President Obama Foreign Policy Essay

Analysis of the results of foreign policy of two successive administrations – B. Clinton and George W. Bush. – allows us to conclude that the main content of the international course of the world leader is unchanged. For sixteen years, the United States, in critical situations for itself or its allies, has not hesitated to resort to unilateral actions, the use of force, etc., ignoring the decisions of the UN and world public opinion. Of course, the president himself, and his personal qualities, left an imprint on those or other decisions, but the international situation was definitely determining. Naturally, the US reaction to external challenges before September 11, 2001, and after that date, differed fundamentally, because the country felt itself at war. The main thing – the continuation of offensive tactics arises as a result of a kind of vacuum.

The anniversary conference of NATO, formally culminating in a demonstration of unity and the successful presentation of B. Obama as the leader of the “Western world” (if this term still has the right to exist), left more questions than it answered. First of all, to the main question – who and to what extent will really participate in the hostilities of Afghanistan, when and under what conditions NATO will expand further, what NATO will do in the context of expanding its responsibility to a global scale.

The distribution of roles in the office of B. Obama, where the vice president plays the role of a hawk, the secretary of state is the dove, and the president himself, as it should be, the supreme arbiter, also speaks of relative continuity with the previous administration.

In the current discussion between the European Union and the United States of America on the development of a European security and defense policy, the arguments on the distribution of the burden and the sharing of power merged into a single whole. If the United States has learned to recognize the development of equitable and thereby competitive transatlantic economic relations, the European Union’s initiative regarding security policy raises doubts in Washington dictated by politics. This policy is seen primarily as a potential threat, as competition with NATO, and not as an opportunity for future redistribution of the military burden. Europeans, by contrast, believe that a European security and defense policy does not pose a threat to NATO, and that they need, in any case, to gain the ability to act independently in terms of defense policy, if they consider it necessary.

True, the current ability of Europeans to create such military structures seems limited due to lack of money and weak infrastructure. In the foreseeable future, the European armed forces are unlikely to become truly independent from NATO, so the United States will continue to maintain a dominant position within the North Atlantic Alliance. However, the question arises whether the Europeans will be able to create such a military potential that will allow them to act in crisis situations, such as those that arose, for example, in the Balkans. After the war in Kosovo and the subsequent overcoming of Europe’s military weakness, an element of pride is seen in the efforts of Europeans to develop a viable security and defense policy. This is a logical continuation of the basic idea underlying European integration, and the desire to better balance transatlantic relations.

What “balance” means in the political sense is not yet clear. Europeans talk about the redistribution of burden, responsibility and power. The Americans are concerned that the division of labor will be reduced to entrusting the United States with the lion’s share of military hardship and responsibility in crisis situations. The challenge in itself would consist, in fact, of unraveling the burden, power and responsibility within a large-scale system of the alliance, which would be able to respond in a dosed manner to crises and threats. This vision still needs to be specified on both sides of the Atlantic.

To the credit of Obama, it should be noted that he made truly titanic efforts in order to change the attitude of the United States to the outside world and more organically fit the country into the emerging historical context of the 21st century. To his surprise, he succeeds well. In less than a year, the president completely revised the fundamental concept of American foreign policy regarding several important geopolitical issues: Islam is not an enemy, and the current role of the United States in the world is not determined by the “global war on terror”; The United States will play the role of a just and persistent mediator in achieving a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine; Washington should engage in serious negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, as well as other issues; the fight against the rebel movement in those provinces of Afghanistan that are under the control of the Taliban should be primarily political, not military.

Paradoxical as it may seem, despite Obama’s expressed desire, it seems that Washington has fewer prospects for improving its strategically important relations with its closest political, economic and military partner, Europe. 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.

In the context of globalization, centripetal tendencies and a growing desire for economic and political integration are clearly revealed. Relations between the United States and the European Union can be seen as a partnership with certain features inherent in integration.

The transatlantic partnership has characteristics characteristic of integration, such as a common historical and cultural heritage, shared values ​​(democracy, human rights, market economy), a high degree of economic and trade relations, and security cooperation. The Transatlantic Partnership is developing on an institutional basis (NATO) and through constant, direct contacts between the United States and EU institutions.

At the same time, the US-EU partnership has its own characteristics. First of all, it is the global nature of relations that is directly related to dynamics and is part of the globalization process. Another feature is the eccentricity of partners.

Both the US and the EU are world centers, the USA is the undisputed world leader, and the European Union is the center of pluralistic democracy and a key player in the global market economy.

