What Foreign Policy Objectives Should the Obama Administration Establish as its Top Priorities?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 20, 2009
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State designate Hillary Clinton

On January 20, 2009, President Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. What foreign policy objectives should the Obama Administration establish as its top priorities?

What foreign policy objectives should the Obama Administration establish as its top priorities?

Comments

Comments

John
|
New York, USA
January 22, 2009

John in New York writes:

The topic priorities of this great country should be to give voice for those groups of people whose non-violence struggle for their freedom have been ignored. I know former President Clinton detached human rights issues from business deals with countries like China during his term. Make human rights issue as number one issue when it comes to talk with repressive regimes. And distribute the wealth of American liberty around the world. Yes you the Mr. President can do it.

Yes I believe in that change.

Julie
|
Illinois, USA
January 22, 2009

Julie in Illinois writes:

Perhaps you could use American workers and technology in a combined foreign policy/economic program.

You have Gaza which was devastated by the war, for example, which is totally dependent on Israel for all of its energy needs. Couldn't they use wind or solar power?

President Obama went to the plant where they build wind turbines and talked about how it's our future. Why not the future of others as well?.

How about offering Americans who are willing to go overseas to work in countries affected by wars or natural disasters, a job, using the bailout money, that would allow us to do service overseas, tax-free (as we give Blackwater employees to wage war, and as we gave people working the oil fields in Saudi Arabia in the 80's) to help rebuild these countries.

In addition, send over people that can assess the likelihood that alternative energy would work in their countries and offer our companies as a source for these new initiatives.

It would create jobs here, expand businesses, allow Americans to put on the best face of America and work with people of other cultures - building a mutual understanding for the future, give people who want to go overseas, as I would, the opportunity (because now you pretty much have to have a degree in International Studies to get a job with and aid agency - which is nonsense), and overall would show the world what America is all about.

Additionally, people who do this would come back with new skills and possibly ideas for new businesses.

Mother Theresa did a lot of good, and she didn't have experience in logistics or politics. She just did unto others as she would have them do unto her. She learned as she went along, as do all missionaries, journalists, and others who go overseas to conflict zones.

Just a thought.

Good luck.

Dennis
|
New York, USA
January 22, 2009

Dennis in New York writes:

Autonomy for Tibet.

Amy
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 22, 2009

Amy in Washington, DC writes:

Bring back soft power! Our failed policies have bred a generation of extremeists with some valid reasons to hate America-- let's change that before it is too late.

Tenzing
|
Canada
January 22, 2009

Tenzing in Canada writes:

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist"

With these words, I sincerely hope that President Obama will not forgot a distant people struggle for their Identity, Freedom and Human Rights.We the Tibetan people in exile and in Tibet hope that the President will play an active diplomatic role in resolving the Tibet issue.At the same time not being intimidated by a powerful China that freedom and human rights are pushed under the table.

As many nations continue to cave into kowtowing China for the benefit of trade and investment, I urge Pr.Obama to not forgot its ideal of freedom and human rights in any dealing with China.'change' must come by following its true meaning.Therefore, I personally have a great hope that the Obama Administration will play a positive and 'genuine' role in bringing peace and 'genuine autonomy' in Tibet.

"YES U CAN MISTER PRESIDENT "

Karma
|
North Carolina, USA
January 22, 2009

Karma in North Carolina writes:

The Obama Presidency represents hope for the hopeless and justice for unjust. People around the world have great expectation from the new U.S. administration. One of the issues in the world today that has great potential for world peace is the Tibetan struggle. I would like to request President Obama and Secretary, Hilary Clinton to urge the Chinese leaders to enter into substantive negotiation with the Dalai Lama's representatives on the Memorandum the Exile Tibetan Administration has handed over to the Chinese leadership.

