To what extent did President Barack Obama manage to change the direction of US foreign policy?
The foreign policy of any country also termed as foreign affairs policy is comprised of those strategies chosen by states to safeguard the national interests and to attain the objectives within international relations. Foreign policies are framed in order to maintain a healthy relationship with one country to another and also to achieve honour and security.
The present study is concerned about the changes in the US foreign policy. The major goals of US foreign policy are national security, economic prosperity and creating a better world. Furthermore, the essay reflects the foreign policy that was drafted by the previous president and the changes and activities implemented by Barack Obama to meet the predetermined goals. It also outlines the various challenges that are faced by Barack Obama to manage the changes in previous policy (Goldberg, 2016). It also includes the reactions of the next president of the US regarding the plans designed by Barack Obama and the study emphasizes on the Case study of Iran nuclear deal and Cuba and Paris environment agreement.
Foreign policy is the way or method of dealing with other countries. In US, the ways that president can make foreign policies are:
Considering independent actions, the foreign policy is drafted by the choices and actions of the president itself. In the US, resolution and policy statements and legislative restrictions and fund denials are the ways by which Congress can make foreign policy. Some others include legislative directives, pressure, informal advice, and congressional oversight.
Preservation of national security and promoting world peace are the main foreign policy goals. Apart from these, marinating a balance of power among countries and facilitate foreign trade and global involvement are also some objectives (Terzi, 2016). Thus, in order to ensure successful and healthy work relationship with countries and promote democratic values, US foreign policies are drafted in a proper manner. In the US, the president has the responsibility to frame foreign policies. Also, to resolve the international issues, the president of the country along with the representatives meets with the leaders of various countries. The adviser and chief coordinator of the president to frame foreign policy is the secretary of the state.
The major steps that are taken into consideration while drafting US foreign policy are agenda setting, formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation. In the agenda setting, the issue or problem is considered, and then the possible strategies and policies are created. Government then after adopts a policy and the best suitable is implemented.
In the phase of evaluation, agencies and officials analyze and judge the effectiveness and success of the implemented policy. Foreign policy involves less publicity then domestic policy. The president of the country adopts mainly three tools for conducting foreign policy (Grevi, 2016).
In diplomacy, deal with other countries is done through discussion and negotiation. It further includes meeting of leaders of various countries. Diplomacy can be pursued in three ways i.e. unilaterally, bilaterally and multilaterally.
In this tool of foreign policy, the countries help each other in order to attain the goals of foreign policy and it can be of two type’s i.e. military aid and economic aid.
As per this tool, the country uses its military force to seek the objectives of foreign policy.
The actions that are taken under the foreign policy include that measure that provides support for a competitive economy and defence of nation’s border along with encouraging peace and freedom.
The history of the foreign policy is concerned with the overview of various trends regarding the US foreign policy. The major themes are:
The advisors of the foreign policy in the president ship of George. W. Bush was Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. The national security advisor and Vice President, Stephen Hadley and Dick Cheney respectively were also the main advisors.
Before serving as a president of the country, the president of the country had a great experience of foreign policymaking. Bush emphasized on drafting the foreign policies with the attributes of conservatism and pragmatism. He was concerned regarding the drafting of foreign policies so that the major goals of foreign policies can be achieved (Glaser and Thrall, 2017). The policy was mainly drafted to safeguard the interest of the country along with maintaining global peace. Bush did not focused towards drafting policies instantly but analyzed the administration policies first. As he has a good past experience of foreign affairs, he relied on various contacts within the international community.
The major goals of US foreign policy are:
The key highlights of George HW Bush’s foreign policy are:
The major objective of the foreign policy framed by George Bush is the maintaining the interaction with the other members of international community.
It has been assessed that Barack Obama continues Bush’s foreign policy and there are many areas such as military aspects that Bush’s continued the foreign policy of Obama.
Obama has adopted the use of drones as offensive weapons and intelligence gathering and reconnaissance operations.
The policies of Obama are not so different from Bush’s in terms for the desire of maximum flexibility. Obama has emphasized and choose to use the tools that are used by Bush because he feels that Bush has focused on protecting the country from another terrorist attack.
Barack Obama has emphasized on establishing and building collaborations and alliances so that the common challenges can be met easily and threats can be confronted.
However, there are some changes done by Barack Obama in the foreign polices implemented by George Bush.
