countries, and Trudeau invited Obama to speak in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa later in the year.[188]

Cuba

See also: United States embargo against Cuba Further information: CubaUnited States relations and Cuban Thaw Meeting between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama, April 2015

During his presidential campaign in 2008, Obama asserted that his policy toward Cuba would be based on "libertad", promising that as President of the United States, he would push the Cuban government to embrace democratic reforms and free political prisoners.[189] After his election, former Cuban President Fidel Castro said he was "open" to the idea of meeting with the president-elect.[190] However most of his policies towards Cuba before 2014 were little changed from the Bush policies.[191]

After Obama announced the intended closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp shortly after his inauguration, Cuban President Raul Castro said Havana would continue to push for the U.S. to "liquidate" the entire Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and return the land to Cuba.[192] He was joined by his brother Fidel, who abandoned his magnanimity toward the new U.S. president and demanded that the base be retroceded to Cuba.[193]

While the United States House of Representatives passed legislation, backed by Obama, to ease certain travel and cash transactions imposed against Cuba by the U.S., on February 25, 2009, sanctions which were further eased by Obama unilaterally in April 2009,[194] the president was initially coy about lifting the embargo against Cuba.[195] Obama professed to view the embargo as a useful tool for leverage on pushing for reform in Cuba.[196] This is in contrast to what Obama stated in 2004 when he said that it was time "to end the embargo with Cuba" because it had "utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro."[197] Obama's stance had met criticism from both Fidel Castro[198] and members of the U.S. government, including ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar.[199] A panel with the Washington-based Brookings Institution released a report in late February 2009 urging Obama to normalize relations with Cuba.[200]

On June 2, leading a delegation to Honduras for the Organization of American States General Assembly, Clinton affirmed that Cuba needed to reach a certain political and democratic standard to rejoin the organization.[201] On 10 December 2013, Obama shook hands with Raul Castro at the state funeral of Nelson Mandela.[202]

In December 2014, after the secret meetings, it was announced that Obama, with Pope Francis as an intermediary, had negotiated a restoration of relations with Cuba, more than a half-century after diplomatic ties were broken in 1961.[203] Popularly dubbed the Cuban Thaw, The New Republic deemed the Cuban Thaw to be "Obama's finest foreign policy achievement."[204] On July 1, 2015, Obama announced that formal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States would resume, and embassies would be opened in Washington and Havana.[205] The countries' respective "interests sections" in one another's capitals were upgraded to embassies on July 20 and August 13, 2015, respectively.[206]

Obama visited Havana, Cuba for two days in March 2016, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to arrive since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.[207]

Honduras

Further information: 2009 Honduran coup d'etat Further information: United StatesHonduras relations

On June 28, 2009, President Manuel Zelaya was arrested and exiled from the country. Obama condemned the action and described the event as a coup. On July 7, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Zelaya and agreed upon a U.S.-backed proposal for negotiations with the Micheletti government, mediated by President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica.[208] At the conclusion of the meeting, Clinton announced the suspension of economic and military aid to the Honduran government.[209] However, the U.S. led a group of Western Hempishere countries supporting the outcome of November 2009 presidential election of Porfirio Lobo as a way forward to resolve the situation.[210]

Oceania

New Zealand

Further information: New ZealandUnited States relations

The Obama administration continued to develop closer relations with New Zealand, particularly in the area of defense and intelligence cooperation. Relations with the National government led by Prime Minister John Key have been smooth and friendly. This process had already begun under the previous George W. Bush administration in 2007, which culminated in a state visit by the-then Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark to the United States in July 2008. While the United States and New Zealand had been close allies since World War II and were members of the tripartite ANZUS security alliance with Australia, US-NZ bilateral relations had deteriorated under the Ronald Reagan Administration in February 1985 due to New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy which banned visits by nuclear-capable or nuclear-powered warships.[211] As a result, no bilateral military exercises had taken place until April 2012 and New Zealand warships were barred from visiting US ports and participating in joint naval exercises until May 2013.[212][213]

On 4 November 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her New Zealand counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully signed the Wellington Declaration which committed the two countries to a closer bilateral relationship with an increased emphasis on strategic partnership. This strategic partnership had two fundamental elements: "a new focus on practical cooperation in the Pacific region; and enhanced political and subject-matter dialogueincluding regular Foreign Ministers' meetings and political-military discussions."[214] The agreement also stressed the continued need for New Zealand and the United States to work together on global issues like nuclear proliferation, climate change and terrorism.[214]

Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, President Obama expressed his condolences to Prime Minister Key. The US government also contributed $1 million in relief funds while the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Los Angeles County Fire Department contributed rescue teams.[211] On 23 July 2011, Prime Minister John Key also visited President Obama at the White House.[215] The John Key National government also continued to contribute military forces to support the US-led War in Afghanistan, including the elite New Zealand Special Air Service. The previous Labour government had also contributed military forces to Afghanistan since October 2001.[211] In April 2013, the last remaining NZ troops withdrew from Afghanistan.[216]

On 19 June 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his New Zealand counterpart Minister of Defence Jonathan Coleman signed the Washington Declaration which committed the US and New Zealand to a closer defense cooperation arrangement.[217] It sought to restore defense cooperation between the two countries which had been curtailed by the ANZUS Split. Two key areas of this Declaration included the resumption of regular senior-level dialogues between the US Department of Defense and the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force; and security cooperation.[218] As a result of the Washington Declaration, New Zealand warships were allowed to visit US ports even though New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy remained intact.[213] The Washington Declaration was also part of the Obama administration's pivot into the Asia-Pacific to counter the emerging influence of China.[219]

South America

Argentina

See also: ArgentinaUnited States relations President Obama meets with Argentine President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires, March 23, 2016

President Obama made a state visit to Argentina on March 2324, 2016 to improve the ArgentinaUnited States relations under the administration of newly elected Argentine president, Mauricio Macri. This followed strained relations under predecessors Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Nestor Kirchner regarding investments.[220] Obama and Macri discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in promoting "universal values and interests," such as in the areas of security, energy, health and human rights, where the two presidents have agreed for American help to assist Argentina's counter-terrorism efforts, to contribute to peacekeeping missions, combat illegal drug trade and organized crime, respond to diseases and outbreaks like the Zika virus, and develop resources and renewable energy strategies.[221]

Obama declared a "fresh era" of relations to help Argentina's credibility in the Latin American region and the world, and announced trade and economic initiatives to reset the countries' relations after years of tension.[222]

Colombia

See also: Colombia United States relations

Obama continued Plan Colombia, a diplomatic aid initiative launched by President Bill Clinton to aid Colombia's economy. Partially as a result of Plan Colombia, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos negotiated an agreement with the guerrilla organization FARC.[223] Though Colombia remained a major producer of drugs, it saw remarkable progress in the reduction of kidnappings, homicides, and unemployment.[223] In addition to continuing Plan Colombia, Obama appointed Bernard Aronson as a special envoy to the peace process between the Colombian government and FARC in order to facilitate negotiations.[223] However, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and others criticized Obama for engaging with FARC, an organization that appears on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.[223] Obama promised a continuation of its policy of financial aid to Colombia in the aftermath of the proposed peace deal.[224]

Venezuela

Further information: United StatesVenezuela relations

The Obama administration approved $5 million annual budget for backing opposition activities against the Venezuelan government.[225]

While Obama set a conciliatory tone for his relations with Venezuela during his candidacy, saying he would be willing to meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez without preconditions at a July 23, 2007, presidential debate,[226] the Venezuelan leader had been fickle in his opinion of Obama. Even during the election he varied from liking Obama to saying that nothing would change with the US.

In January 2009 Chavez derided Obama as taking the same stance toward Venezuela as Bush, but the next month, as the price of oil fell, Chavez communicated openness to discussions with the Obama administration.[227] On February 15, 2009, Chavez said, "Any day is propitious for talking with President Barack Obama,"[228] but said later that month that he "couldn't care less" about meeting the new U.S. president[229] ahead of an impending confrontation between the two leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, in mid-April.[230]

However, as recently as the first week of March, Chavez called upon Obama to follow the path to socialism, which he termed as the "only" way out of the global recession. "Come with us, align yourself, come with us on the road to socialism. This is the only path. Imagine a socialist revolution in the United States", Chavez told a group of workers in the southern Venezuelan state of Bolivar. He said that people were calling Obama a "socialist" for the measures of state intervention he is taking to counter the crisis, so it would not be too far-fetched to suggest that he might join the project of "21st century socialism" that the Venezuelan leader is heading.