Dave
|
North Carolina, USA
January 22, 2009

Dave in North Carolina writes:

Resolving the Israel/Palestine question. President Obama's decision to contact most of the regional key players on the first day was a good start but the United States has to answer two important questions. 1) Can we be an impartial broker between Israel and Palestine and, 2) do we really respect democracy? Until we can learn to discern the difference between constructive criticism and anti-Semitism we are hobbled... and Israel knows it. And, as for democracy, a cornerstone of our foreign policy since the end of World War II, if we truly respect the will of the people then we have to respect their bad decisions as well as their good. That includes acknowledging Hamas whether we find them detestable or not. If we can address these two important issues we can help Israel and Palestine forge a real and lasting peace. That is, of course, if that's what we really want for both of them.

Jeri
|
Maryland, USA
January 22, 2009

Jeri in Maryland writes:

This is very Cool, by the way!

I believe that the Obama Administration needs to re-establish our place in the world above all else. The last 8 years have been an era of flexing muscles rather than leading by example. America lost a lot of respect in the international community.

Clearly getting our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan while still maintaining peace and integrity in those nations is key!

Peace in the middle east is always a wonderful goal - these countries have been battling since time began. Any small successes in the middle east would be a step in the right direction.

Developing and redeveloping relationships with countries and leaders throughout the world so that we can participate in dialogue about to resolve world hunger, poverty, abuse and health issues TOGETHER!

Thanks for asking!

Kathy
|
Connecticut, USA
January 22, 2009

Kathy in Connecticut writes:

Congratulations Madame Secretary,

I will say what might seem obvious, but it should be peace in the Middle East. The fighting has gone on long enough.

I do like what Secretary Clinton said today about diplomacy and development. Specifically, I do see development as the lever to world peace. We do need to help developing nations and we do need to become a nation of peace and not a nation of war, which I fear is hohw the world sees us.

An issue which is also closer to me personally is the situation in Cyprus. It has gone on for far too long and the island needs to be united.

My prayers and hopes are with the administration.

Teresa
|
California, USA
January 22, 2009

Teresa in California writes:

There has to be an organized approach to responding to and dealing with radicalized Muslims. The two new envoys, Holbrook and Mitchell are actually going to be working on the same problem but from different angles.

It will take time for the world to believe us as honest brokers, but as time moves on our influence to do good will grow.

Monda
|
United States
January 23, 2009

Monda in the U.S.A. writes:

Congratulations, Madame Secretary. I wish you all the best in your new challenging job. And I am very confident you have what it takes. As a long time supporter of yours, it was with pride that I watched you today in your new home.

As far as foreign policy objective, I think the priority ought to be peace in the Middle East. To be able to achieve other goals in the region, the two state solution has to be the lasting foundation of a new era for that region (and in our best interest.) At the same time, a new dialogue has to start with Syria. Israel-Syria negotiations (through Turkey) have to go on (interrupted because of the Gaza situation.) It looks like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan are "re-aligned" into challenging/balancing Iran's power in the region. If we could break the Iran-Syria marriage of convenience, it would be to our advantage. Please finish what President Clinton started at Camp David.

... and yes, you can, Madame Secretary.

Timothy
|
Ohio, USA
January 23, 2009

Timothy in Ohio writes:

The top foreign policy objective of the United States, after ending the War in Iraq and reconfiguring the War in Afghanistan, is to reestablish the United States' diplomatic credibility around the world. We must work to regain old alliances that were broken during the Iraq War and strive to create new ones with countries whos alliance was once thought to be out of the question. Secretary Clinton is more than qualified to fulfill this object. I have full faith in her and our newly instated President and Vice President. Together, they can ensure a safer and more diplomatic United States of America and help restore our image around the globe.

Tenzin
|
California, USA
January 23, 2009

Tenzin in California writes:

President Obama opens a new and dynamic chapter in our history. As a Tibetan-American, I am very proud to witness this unprecendented event in our country. Relating to the question posed, I would strongly request our new President and his administration to elevate Tibetan issue in their top priorities.

I am very aware of the President's great respect and admiration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his nonviolent approach to address international issues including the Sino-Tibetan issues. I also know that many in his new cabinet share the same admiration and support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's approach to resolve the issues.

Since 2001 his envoys and the Chinese counterparts met eight times to date but yielded no substantive outcome. Tibet has been under the Communist China's occupation for 50 years and more repressive policies have been implemented in Tibet to attack the person of His Holiness, the undisputed secular and political leader of the Tibetan people both inside and outside Tibet, and undermine the Tibetan identity, language, religion and culture. Tibetans are not only lacking in basic human rights but also under virtual military surveillance and crackdown.

