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The Eyes of the World

Posted by on Sep 24, 2009 in Foreing Policy, Israel, President Obama | 0 comments

It seems it has been a rough week for President Obama.  Although he is battling mightily for health care reform, he still has a long way to go to build consensus.  On the foreign policy front, he is having even more difficulty.  His inability to create consensus of any sort in the Israeli – Palestinian issue is most troubling.  For he willingly entered as a moderator of sorts in the peace process, but was soundly rebuffed by Netanyahu.

Obama’s call for a jewish settlement freeze went nowhere.  This creates issues not only for the ultimate prospects of peace in the region, but signals the world that the U.S. President is incapable of reversing any decision of “No.”  I found the following article in the Jerusalem Post that more specifically describes the problem.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1253627550527&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Debating issues with students and faculty as a law professor does not really help one develop the negotiation skills essential to a world leader. Let’s hope somehow President Obama learns to negotiate the tough issues with better success.

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Obama / Bush?

Posted by on Jun 25, 2009 in Ahmadinejad, Democracy, Foreing Policy, Iran, President Bush, President Obama | 0 comments

Iranian President Ahmadinejad is now comparing President Obama to President Bush. Apparently, Ahmadinejad takes issue with our U.S. President recognizing incivility and tyranny when he sees it. For those who support President Obama, this should be an encouraging development.

Recall Hillary Clinton’s warnings during the 2008 campaign that the Presidency is no place to learn on the job? (With regard to foreign policy experience.) Well it seems that while President Obama undeniably required on-the-job training in foreign policy, he appears to be a quick study.
President Obama rightly considered the calculus with recognizing the turmoil in Iran. If he said nothing in response to the images of Iranian citizens being beaten and otherwise oppressed, he would have tacitly validated such actions. This would not only be morally wrong, but antithetical to everything the United States stands for, and was founded upon.
The theoretical “downside” to President Obama (rightly) condemning the Iranian electoral irregularities and suppression of all opposition, involves damage to U.S./Iranian relations. However, the question becomes: “What is the extent of those relations, and how, if at all, can they be any worse?” President Ahmadinejad cares little for the U.S., and cares even less what the world community has said about the Iranian Nuclear Program. Thus, the U.S. and the world community have more to gain if the protesters somehow obtain redress, than we would gain by avoiding the aspersions of the current Iranian government.
Although supporters of President Obama surely cringe at comparisons made between he and President Bush, they should take solace in the statement as a compliment. President Bush may have made foreign policy mistakes, but he always spoke out in favor of taking action to support and secure democracies in a very troubled area of the world. I was not sure if President Obama would follow the same course. He has proven me wrong in this instance, and I gladly accept my error.
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