Saturday, 8 November 2008

Obama Must Forge New Relationship with Russia - Shirley Williams

Baroness Shirley Williams warned today that Barack Obama's foreign policy was in danger of failing unless he succeeded in forging a "new partnership with Russia". She argued that his current plans were based on a "false estimate" of US power and called upon the President-Elect to work with countries that America didn't like.

At a Fabian Society conference, Dr Timothy Lynch rejected hopes of change in American foreign policy arguing that Barack Obama was a "hard power Democrat" who had won a mandate for a third George Bush term - albeit with a better managed foreign policy. Obama, he argued, wanted not to bring troops home but rather to "visit violence abroad but more appropriately".

ABC News correspondent Jim Sciutto, however, was sceptical of Dr Lynch's soundbites, reasoning that Lynch was in danger of dismissing significant changes in US policy with throwaway lines. Obama was not "the second coming" but his election did mark a definitive turning point in US foreign policy.

Obama is a post-American president,"American leadership still remains important but it is not going to be leadership on their own", said Robert Cooper, director general for external and politico military affairs at the Council of the European Affairs.


Fabian-Blogger said...

Baroness Williams grasp of what is going on is truly impressive. When I complimented her on her ability to reference Obama Biden policy so quickly, she said, 'That's my job.'
All the participants so far have been very interesting. I have enjoyed what I thought might be a taxing event.
No one talked about what we might give America. I suggest that we offer them our model on how to enrol voters and encourage them to have more polling stations. Fran Leslie

Felix said...

Timothy Lynch's comments were obviously designed as a deliberately controversial response to the otherwise reverential treatment of Obama by most - something which is amusing and vital on every political panel to avoid mutual self-congratulation. Amongst the soundbites and jokes there were, however, some serious and compelling points. It IS naive to expect a reverse in the direction of foreign policy, particularly since, if exit polls can be believed, Obama's win depended more on his stance on the economy. Where Obama can be more than just 'a competent George Bush' - even if he turns out to be as addicted to hard power as Dr Lynch expects - is, whilst Bush was dominated by the imperialist dogma of the Project for the New American Century, Obama will (hopefully) be as calm and reasoned as Robert Cooper described, and guided by intellect and a progressive ideology.

Kathleen said...

Yes, Shirley Williams is nearly always spot on!