November 23, 2009

IT'S A DIFFICULT ADJUSTMENT...:

Credibility Gap (Nikolas K. Gvosdev, 11.17.2009, National Interest)

At first glance, the resignation of White House counsel Greg Craig would appear to be a domestic U.S. political issue. Yet, as the ramifications of his departure are assessed, the Obama administration will have to deal with the negative conclusions that may be drawn around the world.

Craig was the point man in charge of implementing into policy several of the promises made by candidate Barack Obama, including closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. However, as the New York Times reported Friday, Mr. Craig took considerable criticism for those decisions and for not doing more to build consensus within the administration or prepare the political ground in Congress. The closure of Guantanamo in the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency is now almost certain not to happen. [...]

What foreign diplomats accredited in Washington and what foreign ministries around the world are now trying to determine is the extent to which the president means to back up rhetoric with action. If the president finds closing a U.S.-run detention facility to be too difficult, what happens with other contentious issues? As the president travels in Asia, a subtext to his meetings there are about his administration’s ability to steer free-trade agreements through Congress. Will these be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency? What sort of compromises can the president really make in terms of climate-change standards? The Russians, having heard yet another president promise to repeal the Jackson-Vanik trade amendment, aren’t holding their breath that the Obama team will actually spend any of its capital up on the Hill to get this done.


...getting used to an American president who is a follower rather than a leader.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 23, 2009 6:36 AM
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