Democrat Barack Obama’s election program was marked by a moderate foreign policy position. In his program, then the future president advocated the use of multilateral approaches in expanding the number of democratic states, using the concepts of pragmatism, “new Atlantism” and globalism.
After the election, Obama somewhat changed his course, and the current vector of his foreign policy allows us to judge the focus, first of all, on eliminating threats to national and world security, in the person of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as numerous Islamic groups.
According to B. Obama, the starting point of US foreign policy is global cooperation based on mutual interests and mutual respect. And although there are certainly circumstances in which such an approach will not succeed, the US government will always be ready to listen to potential opponents and enter into a dialogue with them in the name of the national interests of the United States and the interests of the global community, hoping for the United States as a leader in security matters.
President Obama has also made clear his determination to engage in a deep and positive dialogue with Muslim communities around the world.
Secondly, he made it clear that the United States intended to fight Al Qaeda in order to defeat and destroy it.
Third, President Obama seeks to develop a unified approach to a wide range of global issues.
Of no small importance is the policy of the US Democratic Party, with the person of B. Obama the consolidation and development of transatlantic relations. Obama’s predecessor left a heavy legacy here, the impression of which the current president managed to smooth out a little in terms of public opinion. However, genuine strategic cooperation on a global scale is impossible with a partner who not only does not have an authoritative and clear political leadership, but even internal agreement on the global role that he should play.
Consequently, Obama’s intention to breathe new life into the transatlantic partnership is compelled to be limited to dialogues with three key European countries that have real power and great influence in the international arena – Great Britain, Germany and France. However, the usefulness of dialogue is weakened by personal and political differences between the leaders of these countries. It is unlikely that a single and therefore influential European position will be developed in the near future, on the basis of which Obama could effectively interact with Europe.
Both Washington and the President personally see the full cooperation of the United States and China as an important area of foreign policy.
At the same time, the policy of the current US administration towards China is very similar to the tactics of the Bush administration. The United States, under Obama’s leadership, is just as interested in maintaining economic ties and avoiding political complications as under Bush’s leadership.
Despite pacifist attitudes in his election speech, Obama changed his strategy in Afghanistan as follows, he moved from a completely defensive strategy to a mixed strategy of selective attack and defense, and transferred additional troops to Afghanistan (although the size of the US troops is still far from the size of the Soviet army when she lost her own Afghan war).
Thus, the essence of Obama’s policies remains the same as Bush’s, with the exception of a limited number of offensive operations. A major change since Obama came to the White House has been a change in the position of Pakistanis who pursue more aggressive policies (or at least they want to seem more aggressive) towards the Taliban and al-Qaeda, at least within their own borders. But even so, Obama’s basic strategy remains the same as Bush’s: to gain a foothold in Afghanistan until the political situation evolves until a political agreement can be reached.
At the same time, the war on terrorism is just an excuse for building up and justifying the timeless presence of the US and NATO military machines in the region. The events of September 11 and the outbreak of the “war on international terrorism” enabled Washington to create at least 19 new military bases in the Middle East and Central Asia. As a result, the US and NATO forces first appeared on the territory of post-Soviet states.
In addition to building democracy on the territory of Afghanistan and eliminating terrorist threats, the US desire to strengthen its influence in the Central Asian region is less obvious.
To this end, the following priorities of US official policy in Central Asia are developed:
1. Enhanced cooperation with Central Asian states to support the efforts of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as to establish stability in the region.
2. Development and diversification of energy resources in the region.
3. Support for political liberalization and respect for human rights.
4. Promoting the development of a market economy and economic reform.
5. Prevent the complete collapse of states.
It should be noted that the heads of state of the Central Asian region are wary of the presence of the United States in their Central Asia, not directly going to establish any relations with the United States, instead, they build their foreign policy on the basis of a multi-vector model, in which there is no favorite to establish a relationship.
Interesting is Obama’s campaign promise to resolve the Iraq conflict.
The first item on Obama’s agenda is the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, which he repeatedly voiced in his election campaign.
Obama’s promises during the election period do not fit in with the current state of the Iraq problem. We can conclude that formally the war will be over, but a certain US military presence will remain in Iraq, so to speak, for peacekeeping purposes.
But Barack Obama says almost nothing about mobilizing efforts to rebuild Iraq. In the current financial and economic crisis, this seems problematic. However, it is possible that politically and economically independent Iraq, which does not depend on a permanent American military presence, Obama, like Bush, is, in principle, not needed.
We can conclude that the Obama administration needs a new, post-Iraqi paradigm that takes into account local problems and balances the Iranian challenge with other US tasks. So far, it has come down to arms transfers to regional allies, economic sanctions and financial pressure, as well as attempts to create a diplomatic coalition of “moderate partners” – the Gulf countries plus Egypt, Jordan, and possibly Iraq.
In general, we can conclude that, having already spent a considerable term as president of the United States, B. Obama did much to correct the foreign policy mistakes of the administration of the previous president, George W. Bush
It is possible that in the future B. Obama’s foreign policy will become even more liberal, which will contribute to further improvement of the United States with the leading world powers and, as a result, will allow to increase the level of confidence in the United States.