What International Event of 2009 Left the Greatest Impact on U.S. Foreign Policy? Why?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
December 18, 2009
Secretary Clinton Boards Plane Bound for Asia

As we approach the end of 2009, perhaps it’s time to reflect back on an eventful and noteworthy year for U.S. foreign policy. 2009 began with the appointment of Hillary Rodham Clinton as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State. Since her appointment, Secretary Clinton has visited 44 countries during 17 international trips, traveling 206,799 miles. During those trips, Secretary Clinton attended several important events and addressed many issues critical to U.S. foreign policy.

What International Event of 2009 Left the Greatest Impact on U.S. Foreign Policy? Why?

Comments

Comments

Carolann Q.
|
Arizona, USA
December 22, 2009

Carolann in Arizona writes:

I believe that the election and subsequent inaugration of President Obama had the biggest impact worldwide. He is well respected overseas which could lead to more understanding by our partners and adversaries.

Cafer
|
Turkey
December 22, 2009

Cafer in Turkey writes:

International Event of 2009 Left the Greatest Impact on U.S. Foreign Policy: Hillary Rodham Clinton was before election powerful rival of the today’s President Barack Obama. After election President proposes to Clinton Secretary of State.

Mrs. Clinton accepted this suggestion and after that, past year they have very good HARMONY. This is not may be –International- Event of 2009 but this is the key point of all successes.

Jack
|
Virginia, USA
December 22, 2009

Jack in Virginia writes:

Great question. With so much happening across the globe, it's tough to pick just one. But, I'd have to say it was the elections in Iran this year. The Islamic Republic straddles the tenuous middle ground between Iraq and Afghanistan, and remains our most complex foreign policy challenge. The election of Ahmadinejad to a second term and the violence that, to this day, continues in the election's aftermath makes a course for engagement with the US a difficult one. While the election of Mir Hussein Moussavi would have still presented many challenges for the United States, President Obama's overtures would have found a much softer landing in Tehran had Moussavi been president. Certainly, it wouldn't have changed the Supreme Leader's animosity towards America, but it would have provided an opening.

The Iranian elections also present the U.S. with another big challenge. Not when or if we should engage Ahmadinejad's nefarious regime but rather, how the United States should support democratic reformers in Iran. Everytime we speak up on behalf of students, the Iranian regime jails them ...or worse. If we remain silent, human rights advocates condemn the U.S. for not doing enough. It's a real rock and a hard place.

Iran remains our most complicated issue - made only more so by the June election - yet, the administration is pursuing the right path. The regime in Tehran, along with many other repressive governments around the world, just don't know what to make of President Barack Hussein Obama. The Supreme Leader in Iran would have much preferred a saber-rattler in the White House. Instead, he's trying to figure out how to respond to our charismatic president who leads with the open hand of respect.

So, my vote is elections in Iran, but I'm interested to see what my fellow DipNote contributors come up with.

Best,
Jack

Ron
|
New York, USA
December 22, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

U.S. Foreign Policy has improved dramatically since the 2009 election of President Obama and his appoitment of Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. U.S. is engaged, collaborating and seeking to keep all nations linked by the desire for security and stability.

Joseph A.
|
Oregon, USA
December 22, 2009

Joseph in Oregon writes:

Dear Madam Secretary: I fully endorse Edith Garwood's comment and assessment posted on the face-book blog entry today. It's obviously difficult, if not impossible to pint-point just one shortcoming, their are many discrepancies and foreign policy failures that I wish to address, many are interconnected we live in a Global world today, here is my "short-list" that I would say has the greatest long-term impact;