Most importantly, the United States of America can make the Tibetan issue a top priority and ACTIVELY MEDIATE Sino-Tibetan dialogues leading to a genuine autonomy for the entire regions of Tibet to preserve the rich Tibetan civilization and save the endangered Tibetans. Time is of essence because the Dalai Lama is in advanced age and after him Tibet may erupt into violence due to hopelessness and become an unsolvable issue. That would be most unfortunate for all parties concerned. It is not late to save Tibet right now. We shall over come Tibetan issue. We should tell China to live and let live Tibetans giving them a genuine autonomy as Tibetans have presented in their recent memorandum.

Dhondup
|
Bhutan
January 23, 2009

Dhondup in Bhutan writes:

All the best for the New American Administration.

As the most powerful nation on earth, its foreign policy must be conducted with compassion, humility and diplomacy aimed at helping every man kind in general and those in captivity in particular without consideration for political and economic expediance.

P.A.Hobbs
|
California, USA
January 23, 2009

Hobbs in California writes:

Restore pride of being American again President Obama, get Osama with Pakistan people's help not government pressure, restore trust and respect in South America, encourage not bully China towards better human rights, expect progress to be slow, France wants a role, encourage it and have them mediate the Iran talks, embrace Russia without patronizing, give them due respect and economical incentives to move forward, France Russia and China are the key to Iran Syria and Lebanon, recognize Iran's eagerness to play a role and channel it towards a responsible & accountable one, world peace is amazingly within reach if Israel's delinquency is no longer blindly encouraged, America and Israel are better off recognizing the legitimacy of resistance to occupation which ends naturally by ending occupation, vs. labeling all as terrorists, a stronger United Nations means less need to use American military, bandage soft power through justice and philanthropy.

Harolynne
|
Greece
January 23, 2009

Harolynne in Greece writes:

I really hope that the US will now truly be a BALANCED partner in achieving Middle East peace. That means talking to and with Hamas as well as Fatah, the Israeli and other Arab governments in the region.

This will help keep us safe.

marianne
|
Florida, USA
January 23, 2009

Marianne in Florida writes:

Renew our respect in ourselves as a fair and peace loving people.

Magdalena
|
Uruguay
January 23, 2009

Magdalena in Uruguay writes:

President of the Unites States of America, Mr Barack Obama, Congratulations! Now the world has renewed hopes of CHANGES not only in your country, but what YOU CAN do for the world, in which we ALL live and our children will inherit.

As we are confronted with the reality of the MULTIPLE signs of our PLANET being gravely ill, I would ask you to become also an EXAMPLE to other leaders of the world, in addressing the issues of what is causing the GLOBAL WARMING. With your wisdom and gifted ways of addressing people with the TRUTH, the world would listen to YOU. What an opportunity to BE HEARD and make a difference, in regard to the scientists' and Mr Gore's warnings. The oceans are already showing the ACIDITY that KILLS the corals, hence the fish and other events which eventually will affect all other creatures in a very sad way. Even the whales are already DYING, in Australia and in South America. Besides, the glaciers are melting in a dangerous manner -what will bring other harsh consequences to us ALL.

With respect, I put my trust in you, wishing you the very best in your endeavours and in every good thing you set your mind to achieve.

God bless you and your family. Best regards from this hopeful Uruguayan & new Australian.

Dexter
|
Florida, USA
January 23, 2009

Dexter in Florida writes:

Make Georgia an active member of NATO to make Russia show their true face and agenda. Also provide Georgia with advanced medical technology and establish a forwarding location to send medical aid to countries in Africa suffering from desease and mal-nutrition.

Amanda
|
West Virginia, USA
January 23, 2009

Amanda in West Virginia writes:

@ Jonathan in Texas: You have a wonderful grasp of what Tuesday January 20, 2009 means to many people in this country. The negativity that arose during the election was fear. Fear of the unknown. The filth and hatred that has spewed from the dark corners of this nation are all based on ignorance. Unfortunately, much of that ignorance was fueled by some media outlets, such as Fox News. Fortunately for us and the world, the truth prevailed and Hope won. The night of Obama's acceptance speach, I watched my young son sleep through tears, knowing that opportunites unknown are now putty in his hands.

