Obama's Foreign Policy; One Year After Election (YOUR VIEWS)

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Huffington Post

November 4th marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama's election. The international community paid particularly close attention to Obama's presidential campaign and the election of 2008. During his first year in office, he has grappled with pressing global issues. He has given a major address to the Muslim world in Cairo, attempted to broker Mideast peace and deliberated over a new Afghan war policy.

The HuffPost asked you what you thought of Obama's performance to date. We asked how you, members of the HuffPost audience and international community, how you would rate his foreign policy efforts. We wanted to know if he has met your expectations, if he has changed your view of the United States and what you think he should have done differently.

We received almost 200 responses from people living everywhere from Paris to Hyderabad to Chisinau, Moldova. We heard from artists, bloggers, students, managers, vice presidents of companies and one self-described "angry and betrayed citizen."

The responses ranged from "Very disappointed" (R.M.P.) to "He is even better than I had hoped" (Gail Murphy). As we looked at the responses we found almost 40 percent of our correspondents had negative things to say about Obama's foreign policy, with about the same saying positive things and the rest with mixed feelings.

All in all, a mixed bag.

Here is a selection of the most interesting responses.

Amber from New Jersey wrote:

I think it started off sketchy. I never believed he would follow through on everything, but he has really brought discretionary issues to the table, healthcare, climate change, peace in the Middle East (not just ending the war). I anticipate the end-results of all his efforts.

Cindy Rochel from Illinois wrote:

I remain very pleased with what has been accomplished thus far. Back in the Spring, I wrote to my local papers to express my pride in the President's messages during his overseas trips. Finally a president who speaks as WE feel. As a country, we have always been there to reach out. We are generous of spirit, if sometimes egocentric. The president is moving always to recognize that we haven't changed as much as the previous administrations actions and words may have indicated.

I felt prior to the election, again while listening to The Audacity Of Hope, and each time we make strides in recoving our reputation, that this President has the unique ability, given his life experiences and the wonderful way he has of plotting for the long term health and welfare of this country. He makes me feel good. Again and still, he makes me proud.

Ahmad Aizuddin bin Azizan from Malaysia wrote:

I would say Obama has done some notable changes since being the president. He improves the Muslim-US relations by addressing the world that he's determined to do it. His down to earth personality as well as not so radical perceptions towards others. I would expect him to be transparent in resolving the middle east crisis and not being too bias in supporting a certain organization.

Not all of his plan had been achieved but he's doing the right thing to amend the economic turmoil left by Bush and Cheney, it's utterly a mess that takes an ample time to be settled. As a Malaysian, i gladly say that he's vigorous towards the alteration of the American policy in order to regain the global trusts after 8 miserable years of Bush's presidency.

Scott Tandy from California wrote:

Change you can believe in has transformed to compromise you can't believe. Obama had a golden opportunity to not only continuing to tell Americans the truth but also with his new power to seek it and hold someone, anyone, accountable for the illegal warrant less wiretapping, torture, lies to start preemptive and unnecessary wars, and to prosecute those on Wall St and in government who caused the meltdown of the American economy. Obama has declared "we need to look forward, not back" and thus will hold no one accountable for their crimes...no investigations, no prosecution, no justice.

This pattern was immediately visible in his appointments to high office. Secretary's of State, Treasury, Defense, and now General McChrystal who was personally responsible for the cover-up of the death of America's most famous war hero Pat Tillman. When American's look for spiritual guidance we should be praying for God to help America, not bless it.

Benjamin Camp from Pennsylvania wrote:

I now view him as clearly, if not sympathetic, tolerant of war criminals, namely Bush and Israel. Not to mention letting the Karzai farce continue. My expectations were that he would cut through the crap and return justice to this nation. He has clearly not lived up to them. No arrests for the white collar criminals that nearly totaled this nation, no arrests for war criminals, but plenty of men and women from the LGBT community thrown out of the army. This is not justice.

Colby Bone from Utah wrote:

I've come to see Obama as more of a moderate, but also as one who isn't demanding enough when approaching negotiations and concedes too quickly. In terms of foreign policy, I especially expected him to take a hard line with Israel and reestablish that the relationship is one in which the United States is the senior partner, the Israelis the junior partner. No, I don't think he has and I think his appointment of Dennis Ross to be the State Department representative in charge of the Persian Gulf file was an ominous symbol of what Obama's foreign policy would be.

Anja Van Rompaey from Belgium wrote:

My view of Obama hasn't changed at all, he has totally lived up to my expectations. I think that Obama has dramatically changed the way the US is viewed in Belgium: instead of confirming the ideas of "white, male, obese, McDonald, lack of knowledge and culture, superficial, and religious fundamentalism", Obama stands for "racial and cultural diversity, intelligence, prepared to listen, able to understand different perspectives on the same topic, social justice, healthy and green way of living, equal respect of ALL religious AND of atheism, true family values, cool, fashion (thanks to Michelle), innovation, ...", the list is endless.

Obama has shown the world that there are not just Neo Cons and religious fundamentalists in the US, that the US is much richer and much more interesting than that. Thanks to Obama, for the first time in my life I am seriously considering traveling to the US, and maybe even trying to work there. The election of Obama made me realize that my idea of the US was simply wrong, a generalization of only one aspect of the US.

Suddenly the US reveals itself today to be even more progressive than Europe (attitude towards Muslims, women, gays, ...). In other words, if we could choose a "president of the world", I would absolutely vote for him, so I'm very glad that one of the most powerful nations of the world has elected this kind of president. And as far as I know, in Belgium as in other European countries, Obama is more popular than local heads of state or politicians ... . Last but not least: the election of Obama even made me discover the Huffington Post ... :-).

