Foreign Policy Happens

On ABC’s This Week program yesterday the assembled punditry agreed that Iraq was likely to absorb a good deal of the president’s time for the remainder of his presidency. Former World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick agrees and has a foreign policy to-do list that includes

  • Trade agreements with Asian and European countries
  • Updating NAFTA
  • More productive ties with Central American countries

Typically presidents tend to come into office uninterested in foreign policy. Eventually it overwhelms their presidencies. It’s in the job description and foreign policy will inevitably happen to a president.

7 comments… add one

  • Guarneri

    Oh, I don’t know. We are now hearing from Obama that he was a bystander…..wasn’t responsible for leaving Iraq. The Iraqis were.

    Look at the bright side, he didn’t say the devil made him do it. But I wonder if Michael will downgrade from a solid B to a gentlemen’s C now that he hears Obama had nothing to do with the withdrawal.

  • jan

    I can’t remember another president who has so frequently blamed others or “circumstances outside of his control,” as frequently as this president has. The irony is that this same president uses the personal pronoun “I” more than any other leader, taking exclusive credit for the policies and/or successes arising in his presidency — kind of a cognitive dissonance tactic, IMO.

    Even his EO’s, while not as numerous as his predecessors, carry more weight, have been more controversial and threatening, with significant constitutional questions arising from them, than what has been typical of the average EOs executed in other presidencies.

    I agree that foreign policy happens, whether a president wants it or not. However, what stands out with this president is that he continues to demonstrate reluctance or effective timeliness in realistically engaging in the crumbling, exploding planet around him. His speeches even convey a generous assessment that the world is in better shape than before he took office. His reelection rhetoric reassured people that terrorism was declining, even as international analysts were saying it was growing. And, his attention continues to be more on transforming domestic policy, catering to pep rallies, defaming his political opponents, and stirring the pot on wedge issues, rather than applying himself to simply making things better for all, by concentrating on public unification solutions and discarding the red meat polarizing, divisive commentary.

  • ...

    I appreciate that the Administration is blaming errors in Iraq on faulty intelligence. (A-hem.) Seems that those worthies Obama, Kerry & HRC didn’t like that excuse when offered by others, but think it is fine for them. Another example of their sheer bloody awfulness.

  • ...

    And this is priceless:

    “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

    Seriously, riotously funny.

  • steve

    All public statements from the Iraqis at the time indicated they wanted us gone. There are partisans who claim that in private some Iraqis wanted us to stay. Might be true, but it doesn’t really count for much.

    jan- The personal pronoun thing has been debunked several times.

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3155

  • PD Shaw

    “All public statements from the Iraqis at the time indicated they wanted us gone.”

    Not true. Not true according to the administration either. Who is the partisan, here?

    I’ve linked to the sources before and steve doesn’t address them, but if someone else wants me to dig them up, I’ll revisit.

  • steve

    Sorry. In middle of multiple threads. I was referring the the initial Bush SOFA. I have yet to see a public statement from a significant Iraqi pol that disagreed with having us out. As to the events of 2011 what remains true is that no one was willing to put it forward in the Iraqi parliament. I will agree that we were not wiling to stay without approval from someone other than Maliki. I agree with that decision.

    Steve

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