Grading the Listening Tours

It's foolish to expect too much from a maiden voyage overseas. But if we are filled with an unreasoning hope for change, the blame lies at the feet of candidate Barack Obama, who led us to believe his ascent would do miracles for America's global influence. It didn't.

To be fair, few expected that Canada would abandon NAFTA, meet emissions targets or recant a decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Nor did we expect China to abandon North Korea, Japan to feel comfortable with America's drift from our alliance or North Korea to suddenly embrace disarmament and peace with the South.

President Obama was greeted by Canadians seized with fear about the "Buy America" protectionism in the new stimulus package.

Still, there are lessons to be learned. First, know your facts: Hillary Clinton suggested that North Korea restarted reprocessing plutonium only when the Bush administration decided to tear up her husband's Agreed Framework. This is highly misleading; the CIA reckons that North Korea had a nuclear weapon in the 1990s. Second, remember that the neighbors are watching: President Obama was greeted by Canadians seized with fear about the "Buy America" protectionism in the new stimulus package.

The new administration deserves a chance to fulfill our allies' hopes--and make clear to our adversaries that Obama's team is not hopelessly naive. The first step is ensuring that what we say and do at home is consistent with those goals. Thus far, the administration has faltered slightly, but there is time to set things right.

Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI.

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


    Follow Danielle Pletka on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-5943
    Email: dpletka@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Alexandra Della Rocchetta
    Phone: 202-862-7152
    Email: alex.dellarocchetta@aei.org

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