Later in March he referred to Obama as a "poor ignoramus" for not knowing the situation in Latin America and even implied that Brazil's President Lula was not completely happy with his meeting with Obama. However the Brazilian Foreign Ministry denied that this was the case.[231]

In Tokyo in early April, where he attended meetings to discuss trade deals with the Japanese, Chavez said he was not biased against the Obama administration and he fully supported the idea of a 21st-century free from conflict.

In Trinidad on April 17, 2009, Obama and Chavez met for the first time, with the former asking in Spanish, "Come estas?" Later, Chavez walked over to Obama during the summit, and handed him a copy of The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, an essay about U.S. and European economic and political interference in the region. During the summit, Obama is reported to have said, to much applause, "We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms, but I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations".

Other issues

NSA spying scandal

See also: Global surveillance disclosures (2013present)

In early 2013 Edward Snowden leaked to the media a trove of documents on the Obama administration's controversial mass surveillance campaign. These revelations have strained relationships between Obama and the foreign leaders that his administration is spying on.[232][233][234][235] Fears of American spy software have also cost several American companies contracts for export work.[236][237][238]

Muslim relations

See also: A New Beginning

On January 26, 2009, Obama gave his first formal interview as president to the Arabic-language television news channel Al Arabiya.[239][240] Obama said that, "My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy."[239] Obama mentioned that he had spent several years growing up in the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, and called for resumed negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.[239] Obama's gesture in reaching out to the Muslim world was unprecedented for a U.S. president.[240]

President Obama's first trip to a Muslim majority country occurred on April 67, 2009 when he visited Turkey and spoke to the Grand National Assembly.[241]

President Obama addressed the Muslim world in a speech in Cairo, Egypt on June 4, 2009.[20] In that speech President Obama issued a call for "a new beginning" in the relationship between the United States and Muslims around the world. He outlined his ideas about "engaging the Muslim world" and how to create "a new beginning."

Farah Pandith was appointed as the State Department's "first ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities" and was sworn in on September 15, 2009.[242]

She describes her responsibilities as including actively listening and responding to "the concerns of Muslims in Europe, Africa, and Asia."[242]

Missile defense

In 2012 Obama promised more flexibility on missile defense after his reelection,[243] this flexibility was demonstrated the next year when Kerry offered to reduce American defenses against Chinese missiles.[244]

See also

  • Yemen model
  • Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State
  • List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama
  • Global war on terrorism
    • Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, by Robert M. Gates
  • Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. soldier released in 2014 in exchange for the "Taliban Five".

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Retrieved 4 July 2013. ^ "Washington Declaration on Defense Cooperation between The Department of Defense of the United States and the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force" (PDF). New Zealand Herald. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2013. ^ Ayson, Robert; David Capie (17 July 2012). "Part of the Pivot? The Washington Declaration and US-NZ Relations" (PDF). Asia Pacific Bulletin (172). ^ Gilbert, Jonathan (March 23, 2016). "President Obama's Argentina Visit Is All About Trade". Fortune. Retrieved March 23, 2016. ^ "Remarks by President Obama and President Macri of Argentina in Joint Press Conference". White House Office of the Press Secretary obamawhitehouse.archives.gov. February 5, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2016. ^ Davis, Julie Hirschfield; Gilbert, Jonathan (March 23, 2016). "Obama Declares a New Partnership After Talks With Argentine Leader". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016. ^ a b c d Toosi, Nahal (1 February 2016). "Obama tees up a much-needed foreign policy win in Colombia". Politico. Retrieved 18 February 2016. ^ Lederman, Josh (4 February 2016). "Peace Deal in Reach, Obama Says US to Help Colombia Rebuild". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 February 2016. ^ "Congressional Budget Justification Volume 2 FOREIGN OPERATIONS" U.S. Department of State, 2014 ^ Obama / Clinton on meeting anti-US leaders. CNN/YouTube. February 7, 2008. Archived from the original on July 17, 2009. ^ Miller, Michael (18 February 2009). "Chavez's Latest Victory an Opportunity for Obama". Newsweek. ^ "Venezuela President Chavez Ready to Talk to US President Obama". Novinite. February 15, 2009. ^ "'Couldn't care less' about meeting Obama: Chavez". AFP. February 27, 2009. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. ^ Ramjeet, Oscar (February 2, 2009). "Obama and Chavez to meet in Trinidad in April". Caribbean Net News. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. ^ "Venezuela's Chavez calls Obama "ignoramus"". Reuters. March 22, 2009. Retrieved 2012-09-29. ^ NSA leaks strain US-German relationship, retrieved 2016-10-12 ^ Murray, Warren (2013-06-13). "Edward Snowden's NSA surveillance revelations strain China-US relations". The Guardian. ISSN0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-10-12. ^ "NSA revelations strain U.S. relations with a friendly Brazil". Pew Research Center. 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2016-10-12. ^ Karnitschnig, Matthew (February 9, 2014). "NSA Flap Strains Ties With Europe". The Wall Street Journal. ^ "Insight: How U.S. spying cost Boeing multibillion-dollar jet contract". Reuters. December 20, 2013. ^ "Revelations of N.S.A. Spying Cost U.S. Tech Companies". The New York Times. March 21, 2014. ^ "NSA Spying Risks $35 Billion in U.S. Technology Sales". Bloomberg. ^ a b c "Obama tells Al Arabiya peace talks should resume". Al Arabiya. January 27, 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2009-02-08. ^ a b MacLeod, Scott (January 28, 2009). "How Al-Arabiya Got the Obama Interview". Time. ^ "Obama reaches out to Muslim world". BBC News. BBC. April 6, 2009. ^ a b "U.S. Confirms First Special Representative To Muslim Communities". Radio Free Europe. September 16, 2009. ^ "Obama explains 'flexibility' on missile defense". USA Today. March 27, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2013. ^ Gordon, Michael R. (April 13, 2013). "Kerry Makes Arms Overture To Woo China". New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2013.