(1) the failure of the Obama administrations to take the lead role with pursuing a meaningful international dialogue with establishing a Palestinian state (2) the failure of the U.S. Administration's lack of acknowledgement and with endorsing the crimes against humanity, brought forth by the international community by the Goldstone Report (3) The re-appointment of the Karzai government in Afghanistan despite the massive corruption with the election (4) failure to engage Iran in a meaningful dialogue over the expansion and willingness for Iran to seek peaceful nuclear energy's (5) The catastrophic failure at the COP-15 the U.N. hosted Global Warming summit, the U.S. had an opportunity to set the example and to propose a effective draft agreement that would result in real climate change over the next decade, it seemed to become more of a PR presence for the Obama administration, lacking in a genuine effort to engage with the international community in seeking real climate change reform, "where was Dr. Susan Rice during the two week summit?" (6) The military escalation in Afghanistan and in the region and the failure to shift the U.S. strategy from one of "war-wagging" to a policy of "nation-building" (7) The escalation of drone air-strikes and missile strikes in, Pakistan, Afghanistan & Yemen, resulting in the countless loss of civilian life and leading to long term animosity against America & American interests abroad (8) During 2009, our foreign policy strategy went from a country engaged in two wars, by the previous administration, to a country engaged in five wars by the Obama administration (9) All hope and meaningful change throughout the Middle-East and within the Muslim community, was absolutely callously erased by Obama foreign policy decisions, where a strategy focused on military escalation has been implemented and very little regard for the loss of civilian life has been addressed or acknowledged -- its shameful.

From the Conflict Resolution Graduate Program

Brian
|
California, USA
December 22, 2009

Brian in California writes:

To make a brief statement; I am relieved that Hillary Clinton is our Secretary of State. Hillary has demonstrated grace, intelligence and most importantly, ethics. President Obama is not a favorite of mine, but with Hillary Clinton within arms length,the U.S. and the world abroad will be secure.

Thanks again for making me a proud American.

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
December 23, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi, Happy Holidays ...:)

The most important thing that impacted U.S. foreign policy is our New Transparency, and Communications Work with other countries.

Why? Because somethings will get better if more people know what their talking about, and opening dialogs or communications with others is always helpful...:)

Like this website,where we can find information about world events and discuss important topics ,but more of a government to government thing...:)

Also,I heard Hillary was on a special trip to the North Pole to have bilateral meetings. I hope we all get what we're wishing for..:)

....Cya....My...Friends....:)

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
December 23, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Such an easy question! Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State was THE international event of the year - hands down!

Great work, Madame Secretary! We love you out here. Have a Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

donald
|
Virginia, USA
December 23, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

I have to admit being very surprised at the many accomplishment but also concerned about the ongoing events with Iran and North Korea.

I have always been an ideas kind of a guy, and I thought this might be the best time to open the floor to yet one more idea that could save money in the health care reform package. When we think computers have come along ways since the 60's big main frames, 70's, 80's, 90's and the age of Microcomputing, the speed and abilities this tool provides people from around the world and should also accomplish one more new task.

I believe the future in the Medical Community is having "Computer Doctors" which can provide many computer data related tools for patients, check blood pressure, heart rates, monitor the PCV's, order tests, but then thinking outside the box, maybe its about time the computer can run some of these tests that get sent off, or the patient in the emergency room, at the room gets a full diagnosics just like when computers check itself out, it conducts a self test on the patients. It checks for broken bones, orders the x-ray exam automatically, without having so many physical Medical Doctors having to do all the leg work at the hospital. If a patient did need something specialized, then sure a Doctor can come and assist, but for the most part, the computer can most likely do all the things for checking out a patient, using a nurse to assist in this process, and the how long would it take to program a computer, vs the costs it takes for one medical student to complete a medical degree? Keeping Doctors sure on staff but sharing the load of responsiblity onto a computer which could process the data, monitor the patients vitals, and provide a better high tech environment for the staff at the emergency rooms, so patients are not left alone, waiting to be served, when a "Computer Doctor" is in all the rooms, tending to each of the patients conditions automatically.

Cost savings would be in the millions or future billions by having computers monitor patients and be more apart of the diagnostics and ordering tests, running data, monitoring the patient on a a constant basis, while still having Physical Doctors at the hospital to oversee and ensure the computers are performing up to task. It just might be the future life saving technique that would be cost effective and help hospitals cope with the rising costs of Staff and when an emergency arises in the emergency room, physical Doctors and Surgeons are still available to do the same jobs.

Jack
|
Virginia, USA
December 23, 2009

Jack in Virginia writes:

@ Joseph in Oregon -- You raise a few good points, but the brush with which you paint the current administration's policy is just a bit too broad for me.

