Statecraft: Obama’s Got That

Might have to have Mars Blackman come out of retirement to do a spot on Barack Obama’s skill at statecraft.  “It’s the SHOES!  It’s gotta be the SHOES!”

As I noted in more specific terms, Obama is clearly a massive improvement over the fumbling foreign policy of Bush.
Fred Kaplan has a great bit on Slate analyzing the difference between the elegantly executed diplomacy currently on display at the G-20 and the myopic blunders of the previous administration.

Bush’s diplomacy tended to the black and white: I get along with you, or I don’t; you’re with us, or you’re against us; you’re a terrorist, or you’re opposed to terrorists. This approach led—and, in general, leads—to disaster not because it’s moralistic, but because it so egregiously misapprehends the world and leaves us with so little leverage to affect it.


Obama seems to be aware of the tension between interests and ideals without letting it paralyze policymaking …. his approach to foreign policy… signals a restoration of what was once called statecraft: literally, the art of conducting the affairs of state. The term has always implied a meshing of interests and ideals with reality while navigating the shoals of a dangerous world. Leaders can try to reshape an agenda, but they can’t toss away maps or ignore laws of physics to get there. They have to deal with the world as it is, and that’s what Obama seems to be doing.

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