November 6th, 2014
11:43 PM ET

Will Obama become a foreign policy president?

By Fareed Zakaria

Despite this week’s elections, President Obama has the time and scope to do big things over the next two years. But they will have to be in the world beyond Washington. Next week’s trip to Asia would be a good place to start. In fact, it’s odd that Obama has not already devoted more time, energy and attention to foreign policy. It has been clear for a while that there is little prospect of working with the Republican Party on major domestic initiatives. This is hardly unprecedented. Administrations often devote their last few years in office to international affairs, an arena where they have latitude for unilateral action.

If Obama wants significant accomplishments in foreign policy in his last years in office, he will first need the discipline with which he began his presidency. The incremental, escalating interventionism in Syria and Iraq — were it to continue — would absorb the White House’s attention, the public’s interest and the country’s military resources. It also would not succeed, if by success we mean the triumph of pro-democratic forces in the Syrian civil war.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Blue Saffron

    Unfortunately Obama has been marginalized politically. He is probably planning his departure from White House. No one internationally wants to deal with Americans anymore. At some international airports they won't even convert US dollars!

    So much for foreign policy. There is none. Bombs away.

    November 7, 2014 at 4:36 am | Reply
  2. Blue Saffron

    As I read through these forums it is humbling to see so many clones model themselves after my avatar. It is an honor that many consider me as their hero. Thank you.

    After all "Blue Saffron" is now a brand.

    November 7, 2014 at 4:43 am | Reply
  3. Blue Saffron

    "Federal law enforcement agencies are investigating a veteran US diplomat, Robin L. Raphel, on undisclosed allegations, the US State Department said on Friday.

    The Washington Post reported earlier that Raphel is under investigation on counter-intelligence allegations, which typically involves spying for foreign governments. She has been placed on administration leave."

    U..S Government is hush hush on which foreign government is involved in this case. Obviously, this means a foreign government that we consider friendly.

    November 7, 2014 at 4:49 am | Reply
    • Alisyn

      This is very strange. There is more to it than meets the eye.

      November 7, 2014 at 5:25 am | Reply
      • Serengeti

        Apparently, she was spying for Israel.

        November 7, 2014 at 8:30 am |
    • Crockett

      Bet it was India.

      November 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  4. Mikey

    The Demise of American Foreign Policy:

    American Foreign Policy is off track. Obama has devastated the stature of Americans overseas. The seeds he has sowed will rock USA to its core in the coming few years.

    November 7, 2014 at 4:55 am | Reply
  5. Blue Saffron

    The one most successful aspect of recent American foreign policy has been the conquest of India without firing a bullet. That is the beauty of capitalism used as a Trojan Horse! Economic victory! Give them a taste of steak and they will never settle for hamburgers again. USA now owns India Inc. not only economically but also militarily as economic subjugation ultimately leads to military domination.

    November 7, 2014 at 4:58 am | Reply
    • Serengeti

      India Inc., eh.

      India Inc.
      In a wink
      Had a kink
      And no toilet or sink
      And became India sink
      In a blink
      With a nasty stink

      November 7, 2014 at 8:33 am | Reply
  6. Grand Poobah

    @Blue Saffron ::: The recent win for US multinationals has been pressuring the Indian Govt to open up majority ownership of domestic companies by foreign investors. US will now be virtually able to control the government policies in India via remote control in Wash D.C.

    The take away is that US needs to find a similar mechanism Middle East/North Africa/South Asia to control events without having to depend on military dictatorships to do the biding. Economic subjugation appears to be the way out but what may be applicable to Hindus may not work in case of Muslims. That poses the dilemma that we are struggling with. Israel may have to be the sacrificial goat to make this happen, I am afraid.

    November 7, 2014 at 5:01 am | Reply
  7. Blue Saffron

    What bewilders me is how can you have countries like Mexico and those in Central America living right next to a world power America. The prosperity hasn't rubbed off.
    Was that America's foreign policy? Considering to the north is another enigma, Canada. Though not as much embedded in poverty.

    November 7, 2014 at 5:18 am | Reply
    • Alisyn

      China will gradually emerge as an equal partner to US in global affairs.

      November 7, 2014 at 5:23 am | Reply
    • Philip

      What prosperity. And America's debt burden has rubbed off on other countries. The U.S. owes trillions of dollars to nations that have been supporting luxuriant lifestyles that Americans simply cannot afford to live. China has been making our Social Security payments for over a year now. (since the Pentagon robbed our national treasury to wage wars and support foreign dependencies. After spending 80% of national defense funds on lavish entytlement programs for themselves)

      November 7, 2014 at 11:52 am | Reply
  8. Blue Saffron

    As President Obama embarks upon his trip to China here are some stats for him to ponder on Air Force One.