1) I agree with your stance on the Palestinian issue.
2) You're right on Goldstone. The Administration should have said more.
3) The Karzai election was a tough one. But what more could we have done?
4) You're wrong on this one. The Administration has tried to engage Iran in the most meaningful way possible. Obama's quiet outreach to the Supreme Leader, himself, was important and something the previous administration did not undertake. Place some blame on Iran.
5) "Catastophic failure"???? Really? That catagorization seems a bit extreme.
6) Tough situation. Agree to disagree.
7) Complicated policy. I'm not yet sure how I feel about the escalation of Predator strikes.
8) Five wars? I disagree.
9) While this Adminstration should do more, I think the change of tone towards the Muslim world has been truly laudible.

"Shameful" seems too harsh a final word. If you think this Administration's policies are shameful, what must you have thought about the previous administration?

Jack

Ari C.
|
Pennsylvania, USA
December 23, 2009

Ari in Pennsylvania writes:

Dear Sec. Dr. Clinton et al: President Obama's Inaguaration was the BIGGEST 2009 Global Event...And effects will be felt for decades.

Why? That's to be played out over Time moving Forward.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
December 23, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I do not feel there is any single event as the entire world seems in transition and if anything, that is the key note for last year: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF TRASNSITION.

We can cite a multitude of events from New Leaderships, Economic collapse, which was inevitable, to war and even stability then throw in proof of global warming.

Taken individually, each had an impact; but, all are interconnected in the future all nations face worldwide. For the first time, most Nations can identify with the problems in to some degree.

The many Summits, Pacts signed and citizen involvement found in many countries also show a realization that transition of many elements must take place collectvely, including human rights.

Something as simple as a march on the streets of Najafabad in Iran presently with open rejection of their present elected leadership shows a major step in freedom.

It has been a year which will set the future of TRANSITION for the World…countries will have to integrate with each other or nationalize. That is the realistic evolution of all that has occurred from the events past and no one event will dictate which it will be.

May God bless each and everyone and especially our leaders for the future...Be well.

Luis C.
|
Florida, USA
December 23, 2009

Luis in Florida writes:

Dear Sec. Dr. Clinton: As a citizen of the world, I must say the most glorious moment this year when it comes to foreign policy by the United States has to be, the United Nations Speech given by many world leaders and the president of the United States at the UN General assembly. The president of the United States took the podium and acknowledges the fact that many countries, groups and individuals view America with skepticism and distrust. To quote the president: “Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for collective inaction.”

The president of the United States recognizes many goals and achievement during his 9 months in office including, talks with Moscow regarding the reduction of strategic warheads and launchers. The State department with the president support sent a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace; Israel and Palestine in which peace and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected.

The United States also made great efforts and advancement by joining the Human Rights Council, the signing of the convention of the rights of persons with disabilities. The United States also embraced the millennium development goals which include but are not limited to: efforts to provide productive and decent employment for all, including woman and young people, the war against hunger must be embraced with renewed vigor, especially in the interest of young people, get all children into school, especially those living in rural communities, and eliminate inequalities in education based on gender and ethnicity.

The United Nations has also applauded the United States and the Security Council for the recent talks about nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.One of the greatest moments during this year was a part of the speech the president of the united states address to members of the general assembly and the world to hear:

“The United Nations was born of the belief that the people of the world can live their lives, raise their families, and resolve their differences peacefully. And yet we know that in too many parts of the world, this ideal remains an abstraction -- a distant dream. We can either accept that outcome as inevitable, and tolerate constant and crippling conflict, or we can recognize that the yearning for peace is universal, and reassert our resolve to end conflicts around the world.”

-President Barack H. Obama

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
December 23, 2009

Flavius in Virginia writes:

The death of Michael Jackson, because we lost our Ambassador of Love!

Paul
|
New Hampshire, USA
December 27, 2009

Paul in New Hampshire writes:

Dear DipNote: I personally am quite impressited with the U.S. Government's overall outreach to the world since President Obama was elected. This includes not only the work under Secretary Clinton at State, but also the work of the Department of Defense, the work of Permanent Representative to the UN Susan Rice, and the personal efforts of NSC Advisor Jim Jones, Obama, Clinton, Richard Holbrooke and others.

It's unfortunate that the U.S. still faces a huge variety of diplomatic and diplomatic-military issues, especially in South Asia, East Asia and the Persian Gulf. However, I honestly think this Administration has adopted an approach that will be far, far more successful in the long term. Good luck and have an early Happy New Year!

shona
|
United Kingdom
December 27, 2009

Shona in U.K. writes:

What International Event of 2009 Left the Greatest Impact on U.S. Foreign Policy? Why?

