March-26-13 11:39 AM
- One of the first things Obama did was attempt to repair the damage of the U.S.
reputation around the world.
○ He travelled and gave speeches to places like Cairo and the UN without
discrediting the things that the previous Bush administration had done.
He made it clear that he intended to do things differently, and his
speeches were very well-received.
○ Obama, in his speeches, said that the U.S. should return to
multilateralism: working with NATO and other countries within the United
- When he spoke to the UN, Obama said he took office at a time when the U.S.
was facing criticism based on misinterpretations and deception.
○ It became clear to some that this would be a speech that George W. Bush
or Dick Cheney would never give?
- Hillary Clinton described Obama's foreign policy as a "realist policy."
- Scholars described Obama's foreign policy as "realist," but meant that he could
muddle his way through issues and that he was adaptable.
- Another promise he made was: respect for international law.
○ Something that had been missing in American foreign policy.
Bush made it clear that if international law stood in the way of
American policy he thought was necessary for the security of
Americans, he'd proceed whether or not it was in violation of
- In his inaugural speech, he said America would defend himself, but be
respectful of sovereign nations and the rule of law of other countries.
○ His first action was to seek Congressional approval of the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty.
Almost the entire world, with the exception of the U.S., had signed up
for the treaty.
○ He also applied for U.S. membership in the Human Rights Council.
- Under Bush, if any government-funded organization wasn't viewed in a good
light by Bush, the funding would be removed.
- The UN just wasn't important to the Bush administration.
○ This annoys U.S. presidents: third-world countries often condemn the
United States when it shows up at the UN.
Bush would not be the first U.S. president to feel this way.
○ Obama, in an early speech, however, said: "We have re-engaged the
- Torture since Obama?
○ A number of people have claimed to have been tortured following the
inauguration of Obama.
It's hard to evaluate such claims.
○ We do know that Obama ordered the army and CIA to do certain things,
while respecting the Geneva Convention.
- Guantanamo Bay
○ Promised to close the place down.
Said it was wrong to have people be in prison for long periods of time
without being charged. without being charged.
○ One of the strongest opponents on the Guantanamo Bay issue with
Obama was Dick Cheney.
Criticized Obama for wanting to move the prisoners to the continental
○ One of the problems: what to do with inmates?
Obama thought about returning people to their home countries, such