Will yesterday’s passage of health-care reform give a positive jolt to U.S. foreign policy? Is Obama the new “comeback kid,” with new clout at home and a more formidable hand to play abroad? Will he now pivot from domestic affairs to foreign policy and achieve a dazzling set of diplomatic victories? My answers: no, no, and no.
Obama may have passed historic health-care reform, but former Ambassador John Bolton says the twin insults from Russia to Hillary Clinton and Israel to Joe Biden show the U.S.’s waning influence on the world stage. Plus, Benjamin Sarlin on Hillary’s AIPAC speech.
In Berlin the chancellor is at loggerheads with her finance minister over the Greek debt crisis, in Brussels and Paris she faces attacks about Germany’s export successes. Yet Angela Merkel is confident of victory and her uncompromising position is popular with the German people.
The maneuvers are a welcome if belated response to repeated regional calls for Western reassurance in the face of Russian revisionism. Perched precariously on an age-old strategic fault-line, NATO’s smallest and most exposed members are watching for signs that America will weary of its role as security guarantor to far-flung protectorates as it scrambles to cope with new geopolitical contenders and pressing economic woes at home.
MEXICO CITY — Earlier this year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón admonished a meeting of the nation’s top diplomats, urging them to speak better of Mexico in order to counter negative perceptions of the country generated by its ongoing war on drug cartels and the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 virus.
Calderón raised eyebrows, however, when, to emphasize his point, he mentioned Brazil, saying the emerging South American power is perceived abroad in far more favorable terms than Mexico, in part because its own citizens speak well of it.
They say that the first step in dealing with a problem is acknowledging that you have one. It is therefore good news that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead a delegation to Mexico tomorrow to talk with officials there about efforts to fight the mob violence that is being generated in Mexico by the war on drugs. U.S. recognition of this shared problem is healthy.
But that’s where the good news is likely to end.
If Italian voters put in the boot, the Prime Minister’s coalition partners can seize the chance to bring him down.
Now that the rift between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government has acquired the status of “crisis,” it is worth stepping back from the details of the spat and looking at the big picture. While the Ramat Shlomo announcement and its immediate aftermath were the immediate cause of the Obama administration’s ire, this was a crisis that was waiting to happen and was probably inevitable. The primary reason for this is the fundamental disconnect between Obama and Netanyahu, not only as personalities but, more importantly, in terms of their long term goals for Israel and the Middle East.
Abstract: The European Union finally succeeded in ramming through introduction of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009. The treaty was touted by the powers in Brussels as the vehicle that would create the long-awaited “single phone line” to Europe. Lisbon was to streamline the gargantuan EU bureaucracy and make communication between the two sides of the Atlantic smooth and tidy. Instead, the mess is worse than before, with five EU “presidents” tripping over each other and confusing Washington with ill-defined, overlapping, and flat-out confusing roles and foreign policy objectives. The Lisbon Treaty essentially allows the EU a foreign policy power-grab, the driving force of which is the notion that the countries of Europe will be stronger collectively than they are separately. But sovereignty cannot be traded for influence, and the EU’s attempts to do so could threaten the security of Europe– and of the United States.
Returning to his village of Tian Ping in a remote corner of south-western Yunnan province, he bought a pick-up truck with 50,000 yuan borrowed from relatives and started a new job at home: Hauling coal and construction materials such as sand.
Today, the 22-year-old is still there, making almost as much as the 1,400 yuan a month he earned at the Shanghai factory.
“I would have to find a higher-paying job and one that is not dirty or noisy to make me leave my family again,” Huang said on his mobile phone from his village.
Given the shared challenges we face, the relationship between the United States and Israel has never been more important. The United States has long recognized that a strong and secure Israel is vital to our own strategic interests. And we know that the forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States of America. And therefore, we firmly believe that when we strengthen Israel’s security, we strengthen America’s security.
So from its first day, the Obama Administration has worked to promote Israel’s security and long-term success. And if you ever doubt the resolve of President Obama to stay with a job, look at what we got done for the United States last night when it came to passing quality affordable healthcare for everyone. And we know that, as Vice President Biden said in Israel recently, to make progress in this region, there must be no gap between the United States and Israel on security. And let me assure you, as I have assured you on previous occasions with large groups like this and small intimate settings, for President Obama and for me, and for this entire Administration, our commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring, and forever.
As esteemed public universities in California and other states have faced major budget cuts, resulting in layoffs, furloughs, and enrollment caps, Texas is setting aside hundreds of millions of new dollars to bolster the research and prestige of its universities.
But make no mistake: it was made possible only by huge congressional majorities that themselves were only made possible by the failure of the Washington Republican Party to do the job the American people hired it to do in 1994 and 2000.
Yes, George W. Bush had a war to win, and yes, he should and probably will be treated much better by history than his contemporaries.
But the war didn’t create Jack Abramoff, or the earmarks culture, the farm bill, the highway bill, or SCHIP, or ZERO presidential vetoes in President Bush’s first term, or No Child Left Behind, or TARP.
Republicans can expect to win big in November; but can Americans expect much from Republicans? Will earmarks be banned? Will term limits be imposed? Will a balanced budget amendment or spending limit amendment be passed on to the states? Will this health care bill be repealed and replaced with real reforms?
What about the debt? Entitlements? What about the GOP’s addiction to K Street and the corporate welfare that relationship inevitably begets?