    Comparing the progress of China with India always amazes me. About same number of people but different results. Chinese raise their kids to be entrepreneurs while Indian hindus as t hugs. Just a cultural difference I suppose. Different DNA.

    China 10% GDP...... India 2%
    China 38 Gold medals.... India 0 (2012 olympics)

    November 7, 2014 at 5:37 am | Reply
  9. Adam

    Blue Saffron. You are a Hindu rapist from India. Your opinions are tiffin. You know nothing about real life.

    November 7, 2014 at 7:19 am | Reply
    • Serengeti

      ..... and you are the man who took Kaali Maa's virginity and borne Lord Ganesha? LMFAO

      November 7, 2014 at 8:36 am | Reply
  10. Adam

    The only thugs around here are you and Joe.
    Joe MAMA!

    November 7, 2014 at 7:21 am | Reply
    • Serengeti

      ..... and you are the man who took Lakshmi Maa's virginity and borne Lord Shiva? LMFAO

      November 7, 2014 at 8:35 am | Reply
  11. stuart

    Blue Saffron
    Grand Poobah
    ....they are the same guy.

    November 7, 2014 at 7:30 am | Reply
    • Serengeti

      These are all hindoo gods/deities, silly.
      Om Om Om Om

      November 7, 2014 at 8:37 am | Reply
    • Daryn

      @Blue Saffron is a brand. This dies not make sense.

      November 7, 2014 at 9:03 am | Reply
  12. Eugene Levich

    If Obama has failed in domestic policy, his destruction of US foreign policy will prove totally catastrophic. He failed to keep US forces in Iraq with tragic consequences–blaming the failure on Al Maliki. Now a similar disaster is facing Afghanistan. The Iraqi army wouldn't fight. The Afghan army is fighting effectively and bravely but suffering enormous casualties without adequate US support. Most Afghans hate the Taliban and want US assistance. Obama writes love letters to the chief international terrorist in Iran while Afghanistan crumbles. Obama seems to think that screwing America's allies and sucking up to America's most dangerous enemies is an intelligent foreign policy. He is a world symbol for weakness and naivete.

    November 7, 2014 at 8:05 am | Reply
  13. Susan Wendelboe

    I was shocked and disappointed at you rudeness towards Sam Harris last Sunday. My respect for you diminished and I was so embarrassed, I had to leave the room. Shame on you!!

    November 7, 2014 at 8:38 am | Reply
  14. Cristobal

    Democracy is the cornerstone of american foreign policy. Everybody agrees on that.

    Suffice to say that plebiscite must and should be held in Indian Occupied Kashmir in accordance with the mandate of UN. Nothing more nothing less.

    This is a matter of principles.

    The concept is no different than what we Americans are doing in Puerto Rico. Let the people decide their fate. This is what democracy is all about.

    November 7, 2014 at 8:45 am | Reply
    • Daryn

      Unlike what hindoos did in Indian Occupied Kashmir, we Americans didn't send in the Army to Puerto Rico to occupy it and raype the people.

      November 7, 2014 at 8:47 am | Reply
  15. Philip

    As long as the Barack H. Obama Foundation (that IRS Louis Lerner granted 6 year retroactive tax except status) is active, President Obama's foreign policy on Africa and the M.E. are secure. It would really help this foundation's bottom line if Muslim Brotherhood would hurry up and take over Iraq after Syrians and Egyptians defeated them soundly.

    November 7, 2014 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      What would you like President Obama to do about a Foundation he has nothing to do with?

      November 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  16. Blue Saffron

    The American foreign policy is based on retreat and defeat. We have become a fortress soon to be an iron curtain. Living in the shadow of Bin Laden and defined by ISIS. Ridiculed by Russia and indebted to China.

    We have militarized the world. We believe our salvation is in manufacturing and marketing weapons of destruction. We have polarized the world. Democracy is our banner and destruction is our motto. In Death We Trust.

    We look backwards to seek salvation and determine how we got here the past 200 years. While China looks forward to the future to prosperity and global dominance. That is who we are, what we have become and what we do best.

    I have come here not to bury America but to instill realism about our place in the world. We have no foreign policy. We have no shame. We stand on hallowed ground and Obama has left us lame and maimed.

    I am Blue Saffron and I tell it the way it is. I help you see the light.

    November 7, 2014 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Philip

      Get a clue. China buys non-OPEC crude oil from the Bush-Bin Laden group of war profiteers for about $28 per bbl. We pay over $100 per bbl. of OPEC crude. This is how China can produce more for less. Not cheap labor. Not savvy forward thinking. Paying 70% less for crude oil than U.S.