The two presidents emphasized on spending more money and framing various policies and strategies regarding defence than any other administration. Obama has spent approximately $700 billion compared to Bush who spent $500 billion. In the government budget of the country, the military budget is an essential component (Brands, 2016). Bush launched the war of Iraq and Afghanistan, and on the other hand, Obama relied on technology and military intelligence.
In order to enhance economic growth and development, both presidents have adopted an expansionary fiscal policy.
Bush emphasized tax cuts to fight with the recession. He focused on designing tax rebates and launched “jobs and growth tax relief reconciliation act. Despite taking various steps, the tax cuts did not prove effective to create jobs.
On the other side, Obama passed the economic stimulus act that helped in created jobs in the field of infrastructure and education.
Bush signed various bilateral agreements with Chile, Australia, Jordan, Oman, Morocco, and Singapore. Obama supported the free trade agreements, but he didn’t fulfil the promise of the campaign to review all trade agreements.
Bush had passed the Bankruptcy prevention act in 2005, and the act made it difficult for the people to declare bankrupt. Thus, this resulted in taking home equity loans.
Obama outlines the economic policies in 2008 termed as a presidential election campaign (Fabbrini and Yossef, 2015). This regulated various non-bank financial companies and also regulated debit and credit cards.
It has been identified that Obama carried out certain changes in the foreign policy developed by Bush and the policy of Obama was directed towards developing strong and satisfactory relationship with other nations of the world. The foreign of policy developed and implemented by Bush was directed towards military development of US whereas Obama’s foreign policy emphasized on both military as well as economic development. Obama focused on carrying out reduction in the number of troops from 160000 to 50000 and by the end of 2010, Obama decided to remove all its combat forces. The president also emphasized a lot on transforming the overall presence of Afghanistan into a small training mission (Schweller, 2018). It can be expressed that the world was facing financial setback when Obama was elected as a president of USA. Furthermore, the unemployment was soaring in the country and at the same time there were millions of America who were struggling financially.
The changes in economic and foreign policy carried out by Obama have resulted in providing USA with an opportunity to recover faster from the economic setback. The foreign policy developed by Obama was also directed towards encouraging cooperation’s and understanding among different countries of the world. The allies and friends of USA welcomed the foreign policy and explained that the policy will play a vital role in growth and development of the nation. It has also been identified that the foreign policy of Obama was more aggressive in comparison with the foreign policy of Bush and this can be termed as one of the critical reasons because of which Obama’s policy has provided better and more effective outcomes (Lieber, 2016).
Barack Obama foreign policy has introduced the number of changes at the global scale. He has focused on a number of policies that can improve the relation with Asian and Arabic nations so that economic factor can be advanced. It has allowed the U.S. to present itself has a global partner in diverse trade activities. Ease of foreign relation and visa has also enhanced the migration ratio in the U.S. Re-setting of U.S. and Russian relationship program has also enhanced the positive factors in the global market (Yarhi-Milo, 2018). It has allowed attracting businesses to expand operations in the U.S. At the initial scale the Obama foreign policy has faced critical issues.
After completing the presidential-ship, the policy has allowed improving economic conditions. It has also allowed recovering in a faster manner in context to industrial democracies. Employment ratio has also been enhanced as compared to the year 2009. Wall Street has also gained record-breaking development. Also, health care coverage has also been improved by having an improvement in foreign policy.
Along with this, Obama foreign policy has also gained successful points in regard to negotiate a deal with Iran. It has also improved the political and diplomatic relation with Iran that has forced Iran authorities to halt the nuclear weapon process. He has also, focused on political and foreign relations to reduce the terrorist activities at the global stage. It is also a reason that Bin Laden was found eliminated during his administration. Strategic focus on the Asian market has been advanced that has allowed improving the trade activities within America. Different factors have been maintained in the Obama foreign policy such as humor, grace, intelligence, respect for American values and traditions (Basrur, 2017).
Obama administration has presented itself as a medium to bring changes in foreign policies. It has helped in resolving an array of issues with nations like Iraq and Afghanistan. America's relation and engagement with the world have boosted dramatically that was essential to deal with the number of outstanding issues. Economic and military issues were targeted under Obama foreign policy. Changes in policy have also reduced the reliability on large scale military actions (Pan and Turner, 2017). It has maximized the cooperation with other nations and enhanced the financial performance of the U.S. as well. However, Obama foreign policy failure was that enforcement in Syria was not successful.
