Justin Vaïsse

Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy (2008-2012) Publication date : September 13, 2012

Justin Vaïsse, a senior fellow at Washington’s Brookings Institution, is a historian specialising in U.S. domestic and foreign policy. He currently teaches at Johns Hopkins University and previously taught at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP), in Paris.

Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy has undergone three phases:
• as a superpower, or sort of ‘Middle Kingdom’, under the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton,
• in a ‘post-American’ world, during the decade of the ‘war on terror’ (under George W. Bush) and of the financial crisis, as Washington’s world lead narrowed.
• the relative decline of the United States is the third phase, coinciding with the beginning of the Obama administration, in 2009, and despite the decision to carry on with the ‘war on terror’ and to extend some of its more disquieting aspects (Guantánamo, bombing missions in tribal zones in Pakistan and Yemen).
Obama has sought to reprogram American leadership, making it adapt to the new international situation: the emerging nations are beginning to play an essential role; Europe’s position is fading; the United States is unable to impose its wishes as easily as it used to — with the result that it must now strengthen its ties to the emerging nations.
This third phase is the subject of the present the work, which describes how the United States is adapting to a modified international situation and to its own waning influence.

• A thorough review of the international diplomatic and geopolitical situation, by a major expert on U.S. foreign policy.