Further reading

  • Bentley, Michelle, and Jack Holland, eds. The Obama Doctrine: A Legacy of Continuity in US Foreign Policy? (Routledge, 2016).
  • Bentley, Michelle and Jack Holland, eds. Obama's Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror (Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy) (2013) excerpt and text search
  • Bush, Richard C. "United States Policy towards Northeast Asia" SERI Quarterly (2013) 6#2 online re China and Korea
  • Calculli, Marina. "Mirage of Retrenchment: Obama and the Syrian Conflict." in Marco Clementi et al. eds., US Foreign Policy in a Challenging World (Springer, 2017) pp 279296.
  • Inbar, Efraim, and Jonathan Rynhold, eds. US foreign policy and global standing in the 21st century: Realities and perceptions (Routledge, 2016).
    • Gilboa, Eytan. "Public opinion and Obamas foreign policy." in Efraim Inbar and Jonathan Rynhold, eds., US Foreign Policy and Global Standing in the 21st Century: Realities and Perceptions (2016): 63-88.
  • Indurthy, Rathnam. "The Obama Administration's Strategy in Afghanistan," International Journal on World Peace (Sept 2011) 28#3 pp 752.
  • Indyk, Martin S., Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Michael E. O'Hanlon. Bending History: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy (Brookings FOCUS Book) (2012) excerpt and text search
  • Koffler, Keith Does Obama have any Foreign Policy successes? (2014), [1] general assessment by country
  • Krieg, Andreas. "Externalizing the burden of war: the Obama Doctrine and US foreign policy in the Middle East." International Affairs 92.1 (2016): 97-113.
  • Laidi, Zaki. Limited Achievements: Obama's Foreign Policy (2012), a view from Paris
  • Mann, James. The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power (2012)
  • O'Hanlon, Michael E., et al. Bending History: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy (Brookings FOCUS Book) (2012)
  • Rasul-Ronning, Zubaida. Conflicted Power: Obama's US Foreign and Strategic Policy in a Shifting World Order (2012) excerpt and text search
  • Sanger, David E. Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power (2012)
  • Singh, Robert, Barack Obama's Post-American Foreign Policy: The Limits of Engagement (2012) excerpt and text search
  • Watson, Robert P., ed. The Obama Presidency: A Preliminary Assessment (State University of New York Press; 2012) 443 pages; essays by scholars

Primary sources

  • Davis, John, ed. Foreign Policy Speeches of Obama (2011)

