The Foreign Policies of Barack Obama and George W. Bush

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Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1702 Words
Date:  2021-03-14

There is a tradition in the United States that presidential candidates campaign are based on the principle that they will do things differently compared to the previous administration if elected. Most presidents once elected find themselves offering a foreign policy that does not provide change but continuity. President Gorge W. Bush and President Barrack Obama have followed this pattern dramatically. The Obama campaign in 2008 was focused more on change especially on the reputation of George W. Bush foreign policy (Jacob & Page, 2003. The Obama administration has remained rhetoric with little degree of continuity. However, there has been areas of change that are significant and the continuity have importantly worked for Obama than have any changes. The foreign policy of Obama has been successful because he inherited the policies from the administration of Gorge W. Bush. However, his failures came as he tried implementing his initiatives.

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President Obama spelled his design in national security strategy in 2010 that is similar to the 2006 Gorge W. Bush strategy (Boyer, 2014). Both the strategies focused on American leadership, making it an essential theme in Obama and Bush administration. The national security strategy of Obama focused on global leadership and international cooperation inclined to justice and leadership. Leadership surpasses the view of seeing and transforming the world based on the values and interest of Americans (David, 2013). President George Bush national security strategy similarly focused on action oriented multilateralism aimed at addressing difficulties and challenges to prevent attacks and defeat global terrorism (David, 2013). His strategy strengthens alliances to prevent the US and its allies, and develop cooperative actions with other world powers.

The success of Obama foreign policy is because of the domains he expanded and continued on the policies he inherited from Bush. Though Obama dropped the global war on terror, he continued with the same trail initiated by Bush in legal reasoning underpinnings to unilateral drone strikes where terrorists are or using Special Forces to target high-value individuals like Osama bin Laden, leading to increasing war on terror on this aggressive path (Boyer, 2014). Another pattern of continuity resulted in positive outcomes in Afghanistan when Obama adopted an increase in troops to allow resourced counterinsurgency operation against the Taliban as recommended by the Bush in 2008 (Bruke, 2005).

On the issues of international trade, the promise to renegotiate NAFTA was left intact by administration of Obama and completed Free Trade Agreements with Colombia and South Korea negotiated during Gorge W. Bushs tenure (Boyer, 2014).

Ending the war in Iraq show the continuation of the withdrawal strategy negotiated during Gorge W. Bushs tenure in 2008 Agreement with Iraq (David, 2013). However, Obama administration aimed at increasing negotiations to reach an agreement on concluding the war and withdrawing the US troops using multilateral negotiations based on its foreign policy.

When Obama military intervened in Libya so as to remove the Muammar Gaddafi regime, it was evident that the foreign policy of his administration was acting similar to the administration of George .W Bush. Though Obama administration claims success from following a strategy like his predecessor, he allowed other countries to lead in the attempt to remove Qaddafi, thereby reducing the costs to the United States and also lessen the influence by the Bush administration (David, 2013). Leading from behind, the strategy was successful


The differences between the Barack Obama and the George W. Bush administration on the environment were based on the manner in which the two administrations were positioned on the issue. The George W. Bush administration was focused on pro-business, paying little attention to environment issues (David, 2013). Also, the George W. Bush administration willingly overruled multilateral cooperation on issues of environment, declining to sign the Protocol of Kyoto amidst much criticism internationally. On the other hand, Barack Obama affirmed issues of environment like climate change and conservation of biodiversity, to be critical issues that his administration focused on by encouraging multilateral cooperation (David, 2013; Bruke, 2005). The differences between Obama and Bush administrations is seen based on what stood for regarding climate change. Bush decided to focus on developing a supporting environment for pro-business, and refusing multilateral cooperation at the expense of environmental issues. However, Obama made climate change and conservation key priority, promoting multilateral cooperation to enable tackling the change in global climate (David, 2013).

There are also differences in the foreign policy in Obama and Bush administration actions in the war on terror majorly in Iraq and Afghanistan (Bruke, 2005. Obama aimed at withdrawing US troops from Iraq and continued with the policy of Bush administration of increasing American forces but for different reasons. Bush focused on increasing the number of troops to be victorious over Taliban in Afghanistan but on the increase in troops will enable the US to withdraw from Afghanistan after dialogue (Bruke, 2005). Bush unilateralism policy with the UN-defying the diplomacy requests by acting independently of others. The Bush administration believed that going into war with militaries which are weak would just reduce the US forces effectiveness in the war on terror (Bruke, 2005). This showed the Bush administration attitude towards multilateral cooperation. In contrast, Barrack Obama administration aimed increasing negotiations to reach an agreement on concluding the war and withdrawing the US troops using multilateral negotiations based on its foreign policy (Jacob & Page, 2003).

