Obama’s Cairo speech has fulfilled the Obama administration’s determination to change in tone and substance the US dialogue with the Muslim world. It revealed an understanding of current political realities and the core beliefs of all parties. Through personal engagement he emphasised that violence should be rejected as a political tool. While Obama will have won credit to manage the challenges...
The Obama Administration’s call for a fresh start with Iran have so far been met with hostility, a result of political battles within Iran’s governing faction. Yet the political squabbling masks a tentative movement in Iran away from hostility and towards engagement.
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.
There are unlikely to be early and major changes to US plans for Missile Defence under an Obama Administration. But as the Russians plan to install missiles in a possible response to the initiative, debates on the controversial European ‘Third Site’ segment of the US defensive shield could well intensify.
US policy towards Pakistan is inextricably tied up with its activities in Afghanistan, and Obama cannot afford to ignore it. If he is to have any hope of mending the US’s troubled relationship with the state, a fundamental reassessment of the situation is essential.
The Obama campaign turned American politics upside down. His approach to campaign financing revolutionised the rules of the game, stirred unprecedented interest, and a larger, more informed electorate. Obama has transformed American politics, but will he revolutionise American foreign policy?
As leaders celebrate an Obama victory across European capitals, they should also be prepared to deal with a hard-faced man under pressure who will feel he has the right to expect much more from European partners.