After the first 100 days of Obamaâ€™s presidency there was much ink spilt in the USA on domestic policy changes during this so called â€˜honeymoon periodâ€™. In Britain, however, we are more concerned with Obamaâ€™s foreign policy, and have the advantage of distance (both geographical and theoretical) from which to give an assessment on that.
Obama has made changes to counter-terrorism policy, stating his intention to Guantanamo bay and renaming the â€˜Global War on Terrorâ€™ with a softer phrase. But are these merely empty gestures and word games designed to placate those becoming increasingly uneasy at the U.Sâ€™s strong-arm tactics? Obamaâ€™s policy on Afghanistan, too, was a disappointment to many of us across the pond as he insisted an exit strategy was needed but failed to articulate one definitively.
However, Britain is probably in line with much of the rest of the world in viewing nuclear disarmament as a wholly positive policy step, and the fact Obama supported Brownâ€™s ideas for the economy at the G20 definitely strengthened the relationship between the new premiers. This side of the Atlantic there has also been concern about Bushâ€™s stance in the environment and it seems Obama is doing his best to allay these fears through tougher fuel standards and CO2 regulations.
Finally, in his first 100 days Obama seems to have succeeded in changing the overall tone of U.S diplomacy from one of unilateral â€˜world policingâ€™ to one of dialogue and co-operation. He has smoothed relations with Russia and has indicated he will do more to engage with the Arab world. This is perhaps the biggest positive step from a British perspective, as our special relationship with the U.S means that in the eyes of the world, U.S diplomacy is also our diplomacy. It remains to be seen whether this change in tone will be consolidated by a decisive change in actions, but for now we can hope this will be the case. It seems for Britain there have been many positives at the start of the Obama presidency yet a few things left undone. So far, so good, but Britain has bated breathâ€¦
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