Gorge W. Bush entered the White House with the aim of following a unilateral policy. Obama administration focused on reversing the trend of unilateral policy with an attempt of building bridges damaged by Bush within the International Community (David, 2013). The Obama administration has tried balancing both liberal and realist thinkers, which has been seen in its foreign policy based on the war on terror. The Obama speech in 2009 after he receives the Nobel Peace Prize reflect the mix of liberal and realistic ideology (Jacob & Page, 2003). Abiding to the international law showed abidance to international law and international community standards. Moreover, Obama stated that the US will use military force in particular instances like civil war, genocide and on humanitarian grounds. He further focused on withdrawing US troops of the previous administration.

How Revolution in Military Affairs, Defense Budgeting, and Intelligence Reform Shape American Foreign Policy

The idea of military affairs, defense budgeting, and intelligence reform has led to revolutions and advancements in military technology in the United States. Currently, the foreign policy in the US has led to establishment and maintenance of diplomatic relations with international organizations and countries. As a world superpower with one of the best military intelligence, it involves peacekeeping functions and tries to address the environmental and international problems. Advancements in technology have resulted in control capabilities, intelligence sensors, and long range precision weapons to allow for domination of conventional wars. For instance, the 1991 Gulf War, the invasion of Afghanistan, the fighting over Kosovo and the Iraq invasion prove that superior intelligence and technology has resulted in the revolution of military affairs that has shaped the American foreign policy that has enabled it to dominate warfare in the current world (Cook, James, 2013). The changes in the military affairs and intelligence are evident due to the combination of control, command and intelligence capabilities in the conventional war. The fighting in Gaza, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and other conflicts have led to different forms of revolution (Lowenthal, 2014).

The revolution in military affairs and intelligence started during the cold war in Europe. The United States have struggled to pit its allies and governments along cultural and religious lines. The advanced military operations in Iraq was an inspiring and exiting event for the US. The successful major events in US army history like the Gulf war was a victory that led to new developments and modes in warfare. Technology continues to be the basis of the success of the revolution in military affairs. President George W. Bush trumpeting on the war in Iraq vowed to establish foreign policy in Afghanistan built on the decrees of the intelligence community (Cook, James, 2013). The US uses approximately $80 billion on military affairs and defense budgeting every year that has assisted in guiding the matters ranging from countering the growing military abilities of China and hunting terrorists. This has informed the day to day decision-making processes that help it to look into world problems more closely like the increasing threat by the Al-Qaida in the 1990s (Boot, 2005). The current president, Obama is focusing on a foreign policy decision on whether to go war with the Arab world or rethink the US strategy in going to war with the Arab world. The influences in military affairs and intelligence matters are the ones brought by leaders into office; that is the lessons they have learned from history, their strategic sense, personal experiences, and the domestic policies. President Lyndon B. Johnson got the gloomy assessments of intelligence on South Vietnams capability to stand on its feet, but he lost to the domino theory because South Vietnam fell to communism (Boot, 2005).

The superiority of Americans in Kosovo and bombing of Yugoslavia also changed the picture of US military and intelligence. Since the technological advancement had little implications on violence in Kosovo, the bombing was the primary tactic that the resolved to in Belgrade and Yugoslavia (Boot, 2005). This was due to the resilience of the forces in Yugoslavia and the fact that the forces in Yugoslavia were first underestimated. Challenging NATO was difficult as the US deployed paramilitary gangs and army troops that unleashed violence in Kosovo. Moreover, due to the American experience in Somalia US experts questioned the revolution in military affairs and intelligence based on its orientation to classic warfare leading to new military and intelligence reforms. In 2011, the threat of al-Qaeda was not new as the United States had seen al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in East Africa, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia (Boot, 2005). Thus, the attacks in the United States revolutionized warfare in the United States more than the contribution of military technologies had done in revolutionizing warfare in the US. Though the United States has not entirely adapted to terrorism, the revolution in military affairs like technologies in Iraq and Afghanistan were essential in defeating the Iraq army and the Taliban.

The Obama administrations drumbeating on Iraq is mainly a purpose of domestic politics. (Cook, 2013). In the Iraq invasion, the United States in 2003 realized that the Sadaam Hussein regime was planning to more mass destruction weapons. Bush administration thereby invaded...

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