      November 7, 2014 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Crockett

      Excellent comment. Loved the part about democracy. Thanks for taking the time to make this forum more informative and productive.

      November 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  17. chri§§y

    Big fat furry deal...and thats me telling it how it is you pompous oaf @ Blue! You shouldnt be so stuck on yourself...thats a huge turn off, even if the rest of your message might make sense.

    November 7, 2014 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • Crockett

      Instead of insulting others why don't you come up with some intelligent comments for a change.

      November 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  18. chri§§y

    Plus @ Philip...China employs child labor making their labor costs a great deal less.

    November 7, 2014 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • Philip

      Labor costs are nothing compared to energy costs, Chrissy. And on any given day you will find dozens of under aged Mexicans pulling weeds and blowing leaves for wealthy San Diegans. And at every shopping mall out there with their noisy little weed blowers. They are paid nothing compared to what we pay for oil. Get it?

      November 7, 2014 at 11:56 am | Reply
  19. Philip

    Without GITMO military prison, China could have never become an economic powerhouse. Care to debate?

    November 7, 2014 at 11:59 am | Reply
  20. Philip

    6 years later people would still be asking what kind of president he would be.

    November 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  21. Blue Saffron

    Democracy maybe the cornerstone of American foreign policy but not when it leads to the election of unscrupulous elements. We all agree on that. Therefore we must insist on putting Narinder Modi on trial at the International Criminal Court at The Hague for international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in India.

    Nothing more Nothing less.

    November 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  22. It's just an opinion

    The media would like us to believe a President is responsible for foreign policy. However this is a distraction for the press to use to point fingers. Actually since the second world war the energy and mic have run this government. The proof, read anything about Vietnam and the delusion they accomplished over ten years. Here we are twelve years later and we are still sorting out the mess first created by the British, French and Russians. Now, with our help, the violent reation escalates. Each time we intervene we seem to make things worse. Does this ever ask a wider questions in our society, seems not.

    November 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  23. chri§§y

    WE have no right to order any such thing. Thats up to the United Nations. WE can recommend that but we cant order it!

    November 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  24. chri§§y

    And also @ Blue, wasnt Modi already tried? And found not guilty?

    November 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  25. Blue Saffron

    How can we have a foreign policy when we don't have a plausible domestic policy. We are on the brink of a meltdown. The likes of Seven Days in May perhaps if the bad guys don't get to us first. We have no friends. We get no respect. Just imagine what we would be without Boeing and F22s and Drones et al. NADA. That is what we are good at. So let us keep on bombing till we kill the others or the others do us in. That is our foreign policy.

    November 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  26. Blue Saffron

    The first step towards a viable foreign policy is to take Air Force One away from POTUS. He needs to sit in the office and fix the problems at hand. If he can't for whatever reason, Congress this and that, he should resign. Let thr people know the system is redudant. Democracy has failed. Only then will we be able to next the next step forward.

    November 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  27. Blue Saffron

    We cannot and we will not let the nuances of the lame duck POTUS lead us to an abyss anymore. The system needs overhaul. There is rot in society. This forum is reflective of that. This blog is a testament. And I am part of it too. So much for humility. But I am sick of hearing about health policy, I am tired of fixing the social security, I am nauseous from Palestinian and Kashmir problems. FIX THOSE DAMN THINGS AND MOVE ON. IF YOU CAN'T, THEN FRIKKIN RESIGN.

    November 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  28. chri§§y

    Tired of fixing social security??? It wouldnt need fixing if the past government hadnt stolen the taxes paid into it by the citizens!! It wasnt their money to use! And a POTUS can only do so much. There are limitations in place to make certain we are never ruled under dic tatorship as would be the case if the POTUS was allowed to do whatever he wished without complicity of Congress! You are living in a dream world @ Blue.

    November 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  29. chri§§y

    And i might add getting Congress to ACT on anything is pretty much impossible! THATs the first thing that needs to be fixed!!!

    November 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • It's just an opinion

      Congress has a system. Represent the power(money). This elects them this shapes the country this is where the influence comes from. The democratic process would work if we fired the parties and hired honesty into our process.

      November 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        I will just say this: Citizens United was one of the worst rulings since Dred Scott.

        November 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • It's just an opinion

        During the French revolution the committee who decided who would go to lose their head was called the public safety committee. Citizens united=the committee for public safety.

        November 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
  30. chri§§y

    Amen @ Its just an opinion. Unfortunately we still have a great portion of the same dead weight weve had in Congress for far too long already!!!

    November 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • It's just an opinion

      I wish I were joking.

      November 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Reply
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