Obama’s Way of Dealing with Global Crisis

By Wadner Pierre

In a world where state actors are unlikely to declare war to each other, but non-state actors like terrorist networks such as ISIS will do to either fulfill their political ideology or religious beliefs. That is why it is critical that global leaders carefully explore different options and use the appropriate tools when dealing with a particular global crisis such global terrorism. There is no doubt that a Diplomatic approach as well as a  foreign policy based on Multilateralist could take them a long way.

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Foreign Affairs’ Fred Kaplan in a 12-page article discuss President Barack Obama’s way of dealing with the global crisis. Kaplan’s assessment of  the president’s Foreign Affairs policy is by far the best assessment I have not come across for the past seven years of Obama’s presidency. I was so impressed of the way Kaplan wrote his essay that I sent him a message right after I read the entire  essay.

One sentence can summarize Kaplan’s assessment of the president’s way of   handling US Foreign Policy: ‘waiting for a better parking spot to open up.’ After reading President Obama’s Audacity of Hope, I have to admit that Kaplan gets it right. Kaplan’s use of simple language and interview with former and currentU.S. military officials, as well as  former and current officials of Obama administration and close aides to support is argument make this essay is written piece.

Addionally, Kaplan analyzed the president’s December 2009 speech in Oslo upon receiving his Nobel Peace Prize. As Kaplan wrote, “The award was premature, to say the least, but he used his acceptance speech to lay down the principles of a foreign policy he hoped to follow—a sophisticated grappling with the tensions between idealism and realism.”

As Kaplan pointed out, Obama’s speech was not a typical “Peace Prize recipient’”s speech. In his statement, President Obama said, “To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism.” He added, “It is a recognition of history, the imperfection of man, and the limits of reason.” He further argued, “Nations must adhere to standards that govern the use of force, and a just, lasting peace must be based on the inherent rights and dignity of every individual.”

Furthermore, the president made it clear and insisted that America should not act alone. He said, “Still America cannot act alone, except on matters of vital national interest, and mere lofty rhetoric about human rights only sustains a crippling status quo.” He continued to say, “Engagement with repressive regimes may lack the satisfying purity of indignation,” and added “but no repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door.” For many who have been working or follwing President Obama’s way of handling global crisis, this speech represents a “template” of the president’s foreign Policy.

Benjamin Rhodes, Obama’s Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting told Kaplan, “When people ask me to summarize [Obama’s] foreign policy, I tell them to take a close look at that speech.” Rhodes was referring to Oslo’s speech.

Another former top White House official hailed the Oslo’s speech, “a template to how” [the president] “approaches problems.” The official added that the speech is “a framework for how he thinks about U.S. power.”

Kaplan stated, “Whether he followed the template—how he grappled in action with the tensions he recognized in theory—would be, by his own standard, the measure of his presidency.”

I personally agree with Obama’s way of dealing with most of global crises. It is crucial that in a volatile and complex world that any honest and open-minded leader should be able to combine multilateralism, realism and idealism when assessing some of the global challenges. It also is important that leaders of powerful nations like the United States understand when, why and which tool should they use to solve a particular crisis that is taking place oust of their bothers. Acting alone is risky business, particular when dealing with non-state actors such as the global terrorist networks like ISIS.

President Obama, in my opinion, sees the world as it is, but he also want to make it as it should be by working with others who, too, have interest in making the world a peaceful and stable one. However, he can only do the best of his ability for our world is very complex world.

You can read Kaplan’s essay here.


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