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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Return of Liberal Internationalism

Barack Obama’s speech today marked the most comprehensively self-conscious reassertion of American global ambitions since John F. Kennedy’s “bear any burden, pay any price.” It follows the best tradition of the New Frontier. Yet Talleyrand is skeptical. The speech lays out a series of policy preferences, objectives and goals. Does it constitute a new strategy as advertised? Reasserting leadership is not a strategy. Neither is working better with allies. The only strategic element on Mr. Obama’s menu is the redoublng of military efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But that’s a regional strategy with global potential. Whereas his promise is cast the other way around.

A genuine global strategy for America in the 21st century is beyond the capacity of your humble correspondent. His gift is merely in manipulating the facts laid before him. One hopes, for the sake of his grand strategy and all that it promises for America and the world, that Mr. Obama is equally as talented.


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