The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Views from Abroad: German Magazine on Obama’s ‘Failures’

by calessi
June 15, 2012

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, October 2011 (Fabrizio Bensch/Courtesy Reuters).


For this week’s Views, we turn to Germany’s weekly news magazine Der Spiegel. In a wide reaching, feature-length piece on the U.S. presidential race, reporters Ullrich Fichtner, Marc Hujer, and Gregor Peter Schmitz argue that President Barack Obama has “failed to deliver” on many of the policies he championed before being elected in 2008.

The authors lay part of the blame on the polarized political situation in Washington, D.C., which has made it challenging for the president to have Congress take up his legislative agenda:

America’s internal divisions have reached a new, worrisome stage. Proposed legislation that would normally be uncontroversial has been blocked for years, while senior positions in the judiciary and in government agencies have remained unfilled. Necessary supplementary budgets are only being approved at the last minute, and only because not approving them could result in a national bankruptcy. In this climate, no president stands a chance of shaping the world according to his platform.

On foreign policy–the area in which Obama maintains a high domestic approval rating–the authors are less forgiving. They acknowledge that “foreign and security policy has become Obama’s best argument for re-election,” but raise concerns over the consequences of some of those policies:

The CIA is waging a dirty, legally questionable secret war, one that lacks all transparency and ignores the dictates of law and order, but what it doesn’t do is strengthen Obama’s idea of America as the global protector of freedom and democracy. And the drone war certainly doesn’t coincide with Obama’s visions at the beginning of his term, including his desire to bring reconciliation to the world and to promote peace, especially between the United States and the world of Islamic culture.




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