WSJ: Obama's Foreign Policy Approach Conflicted

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 10:45 AM

By Melanie Batley

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President Barack Obama's intention to craft a new global security structure for the coming decades is being forced into the shadows by the urgency of addressing escalating crises in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Aides to the president acknowledge that Obama has a tendency to focus on the "long view," whiling having a difficult time striking the right balance in reacting to real-time developments internationally.

"There is a sense that in many parts of the world, we need to shape a new order that can prevent conflict and resolve differences and facilitate constructive relations," Ben Rhodes, one of Obama's deputy national security advisers, told the Journal.

"Basically, the president has to position the U.S. to lead for the next 10, 20 or 30 years, while also avoiding direct threats that could pose a risk to American interests in the near term."

But some question Obama's focus on the future, arguing it is hampering America's ability to lead now, and the latest polling figures indicate there is widespread public discontent with the president's foreign policy, according to the Journal.

Specifically, the Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll released this week shows Americans' approval of Obama's foreign policy is at an all-time low of 36 percent.

"It's not clear in many cases what he is trying to achieve," Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Journal.

Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, also highlighted the lack of clarity in the administration's approach.

He told the Journal that two worlds emerged this summer, "one that's chaotic and is begging for the U.S. to get deeply involved again — whether it's Syria, Iraq or Gaza — and this other one where the president and his most senior officials are spending most of their time, which is trying to build a zone of stability and prosperity.

"Whether that adds up to some sort of new international order remains to be seen."

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