On Foreign Policy, Obama Treads Carefully
By Ben Pershing
President Obama came to office promising bold change on a variety of fronts, but he has often conducted his foreign policy in shades of gray. Whether in Iran or China or North Korea, when is the Obama administration not "moving cautiously" or "treading carefully" abroad?
The latest example is Honduras, where the White House yesterday criticized the coup that toppled Manuel Zelaya yet didn't signal complete disapproval. "But while condemning the overthrow, U.S. officials did not demand the reinstatement of Zelaya,' the Los Angeles Times writes. "The administration left its ambassador to Honduras in place, while several governments in the region recalled theirs." Conservatives believe the Honduran military is doing the right thing and want the U.S. to say so, while liberals want Obama to take a firmer stance against the coup and cut of military aid to the country. So far, Obama isn't huddling with either camp.
Obama is walking a similar tightrope in Iraq, where U.S. troops are today withdrawing from major cities and handing over most security responsibilities to Iraqi forces. Initial reports this morning portray Iraqis celebrating the move. Still, Tom Ricks calls it a "faith-based" policy. He explains: "Will the Iraqis be able to keep the population relatively secure? To be honest, I don't know, and no one else does. It's a matter of faith." (A sidenote: Remember when a shift like this in Iraq would have been atop the front page, rather than at the bottom or inside the paper somewhere?)
Posted at 9:07 AM ET on Jun 30, 2009
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