Biswa Das from Manhattan, KS wrote:

He is a man of strong character and shows a very high degree of consistency in his behavior. Expectations: I expected him to change the image of US across the globe and he has been fairly successful at that. The world views US better now and America is slowly earning back the respect it so deserves for lot of the good it does around the world. I also feel, it needs to be condemned for its big brother attitude at times, a good example being the cowboy diplomacy of W.

Although I live in US, my folks back home now follow more of US news because of cable TV in India as well as more interest in Obama presidency. There is a lot of hope and optimism in India toward Mr. Obama and I am hopeful he will live up to it in the next 7 years. He will be remembered as a great president who not just changed America for the better, but made the world a better and more peaceful place for the current and future generations.

James N. Vail from Chicago, IL wrote:

Total disappointment. He has continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, extended them to Pakistan, threatened Iran in violation of the U.N. Charter, acquiesced to Israel's settlement expansion, suppressed evidence of U.S. war crimes, favors privatization of schools (charter), continues the Cuban embargo, bails out high finance and not the unemployed, expands the military in Columbia thereby irritating South America; dare I say more?

Tom from Moldova wrote:

When I first heard Obama speak in 2004 I knew he would be a major player someday; thinking 8 or 12 years, not only 4. As a True Believer, I left my home and business to go to the US to campaign for him and spent 90 days at my own expense working in my hometown. Stayed up all night election evening to monitor results and faced the morning with a smile, knowing our national nightmare was almost over. I really felt that he was going to be the Great President of my life (been around for 12 of them)

Since then he has been only a disappointment to me. I've discovered he is more of the same - a politician who talks out of both sides of their mouth and is for sale to anyone with power and a big check. Next time around I might make the effort to vote and if I do, it will be for the socialist ticket, not for him. However, here in Moldova the natives still love him. Bush was hated with a passion. Obama has not changed the way people view America, America has changed it. The last year people are enjoying the recession, job loses, foreclosures - to them it is payback for three generations of arrogance.

Skip Folden from Las Vegas wrote:

I expected more. He has actually delivered nothing. Our international enemies are enjoying the weakening of America and our allies are losing faith in the US

Henry Scott from New York City wrote:

First I think it unfair to rate him when he has factually had control as President for 9 months and 1 week.

Albeit, he was responsible for the following: bring the Israeli settlement issue to a truce just before his inauguration ending the American merchant ship hijacking; began talks with Cuba, Syria, Iran and Venezuela; forming a UN backed stance against Iran nuclear development; coordinating a new round of nuclear disarmament with Russia and 4 other major powers; and getting Russia to stand down on its development of its version of a shield missile system.

All while a Republican Party has been actively bad mouthing him, his administration and his policies at home and abroad. To be swimming up stream I'd say he's doing better than anyone should have a logical reason to believe.

Meagan from Istanbul, Turkey wrote:

I was hopeful at the beginning, but now I just see more of the same old tired foreign policy. I had expected him to close Gitmo and bring home American troops from areas where they are clearly doing no good, not wanted, and causing further (if possible) deterioration of the American image. In Turkey, people generally like Obama but still see his policies as not much different from Bush's...and I would have to agree.

Shunit Harpaz from Israel wrote:

A year has passed since President Obama was elected. On many opportunities and so many speeches, Obama emphasized the need for peace in the Middle East. Obama sent special envoy Mitchell over, he even sent Hillary Clinton for as many as four hours to meet Israeli officials yesterday. But, peace never seemed as far as unreachable as now. Israelis and Palestinians agree on one thing that they don't want to meet.

The pressure from the Obama administration is not working. It is safe to say that something isn't working. I think that the first person to joke about Obama's capabilities in the real world was his very own Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. During her campaign she criticized his ability to touch people with his inspirational speeches but with no record of making a change in reality.

Clinton said: "The sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing ... Obama even got a Nobel Prize for peace, for his efforts. Well guess what; in the real world those prizes don't count unless there's an actual peace, or a start of negotiation between parties. In the real world nothing meaningful happened and that is the harsh truth. Maybe Obama is just one of us and not the savior of the world.

Virginia M. Moncrieff from Manila and Sydney wrote:

I was fascinated by Obama's election campaign - mainly because the notion of him being touted as a real (or indeed, dangerous) liberal seemed so whacky. Obama may be liberal in US terms but as a good friend of mine once said "liberal in America is just a conservative anywhere else".

So the notion that there was going to be a liberal revolution fascinated me - and the many other people viewing from abroad. This of course played out loud and clear with the issue of health care - which grimly fascinates many outside the US. It is hard to underestimate the horror and fear most people feel at the thought of being lumbered by a system as inhumane, ridiculous and as illogical as the US health care system.

That was a challenge for Obama to manage and one that looks increasingly mangled and stuffed up as the days go by. As an journalist working overseas for about 95% of every year, it is safe to say that most Americans I meet abroad have a sophisticated world view and are generally darn fine people. The change in stride of my many American friends since Obama's election has been noticeable. They say that they no longer have an apology or justification ready after they introduce themselves as Americans.

Now is not the forum to give a lengthy dissertation on Afghanistan. It's a headache of extraordinary proportions and I am not among those tapping my foot and banging on my watch impatiently waiting for Obama to make up his mind. I believe in getting in right, as opposed to doing it now. The Nobel committee giving Obama the Peace Prize seemed like a rush of blood to collective heads. Obama accepting the prize was incomprehensible.

Jim Farrens from Boise, ID wrote:

All hat, no cattle.