As for foreign policies: I believe that we need to reevaluate our many free-trade agreements as not all are in America's best interest. Companies have too much incentive to leave our soil for cheaper work and pay no penalties bringing their products back in.

Recognize Taiwan. It is the will of the people that we should acknowledge, not the angry fist of China.

Help Tibet free itself from that same angry fist.

Do not abandon Israel but at the same time, stop giving unquestioned support. We should be promoting peace, if Israel is not willing to live side by side with Palestine peacefully, they must pay the consequence.

There are many more but these are all I can come up with while at work :)

Much respect to Mr. Obama and Madame Secretary Clinton. May peace be with us all.

Anna
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 23, 2009

Anna in Washington, DC writes:

1. We must make sure that nuclear and chemical weapons do not fall into the hands of rogue states or terrorist groups. We should also focus on the proliferation of small arms.

2. Continue America's position as a leader in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Do more to let the American people know how they can help fight these diseases.

3. Afghanistan and Pakistan.

4. China. Maintain good relations while remembering that China seeks world dominance and like all nations will act in its own best interests. Work with China on North Korea.

5. Darfur. Never again!

6. Mexico and Canada. Remember our neighbors! We must be respectful to both of these nations. They are our partners and friends in many areas. The drug war in Mexico is escalating. Look at Tijuana. What is happening in Mexico has a more direct impact for us than what is happening in a lot of places that the U.S. has made foreign policy priorities in the past.

7. Work with NATO more. Support NATO as a strong Western alliance.

8. Push forward the two state solution for Israel and Palestine, but continue to support Israel's right to statehood and its security.

As others have said, this is just a start! Our prayers are with you, President Obama and Secretary Clinton. We are glad to have you here!

Yolanda
|
California, USA
January 23, 2009

Yolanda in California writes:

Human rights in Tibet.

T.N.S.
|
California, USA
January 23, 2009

TNS in California writes:

Free Tibet and we will unclench our fists.

Maureen
|
California, USA
January 23, 2009

Maureen in California writes:

With the new Administration, our unconditional support of Israel should be reexamined to recognize the humanitarian crisis in Palestine and our responsibility for this tragedy. The following actions need to be taken immediately to initiate this change:
- The U.S. should cease to automatically veto U.N. resolutions involving Israel.
- At least one half of the $3 billion in U.S. military aid for Israel should instead be directed to rebuild the damage and destruction caused by Israel in Gaza.

The humanitarian condition of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza is tragic and must be improved. The U.S. should not stand by and let Israel continue to force the Palestinian civilians to live in sub-human conditions. Continuing aid to Israel should be conditioned on providing basic needs, food, fuel and health care, for the innocent Palestinians.

Chester
|
Nebraska, USA
January 23, 2009

Chester in Nebraska writes:

The top priority should be finding peace between Israel/Palestine.

President Obama, we need to step in and set the boundaries between Israel and Palestine. Israel needs to withdraw all checkpoints and settlements in Palestine in order for a peace process to take place. If that is done there can be no peace process. Let the Palestinians choose who is to be their leaders and let us try and work with whoever they may choose rather than condemning them.

These impediments include the assumption, implicit in Israel's occupation policy, that if no peace agreement is reached, the "default setting" of UN Security Council Resolution 242 is the indefinite continuation of Israel's occupation. If this reading were true, the resolution would actually be inviting an occupying power that wishes to retain its adversary's territory to do so simply by means of avoiding peace talks -- which is exactly what Israel has been doing. In fact, the introductory statement to Resolution 242 declares that territory cannot be acquired by war, implying that if the parties cannot reach agreement, the occupier must withdraw to the status quo ante: that, logically, is 242's default setting. Had there been a sincere intention on Israel's part to withdraw from the territories, surely forty years should have been more than enough time in which to reach an agreement.

