Main Foreign Policy Challenges for Obama

Discussion in 'Congress' started by tigerbob, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    The BBC has put together a list of what it considers the 10 major foreign policy issues Obama will have to deal with, including:

    • US Role in the world
    • Iraq
    • Afghanistan
    • War on Terror
    • Iran
    • Middle East peace process
    • Russia
    • North Korea
    • China
    • "New Diplomacy" (Finance, Climate Change, Energy)

    Each heading has a couple of paragraphs providing some background detail.

    Whether you agree with the list or not, it's a nice snapshot of the size and scope of the challenge Obama faces.

    BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US Elections 2008 | Top 10 foreign challenges for Obama
     
  2. Caligirl
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    Caligirl Oh yes it is too!

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    Well, Europe and Obama have been pretty much on the same page about role of the US in the world - Allies and equals. So I don't think that is much of a challenge.

    A lot of the other stuff is middle east tension divided into country names. What about the challenges in South America, in Africa, and general trade challenges?

    The list seems very euro-centric to me. But that is sort of the way the BBC tends to go.... Sounds like a trite little piece.
     
  3. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    I suppose trite is in the eye of the beholder.

    If you look at this board, you'd be hard pushed to find much comment about South America or Africa (more's the pity).

    On the other hand, you will frequently find people at pains to point out the different issues faced in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. And Israel / Palestine, or course.

    You'll also find people commenting on how the US has lost a lot of its influence on the world stage. Just because there's a new guy at the wheel doesn't mean everyone will meekly get back on the bus. I'm frankly surprised that anyone could say this is "not much of a challenge". I think it's the biggest challenge of all and one that will have a significant impact on all the others.

    As for Euro-centric, with the exception of the heading about Russia (which also mentions Poland, Ukraine and Georgia) not one European country or European leader is mentioned anywhere in the entire piece. If you mean Euro-centric in its perspective, I would have though that Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, North Korea and China are subjects that concern people globally, not just in Europe.

    I agree that global trade might have been a good topic. I'd also have liked to see maybe something about the US position regarding Cuba, which I think is long overdue for review, but this seems to be a low priority here in the US as well.

    So, not an exhaustive list, I agree. But then it was never meant to be.
     
  4. Caligirl
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    Caligirl Oh yes it is too!

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    By eurocentric I mean that it is a list of europe's concerns, not a list about europe.

    Europe is as guilty as the US about not thinking past its borders. May be politically incorrect to say so, but I'd point to this list as a prime example. The fact that Africa did not even make the top ten is awful. S. America to a lesser extent, though there is plenty of grist there.

    And just a lot of redundancy in the nature of challenges in the top "ten" - you could merge five of them into "middle east quagmire" and leave open four spots for things like genocide in Darfur, the increasing global food crisis, human and drug trafficking particularly through failed states in s. america, etc.

    I may be being harsh, but it truly sounds very eurocentric to me.

    (And this is not meant as an insult to you, but to what sounds like the BBC being either somewhat dictatorial or just stupid about what the US should take care of.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2008
  5. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    I didn't think they sounded like purely European concerns and I'm surprised that you think they read that way - but if that's how you do read them then who knows, maybe my radar is off.

    Believe me, I'd love to dump half of them into 'middle-east quagmire' (catchy name by the way - I can almost hear someone saying it on 60 Minutes as I type :lol:) to allow room for things that I think the world should focus on (I'd add Zimbabwe to Darfur), but the middle east always seems to be a big pool of anti-matter that destroys all efforts to do anything.

    No offense taken. I generally can't stand the BBC, though I do miss commercial free TV.
     
  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    In the post WWII cold war universe, back when the USA was producing 20% of the world economy, we used be able to puchase allies by giving nations we were suiting the right to destroy our industrial base one insane trade agreement at a time.

    We're running out of those gems to give away, now.
     
  7. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Who cares--? America has shown it's repentence. It has elected a black man ! oh damn--now you got me crying again ---:(
     
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  8. Caligirl
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    Caligirl Oh yes it is too!

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    Agreed.
     
  9. Coloradomtnman
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    Coloradomtnman Rational and proud of it.

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    Here's my opinion:

    I think that if we pull out of Iraq, that'll solve a third of our middle-east problems.

    Then, if we were to stop rewarding Israel's terrible Palestinian policies and demonstrate our disapproval instead, then work toward bringing about a Palestinian state, most of our other middle-east problems would become opportunities (i.e. working with Iran to stop nuclear weapon construction and perhaps even becoming allies).

    Afghanistan is going to be one of the two the biggest challenges we face. Afghanstan is going to be a challenge because of Pakistan. Obama's ideas have a lot of promise: trying to diffuse the Kashmir issue and providing military and financial support only to fight the extremist groups in the border regions.

    I think the other biggest challenge is going to be Russia. Putin - er, I mean, Medvedev, has ordered more missiles to Polish/Russian border and we heard nothing of any congratulations to Obama after the election. Russia is a military and financial power to be rechoned with and I would really hope that we avoid another Cold War. The actions that we can take to diffuse Russia's threats seem not enough to be effective. Even with the EU I don't know if we can really affect Russian policies.

    Diplomacy in North Korea seems to be working, albeit not well, but somewhat. Kim Jong-il is very ill and his successor may be less irrational.

    There's so much promise for alliances and policies beneficial to both China and the US (and India) that to not take advantage of them would be foolish.

    Hopefully we'll sign the Kyoto treaty, the War Criminals treaty with the UN, and become an example for the world to emulate again with new, progressive policies.

    How realistic are these? I don't know, but I can hope. They are just my opinions.
     
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