President Obama's Friendships With World Leaders

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 8, 2010

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I am not one of those who believes that we will see a much more persuasive U.S. foreign policy merely by having Barack Obama buddy up to other world leaders. Nation-states make their decisions primarily and overwhelmingly via a cold-eyed examination of their long term strategic interests, and irrespective of the President’s personal relationships with other world leaders, the countries those leaders lead will decide to ally–or not ally–with the United States on various issues by looking at factors that have nothing whatsoever to do with personal relationships with the President of the United States.

Of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Barack Obama promised us that the conduct of American foreign policy would become far more effective, and America itself would be much more liked and respected, if only we made nice with the world. I suppose that part of making nice with the world entails having the President of the United States make nice with other heads of state and/or heads of government. To the extent that this is not happening–and it is clear that it is not–the President’s failure to make friends with other world leaders represents yet another broken promise of the Obama Administration. There seems to be a lot of that going around.

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