**********
Wow, you sure ask allot of questions!! But the main one for me really is, "Bye bye Bush."

P.S. ...Your hairstyle at Copenhagen was rather wild, if you don't mind me saying. If you buy a spray bottle with just water in it..you can spray down the loose ends for quickness. I am not a hairdresser, but as it is Christmas I thought I would share that idea. Your welcome!!

palgye
|
South Korea
December 27, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Dear to Sec Hillary Rodham Clinton: Strongly flattery, if under, force of President of the United States and the eminent degree which Hillary Rodham Clinton is personal accomplishes and thinks the work.

Heaith Insurance Reform was Passed. The who will not be able to negate and gives a thanks once again in force.

Expression is impossible at end and the many thought whirls a head inside...

Thank you.

Condo J.
December 27, 2009

Condo writes:

U.S.A. has improved dramatically since the 2009 election of President Obama and his appoitment of Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. U.S.A. is engaged, collaborating and seeking to keep all nations linked by the desire for security and stability.

Kristen S.
|
Oklahoma, USA
December 27, 2009

Kristen in Oklahoma writes:

The David Goldman case has brought International Child Abduction front and center. This is something that needs to be addressed, bills written, policies changed. We need to apply sanctions for Countries that refuse to return American Children within 6 weeks as the Hague Convention outlines. They need to know this is unacceptable and we won't stand for it.

Thomas D.
|
New Jersey, USA
December 27, 2009

Thomas in New Jersey writes:

The return of Sean Goldman to his father in NJ is a landmark event that was over 5 years in development -- almost 6 agonizing years to achieve justice. Why did it take so long? And why are there so many other American left-behind parents still separated from their abducted children in foreign countries around the world? Some answers can be found at www.bringseanhome.org.

This singular event had the greatest because it demonstrates that this growing, intractable problem is not hopeless, it shows how the rule of law can be followed when political leaders act responsibly and citizen activists insist on "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Chuck C.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
December 27, 2009

Chuck in Washington, DC writes:

While I don't know if it has made the greatest impact on U.S. foreign policy, the return of Sean Goldman to the custody of his father has certainly created an upwelling of awareness of the issue of International Child Abduction. It would be fantastic to see the DoS aggressively pursue those almost 3000 cases of American children being illegally retained abroad in an effort to bring them home as well. When it comes to foreign policy, there are macro- and micro- issues. This is one of them where the thousands of micro issues become one very large and important issue that simply must be addressed.

Isabel
|
New Jersey, USA
December 27, 2009

Isabel in New Jersey writes:

The International Event that comes to mind immediately is the past-overdue return of Sean Goldman from Brazil. This 5 1/2 year long abduction finally came to an end yesterday.

Madame Secretary, I thank you for supporting David Goldman and defending his son Sean's human rights.

Unfortunately, there are still over 2800 American children in similar situations, but I feel more confident now, that we will be able to bring these innocent children back to the U.S.

It took political pressure to make this miracle happen, but the U.S. has made it very clear now to the world that we will no longer sit quietly as our children continue to be held illegally in foreign countries. There will be consequences for countries that harbor child abductors.

Again, thank you for defending Sean Goldman's rights.

Merry Christmas.

Greg W.
|
Texas, USA
December 27, 2009

Greg in Texas writes:

International Child Abductions and the lack of compliance of signatory nations of the Hague like Brazil and Mexico. Natioins who are not signatory nations of the Hague like Japan. the need of the state department to provide real suport for Left Behind Parents. The failure of the State Department to give testomony to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on International Child Abductions. The need for H.R. 3240. The need of OCI to reform for they give inacurate info to LBP and are of no help, see bringseanhome.org to find them.

mfer
|
California, USA
December 27, 2009

Mfer in California writes:

The most significant event to represent foreign relations is the Sean Goldman case. This case has put a spotlight on the Hague Convention and countries like Brazil's non-compliance and harbouring of child abductors. As the saying goes justice delayed is justice denied - this case taking over 5 years to be resolved is no justice for a child like Sean Goldman, who at age 4 was ripped away from his father. It is clear from the court findings in Brazil of 3 psychologists and the honourable Judge Pinto that Sean was subjected to a form of child abuse called Parental Alienation Syndrome. It is my hope that the State Dept. will focus more attention and resources to helping all left behind parents and Hague cases. After all what kind of country is the great United States if we cannot even protect our most vulnerable citizens, our children.

