100 Days, 100 Foreign Policy Achievements

05/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

President Obama's first 100 days have seen an enormous amount of activity on national security - travel by the President, his Cabinet and envoys, gestures intended to signal a change in the US's approach to the world, and substantive reforms to policy overseas and the conduct of policy at home. In 100 days, the Obama Administration has taken more than 100 actions that are reshaping American foreign policy, reversing the failures of the Bush Administration, and renewing America's standing in the world.

Ten of the most significant actions are:

Moving to end the war in Iraq and ensure that it no longer dominates all other American national security interests;

Refocusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan and preparing a comprehensive strategy to address the threat posed by Al Qaeda there;

• Leading a global response to the economic crisis through the G20, obtaining commitments of $1.1 trillion to safeguard the world's most vulnerable economies;

• Returning to techniques that are proven and moral standards that the world looks to us to uphold by banning torture and moving to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center;

Reinvigorating the transatlantic alliance by treating our European allies as full partners, supporting a growing role for the European Union, and mediating among allies at the NATO Summit;

• Setting out a major agenda to protect Americans from the spread and use of deadly weapons, with a long-term commitment to work toward eliminating nuclear weapons and an immediate plan to negotiate new nuclear weapons cuts with Russia;

Re-engaging with Muslim nations through targeted, positive public diplomacy;

• Presenting a national security budget that prepares the US for 21st century challenges, begins to rebalance between civilian and military programs and targets unnecessary, ineffective and wasteful spending;

• Inaugurating a new era of improved relations in our own hemisphere by beginning to open to Cuba and investing in a plan to help Mexico fight drug cartels;

• Reaching out to begin a new approach to Iran based on negotiations and rebuilding consensus among key US partners.

Iraq

1. President Obama completed an internal strategy review on Iraq, and announced a plan to end the war in Iraq, putting in place the political, diplomatic, and military components necessary for U.S. forces to withdraw by the end of 2011, and transition responsibility to Iraqis.

2. After years of Iraq policy which drew contempt from Iraqis and produced deep political divisions at home, President Obama united 80% of Americans behind a new strategy, which also drew historic support from Iraqis.

3. In his first visit to Iraq as President, Obama pushed Iraq's leaders to make much needed progress on political reconciliation.

Afghanistan-Pakistan

4. US diplomatic and military engagement in Pakistan helped guide the country out of an acute political crisis, which rose out of tensions between President Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.

5. The Obama Administration completed a strategic review of US policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, refocusing the U.S. from the war in Iraq to the region where the September 11 attacks originated.

6. The Obama administration committed to a comprehensive approach to Pakistan which includes greater development aid, support for democratic institutions, and assistance to the Pakistani military in fighting the insurgency.

7. President Obama unified policy implementation in South Asia by appointing Ambassador Richard Holbrooke United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan; Holbrooke wasted no time, quickly traveling to the region for a listening tour involving all the key players.

8. In an unprecedented trilateral exercise, the Obama Administration brought key leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Washington to help coordinate the President's strategic review policy analysis. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that these meetings would continue and a Presidential trilateral is scheduled for May.

10. At a recent Pakistan donor's conference in Tokyo, the U.S. secured aid commitments of roughly $5bn "to bolster the country's economy and help it fight terror and Islamic radicalism."

11. Thanks to President Obama's encouragement, NATO members pledged various military and foreign aid contributions to the mission in Afghanistan.

Global Economic Crisis

12. In response to the global economic crisis, the Obama administration successfully built consensus among the world's major economies at the G20 conference in Europe on a coordinated response based on financial assistance, regulation, and a commitment to free trade.

13. Obama led G20 leaders to commit $1.1 trillion as part of a global stimulus fund for the IMF, intended to stave off economic catastrophe by propping up the world's vulnerable economies.

14. Along with other heads of government, Obama agreed on improved global financial regulation, including the creation of a new Financial Stability Board, regulation of hedge funds, and tax havens.

15. President Obama and the Democratic Congress led the world in responding to the economic crisis and the President signed a major economic stimulus package on the 29th day of his presidency.

Terrorism, Detainees and Torture