Publicat de: octavianmanea | 04/06/2009

Obama-a soft power presidency in a hard power world?


897080ae-4ee4-11de-8c10-00144feabdc0„Barack Obama is a soft power president. But the world keeps asking him hard power questions.

The president’s charisma and rhetorical skill are real diplomatic assets. If Mr Obama can deploy them to improve America’s image and influence around the world, that is all to the good. There is nothing wrong with trying to re-build American “soft power”.

The danger is more subtle. It is that President Yes-we-can has raised exaggerated hopes about the pay-off from engagement and diplomacy. In the coming months it will become increasingly obvious that soft power also has its limits”.

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, June 1st, 2009


PS:    Cautionary note

While Obama’s foreign policy team is unusually capable, there is not a geopolitical thinker among them. That is, these are people who play the cards that are dealt them very well, but are less good at considering the nature of the game they are playing. And given the shift in era, a geopolitical thinker is very much needed now.


It is worse if policy is based on a misreading of America’s relative power in the world. Of course it is tempting to wish America back to the 1990s, when it was far and away the greatest power in the world, where signs of decline were few, and where America, through skillful engagement, could achieve the great majority of its foreign policy goals„. John Hulsman, January 2009 


So is anybody there who truly understands the seismic geostrategic shifts of the past decade?


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