Herb W.
|
Massachusetts, USA
December 27, 2009

Herb in Massachusetts writes:

Sean Goldmans kidnapping has had the most impact on me. How can our Government allow International Parental Abduction to have no consequences? Why did it take 6 years to return this American child? Why didn't the State Department ensure the enforcement of the Hague Treaty that Brazil signed? When will we guarantee our AMERICAN parents that the U.S.A. will do whatever it takes to bring all the other children home? David Goldmans fight has ended ( finally) but not because the State Department fixed it. It is due mainly to Rep Chris Smiths hard work and steadfast determination, NBC 'S fair factual & continued coverage, and the efforts of the members of www.bringseanhome.org all who never gave up. For the MANY other Left Behind Parents the problem remains the same and they will not be guaranteed the same ending simply because they are not in the media spotlight & are not lucky enough to have a champion like Rep. Chris Smith as their Representative. This means they must have an institution within this country that will aid them with as much dedication as the above mentioned supporter of David & Sean Goldman. YOU Madam Secretary must place this as the highest priority. You are the chosen guardian of the United States and must protect its most vulnerable citizens, our children. Your department needs to become the hero for all the other Left Behind Parents. This Country must set in place legislature that forces other country's to know that the United States will not tolerate the stealing of its children. Period!

Kim M.
|
Michigan, USA
December 27, 2009

Kim in Michigan writes:

International Child Abduction and the 5 year fight David Goldman had to go through under the Hague Convention. This must change and no Exit controls still not in place in the United States.2,800 American children are still held hostage in other countries. Brazil and Mexico are the biggest offenders of non compliance of International Law. Serious changes need to be made to help these left behind parents get their children back under the 6 week return as required under the Hague Convention. We need action for these children and educate these countries on how the Hague Convention is supposed to be work as an abduction case not a custody battle. Child Abduction is child abuse and must be stopped.

Wendy
|
Canada
December 27, 2009

Wendy in Canada writes:

The greatest accomplishment of the U.S. was the return of Sean Goldman to his rightful father! However, the fact that it took 5 and a half years is apalling. There are more children that require the aid of their country. What has impacted me the most as a Canadian who is involved and watching, was the view of Left Behind Parents on how incredibly inept the U.S. State Department was, has been and continues to be, and the utter failing of that departments mandate to help abducted children. The andecdotal accounts of parents that I have witnessed with regards to their horrifying experiences with an office that is supposed to be in place to assist and support them and their abducted children is mind boggling.

So what will stick in my mind the most about 2009 is the return of Sean Goldman but mostly is the lack of support David and ALL left behind parents receive from the U.S. Department of State in recovering or re-establishing relationships with their children. I'll be watching closely to be sure.

Carlos
|
Michigan, USA
December 27, 2009

Carlos in Michigan writes:

The most significant event for me was the repatriation of Sean Goldman from Brazil to his father in the U.S. I hope that this event will lead to the State Dept. taking other case files of internationally abducted children out of the place they are currently filing them (ie the waste basket) and prioritizing this issue more appropriately.

Susan S.
|
Texas, USA
December 27, 2009

Susan in Texas writes:

"THE RETURN OF SEAN GOLDMAN" In my personal opinion, has had a great impact to foreign relations and policies. With the rise of child abduction in all countries, I hope this case will pave the way for all other "Left Behind Parents" and have a sum what more speedy return of their children. This case has taken more that 5 1/2 years to finally come to a decision and without Senator Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Smith and numerous others this return may have taken a lot longer. Our laws in the United States as well as the Hague Treaty, and HR 3240 need changing, updating, new laws passed, in order to help these children be united with all "Left Behind Parents". Thank you Senator Clinton and countless others that made this fathers Christmas wish come true after 5 1/2 years.

Emily
|
District Of Columbia, USA
December 27, 2009

Emily in Washington writes:

I think that the return of Sean Goldman after being held in Brazil illegally for over 5 years is the event that should have the greatest impact on U.S. Foreign Policy.

It highlights the plight of over 2800 AMERICAN children who are being held illegally in countries all over the world. It also highlights the need for a centralized department which has the power to impose sanctions on countries who knowingly aid in the abduction of these children, especially those which are signataries of the Hague Convention.

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