The hope of change in Obama’s foreign policy has rather spectacularly collapsed. In Cairo Obama appeared to articulate a radical shift in the nature of politics in the Middle East:
“I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”
But on the anniversary of his first year as President a whole spate of articles appeared on how Obama has carried on the foreign policies of the Bush era. He has been labled by some as George W. Obama.This has been regrettably true. On Palestine Obama promised change:
And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.
On Iran Obama promised change:
Rather than remain trapped in the past, I’ve made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.
This is to name but two. And these two statements did not live up to what his administration has delivered.
Well respected commentators have called on his Middle East Advisor to resign due the complete lack of purpose and clarity on the Middle East peace process. The recent announcement that the US will deploy a missile shield in the Gulf shows the continued belligerent policies towards Iran.
Foreign Policy often involves a lot of movement but, much like a fountain seen from a distance, remains remarkably constant. Why is this? How is it that Obama a man so remarkably different from Bush has been unable to change the foreign policy of the US? Is it simply the nature of power? Obama cannot really move in this region in the right direction without radically altering the whole region. Is this too much to bear?
But did we not expect too much? Yes, Obama did fed that beast of expectation to delirious levels. Would it have been different if he focused solely on a couple of particular issues instead of trying to establish a global agenda? Is that the problem with our globalised age. That the greatest idol of the modern age had to give all things to all people at all times and ended not knowing where or how to start? Creating a vacuous nothingness.
Obama is not Bush but he is not a political radical either. He is a leader that is part of the same system as Bush, a system that has a foreign policy that cannot be changed by the President alone and not without great political ramifications at home. He still remains a hope for the potential for change in the region but we know now not change itself. For change itself you have to alter the source to stop the continuous flow.