Obama in Berlin.
Foreign Policy: A-
I think foreign policy is where the Obama Administration was really able to shine the first year. Foreign policy seems much more goal oriented now than it was during the Bush years. Open-ended nation building commitments have given way to objective based policies in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq there is now a plan in place to leave by 2011. In Afghanistan (and Pakistan), the Defense and State Departments are now clearly focused on Al-Qaeda.
Banning torture and paving the way for closure of Guantanamo has also reinstated some of America’s moral authority when it comes to conducting military operations. Diplomatic ties to the rest of the world seem to have improved greatly. Instead of dictating terms to our European allies there is more of a partnership that seems to be working. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize is evidence of this (although it does seem too soon). Ties to Cuba have opened up more and we’re investing more in Mexican law enforcement in an attempt to stem violence from the cartels that are running rampant there.
Most important is an attempt to open an honest dialogue with countries in the Middle East. Creating new diplomatic channels to nations there as well as directly appealing to the public, such as with his Cairo speech, will move to make us less the great American Satan and more of a potential ally. When revolution comes again to Iran, and I think it will soon, we can be on the right side this time.
Overall Grade: B
I think the Obama Administration has laid the groundwork for a solid presidency that might not do as much as promised but will help Americans and improve our standing in the world. Despite the hysteria that is now taking place on CNN and Fox News, once the economy starts to turn around I think this will turn out to be a very successful Presidency. I think Americans will come to their senses and realize that voting for a bunch of Bush clones won’t be the answer, especially once the health care debate is closed. What sane person would think that having Bush policies in place right now would make us better off? We just need a little patience and some more jobs and things will be OK.