Obama America's World Leader
What a difference a legislative victory, the passage of a couple of weeks, and a bold and well-orchestrated foreign-policy initiative can make.
The stone of that anticipated legislative defeat having been rolled back, he has emerged as the undisputed world leader at his self-styled global summit on nuclear security, 46 other national leaders trooping to
While there is skepticism about what actually was achieved by this remarkable summons and response, there can be no doubt that Obama and his political and foreign-policy strategists pulled off a public relations coup with the conference.
It was not merely the spectacle of the other heads of state and foreign ministers flocking here. Their acquiescence in playing subordinate roles at the roundtable from which Obama led the lengthy discussions provided a visual confirmation of his refurbished stature after his near-death political experience at home.
The Obama-orchestrated nuclear summit clearly demonstrated the fulfillment of presidential candidate Obama's campaign pledge in 2008 to restore respect abroad for America's leadership role, after its disintegration in the hands of a unilateralist-minded previous president.
The personal and charismatic engagement with American voters that had brought Obama the presidency little more than a year earlier was an obvious magnet for the global participation in the summit, as he held a series of one-on-one conversations with visiting leaders as well.
Although nuclear security and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons had always been a major concern of Obama as candidate and president, it was hardly at the top of the agendas of many of those other world leaders who answered his summons. But they joined in his grand show for a nuclear-free world that as an aspiration is a no-brainer.
For sheer planning, the route to the nuclear summit was in sharp contrast to the erratic manner in which the Obama administration staggered across the finish line in the health-care reform fight. This time, the stage was carefully set by an opening "resetting" of contentious relations with the Russians. In
At the same time, the Obama administration unveiled an updated nuclear security policy of its own. It included an inducement to further nonproliferation declarations by pledging not to target with nuclear weapons any nuclear-free nations that have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
In a sense, the nuclear summit was a foreign-policy version of Obama's one strategic masterstroke in the health-care fight, in which he similarly drew Republican critics into that daylong
The difference concerning the nuclear security powwow was that there could be no valid argument against tightening oversight over the disposition or disposal of nuclear weapons or their potential components. The summit was simply a reminder of the still-lurking peril of nuclear materials falling into the hands of rogue states or terrorists.
A minor stir was created by the late decision of Prime Minister
The Christian Science Monitor cited Israeli concerns that Netanyahu would have encountered new demands that
In the corridors of the nuclear summit, the issue of sanctions against
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Obama America's World Leader | Politics
(c) 2010 Jules Witcover