August 22, 2012
The Obama Doctrine’s First Term
by Joseph S. Nye (08-08-12)–Project Syndicate
Joseph S. Nye, a former US assistant secretary of defense and chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, is a professor at Harvard University and one of the world’s foremost scholars of international relations. He co-founded the important liberal institutionalist approach to international relations, and introduced the idea that states and other international actors possess more or less “soft power.”
Public-opinion polls in the United States indicate a close presidential election in November. While President Barack Obama outpolls the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, on foreign policy, slow economic growth and high unemployment – issues that are far more salient in US elections – favor Romney. And, even on foreign policy, Obama’s critics complain that he has failed to implement the transformational initiatives that he promised four years ago. Are they right?
Obama came to power when both the US and the world economy were in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Indeed, some of Obama’s economic advisers counseled him that unless urgent steps were taken to stimulate the economy, there was a one-in-three chance of entering a full-scale depression.
Thus, although Obama also inherited two ongoing wars, nuclear-proliferation threats from Iran and North Korea, and the continuing problem of Al Qaeda’s terrorism, his early months in office were devoted to addressing the economic crisis at home and abroad. His efforts were not a complete success, but he managed to stave off the worst outcome. Read on Project Syndicate: Nye