Thursday, April 30, 2009

The First 100 Days: a worldview of U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy achievements and missteps during his first 100 days in office

Note to my readers:

I am a bit surprised that there is such a widespread interest in what has been an American press & news media tradition of reviewing the first 100 days of a new U.S. president. But with President Barack Obama, a man who has captured the hearts and imaginations of so many people around the globe, a president who is fondly referred to here in Germany as ‘The World President’, almost every word he says and every move he makes is of interest to millions outside of the United States.

Over the past several weeks I have been focused on foreign affairs news and reports that of course have impacted President Obama’s first 100 days in office. Like a number of experienced foreign policy hands whose opinions I have provided below, I feel that the first 100 days in office for this new U.S. administration is far too short a period of time to make a sound judgment about how they will perform over the long term. But I will say this: from what I have read, heard, and seen so far from the Obama administration in its first 100 days in office, I am very pleased and mighty proud of this young president and his team. The challenges ahead are many and some of the crises we face may seem insurmountable, but I believe that President Obama has instilled a new spirit of cooperation and can-do willpower not only in his many young fans around the world, but he has also inspired experienced political leaders and older foreign policy hands in the capitals of America’s traditional friends and allies.

Even the Castro brothers are looking rather dreamy-eyed toward Miami and Washington D.C. these days, much to the relief of the Cuban people and many of America’s close friends and neighbors in the Caribbean, Central, and South America. If President Obama and his new team can breakdown the barriers that have existed between Cuba and the U.S.A for the past 50 years, that would warm the planet up by another 10° Celsius just from the partying and celebrations. Then you would have a serious (albeit temporary) global warming problem on your hands.

The articles, editorials, and special feature reports listed below are on my ‘must-read list’ for the coming weekend. I just wanted to share them with my loyal readers and fellow blog authors from around the world who serve as a constant inspiration to me. Note that there is precious little in these expert commentaries and opinions about the Obama administration’s foreign policy and outreach to African countries, but I do expect to read, see, and hear a lot more from President Obama regarding America’s strategic policies toward Africa in the coming weeks and months.

The Next 100 Days will be crucial not only for the administration of this young, dynamic U.S. president but for the whole world. I sincerely hope that more and more people around the globe finally begin to work together to help solve the problems and crises that threaten us all. Don’t fret and please don’t panic! Learn to work together for peace and prosperity for all.


Foreign Policy Magazine – March/April and May/June 2009 issues
Foreign Policy: Obama's Report Card
Foreign Policy Magazine asked some of the world’s best foreign policy experts to rate the U.S. president’s first 100 days in office. This is one of the best roundups that I have read on the foreign policy achievements, missteps, and challenges that face the Obama administration over the next four years. The results from no less than 41 leading global thinkers on President Obama’s performance so far may surprise you.

FP Passport – a blog from the editors at Foreign Policy magazine
The 100th day of the Obama administration FP Passport by Annie Lowry 04/29/09
FP Passport authors are always on top of the important foreign policy issues. U.S. President Obama is reported to be a regular reader of this excellent publication, as is yours truly and many other people worldwide who are interested in foreign affairs.

David J. Rothkopf – a blog authored by the noted author and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The surprise winners and losers of Barack Obama’s first 100 days 04/27/09

The Cable – Laura Rozen reports from inside the foreign policy machine in Washington D.C.
Clinton's 100 days: the mileage The Cable 04/23/09

Shadow Government – a group blog about U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration, written by experienced policy makers from the loyal opposition.
Questions for Obama at 100 days Shadow Government 04/28/09
Questions the media won’t ask the President during his 100 Days press conference

Other interesting feature articles and blog posts at Foreign Policy magazine:
FP Magazine cover story (feature article) – May/June 2009 issue
The Revenge of Geography by Robert D. Kaplan
Does the U.N. cooperate with indicted war criminals? - FP Passport 04/29/09
Planet Holbrooke and envoy nation - The Cable 04/29/09
The Holbrooke Afghanistan conference you can't go to - The Cable 04/21/09

