As President Hu Jintao unveils a new foreign policy initiative, there is now a renewed interest in a more globally active China. However, decisive differences with the US on Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan show that actions will continue to be carried out with domestic interests in mind.
President Obama aims to exert sufficient military effort to create conditions for transition. This means a dominance over the Taliban - unable to reemerge when transition takes place - together with space and capacity to train and grow the Afghan military and police security forces.
Scrapping the European missile defence system may well have been the right decision for American security. But this terribly-timed move will undermine future relationships with long-suffering Eastern European allies for very little benefit from the Russian bear.
Internal upheaval has delayed Iran’s response, due this month (September), to the US offer of nuclear talks. The response of the international community to Iran's ongoing nuclear programme will be observed with keen interest by Gulf Arab neighbours whose attitude is governed by the overriding desire to constrain Iran’s regional role. This raises questions as to what options are open to them,...
The US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has outlined plans to ‘profoundly reform’ US military spending. They include curbs on significant weapons programmes and a boost to more strategically focused projects. The underlining themes behind this new policy will certainly have implications well beyond the US defence acquisition community.
Barack Obama’s election has dramatically improved America’s image overseas, but the new President is likely to have to sacrifice international goodwill in order to obtain objectives he considers important.
Expectations are unrealistically high, and the style of American political leadership will change more than the substance – yet the inauguration of Barack Obama as America’s first black president is hugely significant, and the very problems he is inheriting could enhance his chances for success, and perhaps even for greatness.