Het zou in ieder geval een verbetering zijn als Obama het buitenlands beleid van Bush Sr volgt i.p.v. dat van Bush Jr. Maar ‘the proof in the pudding’ zal zijn beleid zijn t.a.v. Afghanistan/Pakistan, ‘het’ conflict in het Midden-Oosten, en – in nauw verband daarmee – zijn benadering van ‘nucleair’ Iran.
In electing Barack Obama, the country traded the foreign policy of the second President Bush for the foreign policy of the first President Bush.
That is the meaning of Obamas apparent decision to keep Robert Gates on as secretary of defense and also to select Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
With strong ties to the military and a carefully cultivated image of tough-mindedness, Clinton will protect the incoming presidents back from those on the right ready to pounce at any sign of what they see as weakness.
As for Gates, Obama has found the ideal figure to help him organize his planned withdrawal from Iraq, and to bless it.
Whats most striking about Obamas approach to foreign policy is that he is less an idealist than a realist who would advance American interests by diplomacy, by working to improve the countrys image abroad, and by using military force prudently and cautiously.
This sounds a lot like the foreign policy of George H.W. Bush..
Obamas national security choices are already causing grumbling from parts of the anti-war left, even if Obama made clear six years ago that while he was with them on Iraq, he was not one of them.
Ironically, Obama is likely to show more fidelity to George H.W. Bushs approach to foreign affairs than did the former presidents own son. Thats change, maybe even change we can believe in, but its not the change so many expected.