External links

  • The Obama Moment: European and American Perspectives European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Travels of the Obama Presidency slideshow by ABC News
  • How the World Sees Barack Obama slideshow by Life
  • v
  • t
  • e
Barack Obama
  • 44th President of the United States (20092017)
  • U.S. Senator from Illinois (20052008)
  • Illinois Senator from the 13th district (19972004)
Life and politics
  • Early life and career
  • Illinois Senate career
  • 2004 Democratic National Convention
  • U.S. Senate career
  • Political positions
    • Administration foreign policy
    • Economic
    • Energy
    • Mass surveillance
    • Social
    • Space
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • West Wing Week
Presidency
  • Transition
  • 2009 inauguration
  • 2013 inauguration
  • First 100 days
  • Timeline
    • 2009
    • 2010
    • 2011
    • 2012
    • 2013
    • 2014
    • 2015
    • 2016
    • January 2017
  • Foreign policy
    • War in Afghanistan
    • Iraq withdrawal
    • Death of Osama bin Laden
    • Iran deal
    • Cuban thaw
    • Obama Doctrine
  • Health Care reform
  • Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
  • New START
  • Pardons
  • Presidential trips
    • international
    • 2009
    • 2010
    • 2011
    • 2012
    • 2013
    • 2014
    • 2015
    • 2016
  • Judicial appointments
    • Supreme Court
    • controversies
  • Cabinet
  • Presidential Library and Center
Books
  • Dreams from My Father (1995)
  • The Audacity of Hope (2006)
  • Of Thee I Sing (2010)
Speeches
  • "The Audacity of Hope" (2004)
  • "Yes We Can" (2008)
  • "A More Perfect Union" (2008)
  • "Change Has Come to America" (2008)
  • "A New Birth of Freedom" (2009)
  • Joint session of Congress (2009)
  • "A New Beginning" (2009)
  • Joint session of Congress (health care reform) (2009)
  • State of the Union Address
    • 2010
    • 2011
    • 2012
    • 2013
    • 2014
    • 2015
    • 2016
  • Tucson memorial speech (2011)
  • Joint session of Congress (jobs) (2011)
  • "You didn't build that" (2012)
  • Selma 50th anniversary (2015)
  • Farewell address (2017)
Elections
  • Illinois State Senate election, 1996, 1998, 2002
  • Illinois's 1st congressional district election, 2000
  • United States Senate election, 2004
  • Democratic presidential primaries, 2008
  • 2012
    • Obama primary campaign, 2008
  • Democratic National Convention, 2008
  • 2012
  • Presidential campaign, 2008
    • endorsements
    • GOP/conservative support
  • Presidential election, 2008
  • Presidential campaign, 2012
    • endorsements
  • Presidential election, 2012
    • international reactions
Family
  • Michelle Obama (wife)
  • Ann Dunham (mother)
  • Barack Obama Sr. (father)
  • Lolo Soetoro (step-father)
  • Maya Soetoro-Ng (maternal half-sister)
  • Stanley Armour Dunham (maternal grandfather)
  • Madelyn Dunham (maternal grandmother)
  • Marian Shields Robinson (mother-in-law)
  • Craig Robinson (brother-in-law)
  • Bo (family dog)
  • Sunny (family dog)
Public imageNews and
political events
  • Oprah Winfrey's endorsement
  • Citizenship conspiracy theories
    • litigation
    • legislation
  • Religion conspiracy theories
  • Bill Ayers controversy
  • Jeremiah Wright controversy
  • Republican and conservative support (2008)
  • Assassination threats
    • 2008 Denver
    • 2008 Tennessee
  • First inauguration invitations
  • Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial
  • Citizen's Briefing Book
  • Tea Party protests
  • New Energy for America
  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
  • Gates-Crowley Rose Garden meeting
  • Firing of Shirley Sherrod
  • Impeachment efforts
Books about
  • Bibliography
  • Obama: From Promise to Power
  • Barack Obama: Der schwarze Kennedy
  • Redemption Song
  • The Case Against Barack Obama
  • The Obama Nation
  • Culture of Corruption
  • Catastrophe
  • Barack and Michelle
  • The Speech
  • The Obama Story
  • Game Change
  • Game Change 2012
  • Rising Star
Music
  • Obama Girl
    • "I Got a Crush... on Obama"
  • "Barack the Magic Negro"
  • will.i.am
    • "Yes We Can"
    • "We Are the Ones"
  • "There's No One as Irish as Barack O'Bama"
  • "Si Se Puede Cambiar"
  • "My President"
  • "Deadheads for Obama"
  • "Air and Simple Gifts"
  • Change Is Now
  • Hope! Das Obama Musical
  • "Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney"
  • Barack's Dubs