Before Obama the George W. Bush was president and he has focused on various changes in foreign policy. He has focused on unresolved international problems. Also, he has considered the framing of foreign policy standards according to new threats to the security of Americans in different areas of the world. However, his foreign policy decisions have also enhanced the ratio of domestic terrorist attacks because many Islamic communities were not agreed with the statements of Bush. WTC terrorist attack can be considered as failure evidence behind Bush foreign policy. Under his foreign policy, the new cabinet-level agency has been framed named as Department of Homeland Security.
The key focus behind the policy change was to help in building free and prosperous societies. Also, the controversial Patriot Act has been proposed by Bush after September 11. Different codes of conducts were framed under the foreign policy to enhance the surveillance and investigation capabilities (Basrur, 2017).
In addition to this, it can be said that foreign policy of Bush was focused towards interactive activities with nations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and other regions. However, the drawback of Bush foreign policy was that it had not impacted positively on economic growth. The foreign policy of Bush has dramatically focused on security development. It is because the Bush foreign policy was less focused on international trade as compared to security and safety standards.
Few trade agreements proposed by Bush was focused on an agreement with countries like Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Singapore and Ukraine. Economic issues faced by the U.S. during the presidential period of Bush were that WTO had proposed some arbitrators against the U.S. due to the violation of global trade laws. It also indicates that international trade rules were not considered properly on the Bush foreign policy (Yarhi-Milo, 2018).
It has also been witnessed that WTO has also considered the unethical practice of the U.S. regarding Tariffs on imported steel. Bush foreign policy has covered security measures more credibly so that corrective measures can be taken into account (DeLisle, 2016). Through proper consideration of changes in context to integrated practices regarding security, the Bush has focused on improvement in foreign relations. International treaties are being promoted under the foreign policy of Bush. It means the Bush foreign policy is totally different as compared to Obama foreign policy.
There is a number of challenges that have been faced by Obama in regard to managing the change regarding foreign policy. It has been noticed that the international goodwill of the U.S. was adequate, but the trust factor was not accurate. It has created challenges for Obama to build a better relationship with other nations. It was essential for Obama to ensure in foreign policy that more concessions are being promoted. It was critical for Obama to bring changes in foreign policy respecting to economic conditions.
It was because the economic conditions of the U.S. were weaker as compared to G20 nations. It means the trade opportunities were very low and it was not allowing bringing changes because unstable economic conditions might create a negative influence on the U.S. Along with this, challenges in terms of military aspects were the critical factor that must be referred by Obama during changes in foreign policy (Lieber, 2016).
Previous president foreign policy was not having adequate relation with nations like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has created various military issues, so it was very critical and challenging for Obama to bring changes in such policies. Changes might have created a security risk for the U.S., so it was essential for Obama to have an evaluation of different factors related to military decisions. The issue of Dennis Blair was considered as the biggest threat to the U.S. It means the changes regarding the same in foreign policy must be implemented in such manner that social and economic factors could be balanced in an adequate manner.
Obama foreign policy changes were not easy because the Bush foreign policy was promoting the ideational concept. It has impacted the U.S. democracy and freedom to great context, so such issues need to be resolved in Obama foreign policy. Failure of moral leadership has also spotted during Bush foreign policy (Schweller, 2018).
It was necessary for Obama to design a foreign policy that can resolve issues and target moral leadership in a positive manner. One the key challenge for Obama in foreign policy was to balance the economic and military decisions properly. Previously such measures were not maintained that had created issues and conflicts of the U.S. in regard to economic condition. U.S. trade activities standards were not accurate that has influenced the working and economic development in a negative manner. It was necessary to frame standards that can help in improving economic conditions with maintaining global relation.
Trump as president has not believed much in the foreign policy of Obama, it is also a reason that he is more forced to bring changes in foreign policy. He has stated that traditional values of America need to be brought back for better recognition in the global market. The U.S. must present itself as the most powerful nation in the world and ignore external engagement in the practices. It is also a reason that Trump has passed presidential law that private firms need to provide reservations to Americans in the job.