Thus, the nature of the transatlantic partnership directly affects the development of the entire world community.

The collapse of Bush’s foreign policy was an important lesson; he showed that even a strong state like the United States cannot achieve its goals in today’s international space without significant contributions from the allies. Another consequence of Bush’s failed policy was that the task of getting support has now become much more complex. The next president should re-create the moral foundation for American international leadership and convince Europeans to join the United States in a genuine partnership to combat the threats of the modern world. Some will show understandable restraint, others will be sharply against it. The problems that the world community has encountered are so great that they must be resolved by joint efforts.

But even after the Bush presidency and in the face of these enormous problems, there remains the hope of a successful resolution. His reign was such an obvious disaster that you just need to re-create the conditions for a new era of transatlantic relations. The new administration will again have to gain a leading position in the international arena. This process is fraught with hidden dangers for US allies. The burden of international leadership will be distributed more evenly.

The United States, in turn, faced significant difficulties in relations with the outside world after the Iraq war. The failure of the American course towards Afghanistan and Iraq led George W. Bush’s foreign policy team (during his second presidential term) to begin a gradual retreat from unilateralist principles, recognizing the limitations of unilateral politics. The United States proved to be very ineffective in the role of a “peacemaker” in resolving the domestic political situation, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. In this situation, Washington again had to seek a compromise with the European allies in the form of a new transatlantic deal. Foreign policy mistakes led the American leadership to understand the need to revive relations with traditional allies and international institutions, without which the implementation of the US global strategy would be impossible. Without international participation in the process of resolving the Iraqi and Afghan crises, an emphasized unilateral policy would inevitably lead to an extraordinary dispersal of forces (violation of the “exit strategy” that pragmatic Republicans intended to adhere to) and, as a result, to imperial overstrain, the danger of which was repeatedly warned by critically minded experts. / 19, p. 85 / If, at the initial stage of the “global war on terrorism” (to which some members of the foreign policy team of George W. Bush attributed the war in Iraq), the USA adhered to the principle “who is not with us is against us”, preferring to deal not with allies, but with satellites, which could not be directed but commanded, then the harsh tone of the American administration became more restrained, and Washington’s Euro-Atlantic policy became more balanced and open to dialogue with European partners. To a large extent this was facilitated by personnel changes in the Pentagon, the result of which was the departure of such influential political figures as Deputy Minister of Defense P. Volfowitz and Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Defense Policy R. Pearl and, finally, Minister of Defense D. Rumsfeld himself, who earned the fame of “political hawk” “.

First of all, it must be said that Europe has very high expectations regarding the administration of Barack Obama. A recent opinion poll shows that in every European country, more than 75 percent of the population expects improved relations between their country, the European Union, and the United States. To understand these sentiments, one must return to the legacy that President Barack Obama received from his predecessor, President Bush. Bush’s two terms led to a great complication in relations between the USA and Europe, to an increase in distrust of the USA in Europe, to the spread of not only anti-Bushism, but also anti-Americanism in Europe. With the advent of Barack Obama, expectations of decisive change are associated. It is about transforming US policy in several areas. First of all, this is the rejection of exclusively unilateral actions in the international arena and the transition to more serious, thoughtful, permanent consultations with allies in Europe.

The United States is expected to change policies in areas such as climate change. This is very important for Europeans. In Europe, welcomed the first steps of President Barack Obama aimed at closing the prison in Guantanamo and so on. These steps can be listed, but on the whole, rapprochement in approaches to world problems, the rejection of unilateral actions is expected. Americans are expected to pay more attention to the values ​​shared by Europeans.

A number of experts believed that Europeans would be somewhat disappointed with the policies of the Barack Obama administration. Europeans expected Barack Obama to be their partner in all foreign policy initiatives. But the possibility of disappointment was very great. Many experts predicted that the United States would once again use Europe, perhaps Europe’s help to solve the Afghan problem, the problem in Iraq, but no real equal treatment of Europe could be expected.

In July 2008, the US House of Representatives approved a resolution expressing support for the further expansion of NATO and stating that “not a single state outside of NATO” has a vote in deciding who can be a member of the alliance. “Any decision regarding NATO membership will be made by NATO members by consensus, and no state outside of NATO has the right to vote or veto such decisions,” the resolution said in which US lawmakers congratulated Albania and Croatia on their receipt invitations to join the alliance.