  • "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"
Film
  • By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009)
  • Change (2010)
  • 2016: Obama's America (2012)
  • The Road We've Traveled (2012)
  • Southside with You (2016)
  • Barry (2016)
Other media
  • On social media
  • Artists for Obama
  • "Hope" poster
  • "Joker" poster
  • Situation Room
  • Obama logo
  • In comics
Miscellaneous
  • Barack Obama Day (Illinois)
  • Obama Day (Kenya)
  • Awards and honors
  • Namesakes
  • < George W. Bush
  • Donald Trump >
  • Wikipedia book Book
  • Category Category
  • v
  • t
  • e
Hillary Clinton
  • 67th United States Secretary of State (20092013)
  • U.S. Senator from New York (20012009)
  • First Lady of the United States (19932001)
Secretary
of State
  • Tenure as Secretary
  • Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review
  • Foreign policy of the Obama administration
  • Hillary Doctrine
  • Email controversy
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1888
    • UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict
U.S. Senator
  • Senate career
  • Family Entertainment Protection Act
  • Flag Protection Act of 2005
First Lady
  • 1993 health care reform
  • Hillaryland
  • Travel office controversy
  • FBI files controversy
  • "Vast right-wing conspiracy"
  • Vital Voices
  • Save America's Treasures
  • State Children's Health Insurance Program
  • Adoption and Safe Families Act
  • Foster Care Independence Act
  • White House Millennium Council
    • National Millennium Trail
Arkansas
  • Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
  • Rose Law Firm
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • Whitewater controversy
  • Cattle futures controversy
Philanthropic
  • Clinton Foundation
    • State Department controversy
  • Onward Together
Speeches
and policies
  • Political positions
  • "Women's Rights Are Human Rights" (1995)
  • "Basket of deplorables" (2016)
Writings
  • Bibliography
  • Senior thesis (1969)
  • It Takes a Village (1996)
  • Dear Socks, Dear Buddy (1998)
  • An Invitation to the White House (2000)
  • Living History (2003)
  • Hard Choices (2014)
  • Stronger Together (2016)
  • What Happened (2017)
Electoral
history
  • New York senatorial elections
    • 2000
    • 2006
  • 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries
    • campaign
    • endorsements
    • debates
    • convention
  • 2016 United States presidential election
    • campaign
    • endorsements
      • political
      • non-political
    • Democratic primaries
      • debates
      • convention
    • General election debates
    • Hillary Victory Fund
Legacy
  • Awards and honors
  • Books about
  • Cultural and political image
Popular culture
  • Saturday Night Live parodies
  • Hillary and Clinton (2016 play)
Family
  • Bill Clinton (husband
  • presidency)
  • Chelsea Clinton (daughter)
  • Hugh E. Rodham (father)
  • Dorothy Howell Rodham (mother)
  • Hugh Rodham (brother)
  • Tony Rodham (brother)
  • Socks (cat)
  • Buddy (dog)
  • Whitehaven (house)
  • Wikipedia book Book
  • v
  • t
  • e
John KerryCareer
  • Military career
  • 2004 Democratic National Convention
  • 2004 campaign
  • VP selection process
  • KerryFeingold Amendment
  • Sponsored legislation
Elections
  • Senate election, 1984
  • Senate election, 1990
  • Senate election, 1996
  • Senate election, 2002
  • 2004 United States presidential election
  • Senate election, 2008
Related
  • Going Upriver
  • The New Soldier
  • Military service controversy
    • swiftboating
    • Unfit for Command
Family
  • Forbes family
  • Teresa Heinz
  • Julia Thorne
  • Alexandra Kerry
  • Vanessa Kerry
  • Richard Kerry
  • Rosemary Forbes Kerry
  • Cameron Kerry
  • v
  • t
  • e
Public policy of the United States
  • Agricultural
  • Arctic
  • Climate change (G. W. Bush)
  • Domestic (Reagan, G. W. Bush)
  • Drug
  • Economic (G. W. Bush, Obama)
  • Energy (Obama)
  • Environmental
  • Fiscal
  • Foreign (History, Criticism, Reagan, G. H. W. Bush, Clinton, G. W. Bush, Obama, Trump)
  • Gun control (Clinton)
  • Low-level radioactive waste
  • Monetary
  • Native American (Nixon, Obama)
  • Nuclear energy
  • Science
  • Social (Obama)
  • Space (G. W. Bush, Obama, Trump)
  • Stem cell
  • Telecommunications
  • Trade
  • Visa
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Foreign_policy_of_the_Barack_Obama_administration&oldid=902360683"
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