Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Obama Doctrine by Jeffrey Goldberg



Are you tired of short, simple, unsubstantial articles? Well, you are in luck. Spend the weekend...and it will take you the weekend...to enjoy this incredible piece by journalist Jeffrey Goldberg. It is a long, long, long article in the upcoming issue of The Atlantic magazine. The cover article is about "The Obama Doctrine." I know that topic will probably stimulate much reaction, but set that reaction aside and look at what Mr. Goldberg offers by way of a glimpse at a President's view of global affairs.

This is important because there is a distinction between the politics of the Presidency, the politics of the policies of the Presidency, and the President's policies in spite of politics. In this article the President makes a very key point about the lens through which he views the interactions of major and minor state actors. Specifically he talks about four basic international relations perspectives: isolationism, realism, liberal internationalism, and internationalism. Very much like an Intro to International Relations course, this article illuminates how the process of global decision making is not a simple process. It is guided, at a fundamental level, by these longstanding theories.

Since George Washington, there has been a continual shifting from one extreme of internationalism to isolationism that has characterized the overarching foreign policy of every administration. For more on that, see Stephan Sestanovich's "Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama." Nevertheless, these grand shifts occur irrespective of party alignments, which demonstrates how views of international politics often do not correspond  clearly with domestic political arrangements. So, as we prepare for a shift toward a new foreign policy doctrine, I challenge you to understand what you think you know about our nation's current doctrine.   

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/04/the-obama-doctrine/471525/


For more on the continual shift of foreign policy strategies see: http://www.amazon.com/Maximalist-America-World-Truman-Obama/dp/0307268179