The document also stated that the US Congress supports the expansion of NATO and believes that continued interaction with all countries that aspire to NATO will strengthen security for all states in the Euro-Atlantic region. The US Congress fully supports the invitation to begin an intensive NATO dialogue with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. ”

Experts believe that the newly elected US President Barack Obama will continue the foreign policy of the former administration in the post-Soviet space, aimed at expanding NATO at the expense of the CIS countries. The policy towards Georgia and Ukraine, decisions on whose membership in NATO has already been made in many respects, will be continued, because for the United States this is of vital interest. This is access to the energy resources of the Caspian and Central Asia, and the post-Soviet space in this sense is of tremendous interest. It does not seem that the Barack Obama administration will abandon the further expansion of NATO and, in general, the development of trans-Atlantic relations.

Back in January 2008, Barack Obama made the following statement: “I welcome the decision of President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Speaker of the Parliament Arseniy Yatsenyuk to announce Ukraine’s readiness for an action plan for membership in NATO. Distribution of NATO membership to new democracies in Europe helped create a zone of stability and prosperity on the continent and strengthened NATO’s military potential thanks to the contribution of new members, therefore I welcome the commitment of Ukrainian leaders to deepening democratic reforms, which are required of all NATO members, and the adoption of a new responsibility in their relations with the Alliance. The determination of Ukrainian leaders to promote national unity and consult with the Ukrainian people on the issue of NATO membership in the future shows the importance they attach to national unity and an open, democratic discussion. The upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest in April is a critical opportunity to continue building a “holistic and free” Europe, which was the goal of all the last presidents US. I urge President Bush and all NATO leaders to seize this opportunity.

The new US administration continues the course of expanding its presence in the post-Soviet space under the name “course of expanding democracy.” / 24 / This is an ideological rationale for the expansion of NATO and the practice of regime change. This policy turns the international system into a certain system based on the interaction of democracies as the most secure, according to many American experts, players. However, this does not take into account that democracies in the practice of regime change do not always work, and if they do, they are often unsafe.

In the course of such a policy, new opportunities for compromise can be found (in relations between the Russian Federation and the USA), but at the same time there is a long-term continuity (of American foreign policy), as well as economic and military-political interests. And it can hardly be ruled out that the US initiatives in the post-Soviet space that the American administration has undertaken over the past 15 years will be curtailed.

The US administration also does not abandon the project of deploying missile defense elements in Europe. The concept of national security from the middle of the 20th century, and possibly earlier, is that the United States seeks to provide external, global conditions for its national security. US interests are global. And missile defense in Europe is part of the draft global missile defense system of the United States. / 22 /

The United States still intends to install a radar in the Czech Republic and ten interceptor missiles in Poland under the pretext of protecting itself from an alleged threat from Iran.

Russia fears that these systems may be directed against its security. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier that Russia, as a response to deploying a US missile defense system in Europe, could install the Iskander operational-tactical missile system in the Kaliningrad Region and carry out electronic suppression of anti-ballistic missile defense elements.

Pursuing policies to expand NATO eastward, the United States is trying to change the strategic situation in the world. Although the alliance remained a military-political alliance, with some transformation towards political decisions, the essence of the alliance has not changed: it is, first of all, the struggle against Russian influence, and only then – the struggle against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

Since 1994, the United States has been actively advocating the expansion of NATO through an open door policy that is strikingly different from the EU’s approach, which has become an elite club. As a result of the third round of expansion, which is due to take place in 2009-2010, three states of the Western Balkans will become NATO members. The fourth round, which includes the inclusion of CIS countries in the alliance, may stall events in Georgia and Ukraine and around them.

So, as conclusions, we can say that the Barack Obama administration partially continues the Bush administration’s policy, hoping for more active participation of Europe in the measures that NATO is taking in Afghanistan. Different European NATO members approach this issue in different ways. There are states that are more actively involved, and there are states that are extremely reluctant to send their military to Afghanistan, and if they do, they make many reservations in which geographical areas they operate, in which they will not operate. As a rule, they do not operate in southern Afghanistan, where the most difficult situation is. The rules for their introduction into hostilities and so on are discussed. That is, despite the greater US attention to the NATO instrument under the administration of Barack Obama, a lot of difficulties are expected on the most important issue for NATO now, that is, on the issue of interaction in Afghanistan. Most Europeans are not ready to expand their presence in Afghanistan.

Europeans will go on this very slowly, reluctantly and not to the extent that the United States would like to see. First of all, this is due to the internal political situation in Europe, where the public does not see the need to send their armed forces to such a remote and dangerous region. This is not connected with the attitude of Europeans towards Bush, it is connected with the attitude of Europeans towards the use of military force far beyond Europe.