Newsweek Magazine – International Edition
The Next 100 Days – a Newsweek special feature on the challenges ahead
Hirsh: As Foreign Policy Takes Center Stage, So Will Hillary by Michael Hirsh 04/29/09

First 100 Days – a Newsweek special feature
Obama's Foreign Policy Is More Nixon Than Carter by Michael Freedman 04/25/09
Barack Obama is no Jimmy Carter. He’s Richard Nixon.
Alter: How Successful Were Obama's First 100 Days? By Jonathan Alter 04/25/09
With all that the president has done, he’s in a league, so far, with FDR and LBJ. But early success is just that.
First 100 Days: Obama Fulfills Promises to Youth by Ben Adler 04/28/09

The Washington Post
Obama's First 100 Days: a Washington Post special feature
Obama Emphasizes Sharp Departures From Bush Policies by Michael D. Shear, Michael A. Fletcher, and Scott Wilson 04/30/09
From the Start, Putting a Bold Stamp on the White House by Dan Balz 04/29/09
What Historians Say 04/29/09
Topic A -- The Next 100 Days of the Obama Administration 04/26/09
The Post asked former officials, strategists and others for their thoughts on the next phase of the Obama administration. Below are contributions from Allan J. Lichtman, Thomas A. Daschle, Alan S. Blinder, Meghan O'Sullivan, Martin Neil Baily, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paul Wolfowitz, Kathleen Dalton, Elaine L. Chao, Robert Shrum, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Ed Rogers and Paula J. Dobriansky.

The New York Times – NY Times blogs
The Caucus – the politics and government blog of the New York Times
The President’s 100th Day by Jeff Zeleny 04/29/09
Live Blogging the President’s News Conference by Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney 04/29/09
The Early Word: Benchmark by Kate Phillips and Ashley Southall 04/29/09

100-Day Diary - Making New Policies, Reversing Old Ones
Issue: Foreign Policy

100 Days – a blog authored by five U.S. presidential biographers
Obama at 100 Days: How Does He Compare? 04/28/09

On the Ground – a blog about globalization and human rights by two-time Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and New York Times’ columnist Nicholas D. Kristof
Appeasement of Sudan? 04/27/09
Kristof takes issue with the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis in Darfur and the issuing of an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president by the ICC. I’m with Nick on this one. WTF is going on with you guys back in Washington! Arrest that sucker!

New York Times: Politics and Government - White House and Congress
Full coverage of the political scene in the United States of America

The Root – an online magazine about African American news and viewpoints from Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive
100 Days, A Million Headaches by Terence Samuel and Dayo Olopade 04/29/09
Michelle Obama's First 100 Days by Dayo Olopade 04/30/09
President Obama's First 100 Not So Black Days in Office by Terence Samuel 04/27/09

Spiegel Online (international edition of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine)
Opinion: The Most Expensive President Since 1945 04/30/09
100 Days of Obama: The Instant American Revolution 04/29/09
Closing Guantanamo: US Attorney General Asks Europe for Help by Marcel Rosenbach 04/30/09
From Mania to Mistrust: Europe's Obama Euphoria Wanes by gregor Peter Schmitz 03/30/09

Other news in English from Der Spiegel and its European partner publications NRC Handelsblad - International (The Netherlands) and Politiken (Denmark)

The World from Berlin: 'The German Military is in Afghanistan to Secure the Country' 04/30/09 (a must read – Germany’s politicians in Berlin are ‘helping to lose the war in Afghanistan’ and getting German troops killed in greater numbers due to Berlin’s unwillingness to take an offensive position against the Taliban and al-Qaeda)
Is 2009 the New 1929?: Current Crisis Shows Uncanny Parallels to Great Depression by Der Spiegel staff 04/29/09 – aggregating content from more than 120 African newspapers and media organizations
The Daily Independent (Lagos, Nigeria)
Opinion: President Obama's First 100 Days 04/28/09

Reuters News / Reuters Africa
The First 100 Days - Barack Obama full coverage special feature
Obama's many challenges overshadow Africa by Daniel Wallis 04/28/09

National Security Network (don’t ask, just read it…recommended by FP Passport)
100 Days, 100 Foreign Policy Achievements 04/27/09

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