When Being Barack Obama Is Not Enough

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Russia’s tepid response to Barack Obama’s recent visit to Moscow reveals the shortcomings of the current administration’s “president as policy” strategy, writes David J. Rothkopf for Foreign Policy magazine. The lack of “bro-ing down” between Vladimir Putin and America’s rock star president indicates Obama’s campaign-era charm in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily translate to people who are not “pre-disposed to like us,” says Rothkopf.  He writes:

In these instances, the new president is discovering that something much more than personal diplomacy and smile from the genuinely appealing Obama clan is needed.  In these instances, we are going to need to go back to the drawing board and do the grunt work of foreign policy, the tough negotiations, the nuanced position changes, the threats, the cajoling. It’s a very different game from American politics and, in fact, is often completely unconnected to it. What works here, very often does not play at all overseas.

The key to building a successful structure of foreign relations, adds Rothkopf, should rely less on the president and more on the delegation of power to members of his team, primarily the all but invisible Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It’s time to move out of campaign mode and into governing mode. It’s time recognize that it really does take a big team of empowered leaders to make the complex foreign policy of the U.S. work and evolve in the right directions. It’s time to recognize that it does not reflect badly on the president if we all agree he cannot transform the world single handedly, that however different he may be from his predecessors, that alone is not enough.

Source: Foreign Policy

Image by AlexJohnson, licensed under Creative Commons.

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