Chester
|
Nebraska, USA
January 23, 2009

Chester in Nebraska writes:

Correction in my previous comment.

If that is not done there can be no peace process.

TENZIN
|
California, USA
January 23, 2009

Tenzin in California writes:

Human Rights for Tibetans in Tibet....

Also, Human Rights for our Chinese brothers and sisters in China.

Helga
|
Nebraska, USA
January 23, 2009

Helga in Nebraska writes:

Congratulation to President Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton!

Thank you for seeking the input of citizens/non-citizens and foreigners alike -- this is undoubtadly a FIRST and highly appreciated!

I have several points in mind -- please allow me to elaborate:

1 - After having watched helplessly the horrors in Gaza, to make sure the siege will be lifted ASAP!

2 - Make sure, humanitarian aid, medication and gas ect. will reach the population in Gaza and the checkpoints will be/remain OPEN!

3 - Israel needs to understand it will have to GIVE and not only TAKE, to fulfill obligations i.e removing ALL settlements from the West Bank in order to find a common denominator with her neighbours!

4 - Address the Israeli occupation -- work on lifting it!

5 - Please help establishing a VIABLE PALESTINIAN STATE! (CAVE: Netanyahu is ahead in the polls - he is against ANY kind of Palestinian state!)

6 - To assure, children will NEVER be incarcerated again by Israel (only yesterday kids as young as 12 were dragged out of their beds at 4am and taken away by the army - this is a CRIME!) PLEASE help to get those released and back to their families who are rotting in Israeli jails right now!!

7 - Talk with "enemies" like Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea! It is always convenient to talk with friends, but an absolute MUST to communicate with enemies!

8 - Make Israel sign the NPT/NNPT and allow inspection of Dimona, the nuclear reactor!

9 - NO blank checks/automatic money-deliveries, NO arms to Israel anymore prior to recognizing ALL so-far-conveniently-ignored UN-Resolutions!

10 - ALWAYS(!) DIPLOMACY OVER FORCE!!

Jake
|
Tennessee, USA
January 23, 2009

Jake in Tennessee writes:

Dissolve NATO.

Remove troops from places like Japan, SK, Germany, and the UK.

Assist Israel in finally destroying the HAMAS as so they never fire a single shot again.

Stay our nose out of others business, we should care less what happens to agressor states like Georgia.

Kosovo is not a country.

Our real enemies are China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, we should treat them like it.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
January 23, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

This is only in response to the # of Israel/Palestine remarks:

The problem between Israel and Palestine is not with Palestine...this is the problem that many of you simply cannot understand! The Palestine government has made peace; it is Hamas who is ruining any degree of viable, lasting peace and Hamas IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PALISTINE GOVERNMENT!

I have strong doubts over the proposed individual killings by Israel soldiers to be honest as Hamas would sacrifice anyone; but, be assured, it was handled as a war and there is always collateral damage. The bleeding heart aspect is journalistic hubbub working in the favor of a Terrorist theology which needs elimination. Why give them any ammunition? Red press journalism seems to be alive and well again.

Agreed, no one wants to see anyone hurt, but if Egypt cared that much, they would have opened their borders before the war started. Egypt was asked to and knew in advance of what Israel was going to do, but they closed the borders. Why? They do not want Hamas in their land. Do not put this all on Israel, to do so it beyond blissful ignorance. Get rid of Hamas and there will be peace. There is not any other problem in the way.

Have any of you actually studied the histology of Palestine at all? What makes any of you feel that cultured civilizations want to live in an unsecure state? Stop making this some fantasy Nationalistic problem. It is a minority manipulating a majority by threat. There is no room for terrorist and Hamas is a terrorist organization. They do not represent the Palestinian peoples, but are given credence due to what?

The biggest hope for the Middle East is with Syria and Israel as business partners. Peace brings constructive gain and Syria may not want dependence on Iran and find Israel a much better ally internationally for their self benefit and solvency. .. To be honest, even in Iran, outside the religious zealots, there are businessmen who want to profit and flourish, not be ruled by a government who poses a defensive threat against the free world and limits their gain. Free Trade is one of the best answers...money is only a tool; but, needs to be used wisely...

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