The connection between the foundations of American power and its exercise abroad was one rarely tended to by the last administration. Unfortunately, this led to a myriad of problems that hampered our country's efforts to project influence around the world. Fortunately, the Obama administration has reversed course. These reforms have made America better equipped to deal with the national security challenges of both today and the future.
Yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid out the progressive vision for U.S. foreign policy. Many in the press sought to portray the event as a re-do of the 2008 primary, but the speech demonstrated the opposite – a Secretary in sync with President Obama’s vision, embracing the foreign policy legacies of FDR, Truman, and Kennedy, and applying those legacies to the new realities of the 21st century. After eight years in which non-military tools of foreign policy were neglected, Clinton’s speech marks a shift back to a foreign policy that utilizes all the tools in the tool kit, including diplomacy and development.
This week, President Barack Obama used his first few days in office to dramatically revamp U.S. foreign policy. President Obama has outlined a vision that restores American diplomacy, makes prudent use of our armed forces, and upholds our best values – making our core values a fundamental part of the effort to protect America, not an obstacle to it.
Over the last eight years the Bush administration has favored the use
of hard military power at the expense of America’s diplomatic power. As
a result, our military has been asked to do too much and has received
too little support from the State Department and other civilian
agencies. In the wake of difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is
now near unanimous agreement among top military officials and outside
experts that the State Department and other civilian agencies must be
empowered to do more.