He has brought various changes in Obama foreign policy to ensure that Americans are considered in prioritize manner. Obama was focused towards building new global relations to boost the trade activities, but Trump has believed in promoting self-capabilities (Fabbrini and Yossef, 2015). During the presidential time period of Obama the U.S. and Russia relations were improving, but after Trump, the relations are again facing issues. He is focused on passing a message that America believes in diplomacy and honors its diplomats (Krieg, 2016).
In the year 2015, Iran agreed and signed a long-term nuclear program deal with the world power countries which are USA, China, Russia, UK, France and Germany (BBC News, 2018). The deal was signed and sealed under the leadership of President Barack Obama and the deal was also considered as a agreement between Iran and other powerful countries of the world. The statement can be justified by the fact that Iran agreed to carry out the nuclear program peacefully and in return United Nations of America lifted different sanctions which were imposed on the Iran (Barr and Mintz, 2018).
The uplifted sanctions were linked with areas such as Security Council, trade, technology and energy and finance. At the same time, Iran also agreed that under no circumstances or situations, it will acquire or develop nuclear weapons. The agreement also outlined the fact that Iran allowed international inspectors to access to the sites linked with nuclear power activities any time. The main and most important objective of the Iran nuclear deal was to carry out the nuclear program for peaceful purpose. However, it can be critically argued that in May 2018, the nuclear Deal of Iran came into various controversies as opinions were raised that Iran has abided by the agreement.
In addition to this, it was also identified that Iran was carrying out certain aggressive actions through its nuclear program and this created several tensions among the world. In 2018, President Donald Trump has even declared the Iran nuclear deal as the worst trade deal ever in the history. The President has also criticized the removal of sanctions and said that American leverage has reduced because of the release of Billion dollars (Brands, 2016).
Apart from this, President Obama also failed to disclose or reveal the secret sides of the deal in terms of inspection. It was also identified that Obama has secretly sent $400 million in Swiss France and other different currencies to Tehran (Thiessen, 2018). In 2018, President Trump announced imposing sanctions again on Iran and the result of this was that it was declared that USA has breached the original deal of the agreement (NBCNews, 2018).
In the Cuba and Paris environmental agreement, The Republic of Cuba has submitted its new policy and action plan to UNFCCC (United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change). It can be expressed that Cuba learned a very important lesson from natural disasters in the form of flood water and powerful storms and the country decided to embark on a 100 year plan for climate change (United Nations climate change, 2015). The plan submitted by Cuba can be termed as the advanced version of the Universal climate change agreement. The Paris agreement will come into effect by 2020 and it will empower different nations to take corrective measures to deal with issues such as raising global temperature.
On the other side of this, the Paris Agreement will also play a critical role in encouraging practices of clean and sustainable development among the nations. The nations were also asked to come with their innovative intended nationality determined contribution (INDC) so that the desired and expected outcomes from the Paris Agreement can be gained. It can be expressed that the role of United Nations was also very critically in the Paris Agreement as the officials at While House have supported in crafting the entire agreement.
The agreement also included fifty five different parties and these parties ensured that they will be taking corrective measures to deal with issues such as global warming and climate change. Till now, 174 out of the total 197 countries have submitted their rectifications and they are willing to contribute a lot in overcoming from the issue of climate change. However, it can be argued that US president Donald Trump made several criticisms about the deal and also declared global warming as a myth (Glaser and Thrall, 2017). The Paris Agreement is at huge risk because of US president intension to withdrawn from the same.
On the other side of this, it was argued that the world has now moving forward to a place where global warming will become irreversible. Trump also faced several criticisms because of his statement and he then emphasized on carrying out certain renegotiation in the terms of Paris Agreement and UN continued to become a key part of convention. However, it can be argued that the appeal for renegotiation was rejected and US carried out its withdrawn from the Paris Agreement in June 2017.
It can be expressed that Nicaragua, Syria and United Nations were some countries which were not the part of this global accord linked with sustainable growth and development (The Paris Climate Agreement, 2018).
As per detailed study, it can be concluded that Obama foreign policies were focused towards military and economic activities. It has been noticed that diverse economic norms are being framed under Obama foreign policy. Through effective consideration of norms the trade activities are being advanced. Better relation with diverse nations has also been framed in order to accomplish objectives. Also, ease of global engagement has been promoted in adequate manner. Barack Obama foreign policy has introduced the number of changes at the global scale. He has focused on a number of policies that can improve the relation with Asian and Arabic nations so that economic factor can be advanced.
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