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Morning Update: Obama Inauguration

by campaign2008
January 20, 2009

With Barack Obama set to become the forty-fourth president of the United States today, analysts of international affairs are looking ahead at the policy measures the new administration will seek to implement. A new Daily Analysis from CFR.org examines the landscape, noting that Obama will take office bolstered by goodwill at home and abroad, but that he will instantly be confronted by a dizzying series of challenges. Obama’s most urgent priority, it seems, will be passing a sweeping economic stimulus package, the details of which Democratic lawmakers unveiled late last week. But the new administration will also be tasked with overseeing an orderly drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq; finding a way forward in Afghanistan; managing tense and potentially volatile situations in South Asia and the Middle East; and forging a strategy for dealing with nuclear North Korea and an Iranian state bent on developing a nuclear energy program, and perhaps nuclear weapons. The Economist examines several of these issues and the leaders Obama has appointed to oversee their management in a new article and accompanying interactive graphic.

The New York Times reports this morning that Obama’s transition period since he was elected lends some clues to how he will go about making decisions once in office. The article notes that Obama hasn’t been shy about making swift decisions, but at the same time has sought to tap into the nation’s intellectual dialogue to gauge the best policy decisions. The Wall Street Journal notes, however, that the burgeoning U.S. budget deficit could limit Obama’s ability to follow through on some of his objectives, and that how he prioritizes spending pledges could become one of the major early questions of his presidency. The Financial Times, meanwhile, has a new interactive looking at which members of the Democratic Party have been bolstered by Obama’s ascendence, and what it might mean for Washingon.

Background:

- CFR.org’s bio of Obama outlines his statements on many of the most urgent foreign policy questions confronting Washington as he takes office.

- CFR’s President Richard Haass advises Obama on many of these issues in an open letter published in Newsweek.

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