The Obama foreign policy frenzy continues this week as the president prepares to deliver a gruff speech to the United Nations General Assembly. This will be his first address to the group, to which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hu Jintao are also slated to speak today. Early reports suggest Obama will take a brusque tone, urging leaders to take more responsibility in confronting world problems, and foregoing America's Bush-era go-it-alone attitude. An excerpt:
Some of our actions have yielded progress, some have laid the groundwork for progress in the future. But make no mistake: this cannot be solely America's endeavor.How will it play to a crowd that's primed to like him, after years of open contempt for Bush? Many pundits expect a warm reception, but also wonder if Obama will push hard enough against critics of U.S. foreign policy and if finger-wagging is an adequate display of American resolve.
- Doomed to Disappoint, argues Reihan Salam at the Daily Beast. Salam argues that Obama will make promises he can't possibly keep, and that no matter how much America does, its critics won't be satisfied. "One of the great ironies of anti-Americanism is that it is precisely the most fervent anti-Americans who are most convinced of America's tremendous power. As it's the world's richest and strongest country, with more than a fifth of global GDP and a military that can topple virtually any government, there are those who believe that America's failure to solve the world's most pressing problems is a simple matter of selfishness."
- Guaranteed to Succeed, says Ewan MacAskill in the Guardian: "[H]e can confidently expect to win warm applause - in contrast with the sullen silence that usually met those of George Bush. The speech, roaming over US foreign policy, marks an important break with the past. Standing before the UN, instead of a US president openly hostile towards the world body will be a president who professes to value it."
- Loved Because He's Weak, writes Nile Gardiner in the Telegraph: "Obama's popularity at the UN boils down essentially to his willingness to downplay American global power...Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership."
- Potential for Long-Term Gain, suggests Evelyn Leopard at the Huffington Post: "Whether any of his foreign policy aims will be accomplished in three
days is doubtful...But the personal contact with world leaders and
his anticipated reception may be invaluable for long-term aims."