Archive for April, 2009

Russian relations improving?

April 15, 2009

Next to talk of Iran, Cuba, and Somalian pirates, Russia seems far away. But the U.S.’s former sworn enemy is a key player in international relations, and the new administration has to decide how closely it wants to work with Moscow. A foreign policy report by Stefan Wagstyl of the Financial Times examines the state of Russo-American relations.

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed on reducing stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and Obama is no longer pushing the Bush administration’s plan for a missile defense shield that would have surrounded Russia. This plan typified the icy relations between Russia and the U.S. under Bush.

But both sides have fundamental disagreements about Russia’s place in the world. (more…)

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U.S. to drop precondition for Iran nuclear talks

April 14, 2009

The U.S. and E.U. will no longer require Iran to stop uranium enrichment before diplomatic talks can begin, the Guardian reports. This marks a dramatic departure from the Bush administration, which wouldn’t meet with Iran unless it agreed to stop uranium enrichment.
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Obama urges global cooperation

April 14, 2009

In the wake of his diplomatic tour in Europe, President Obama called for nations around the world to work together, the Associated Press reports. Obama spoke with the same rhetoric he has used to build political bridges domestically. He quietly referred to a diplomatic atmosphere of “mistrust” that came about during the Bush years.
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Iran not a threat to U.S., says analyst

April 10, 2009

A political scientist concluded that Iran poses no threat to the U.S. mainland, United Press International reports. The analysis said the U.S. can solve its problems with Iran through the soft power of diplomacy. It recommends patient thought in favor of a show of military power.

Thursday marked Iran’s Nuclear Day, the two-year anniversary of the nation’s first enrichment of uranium, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showcased Iran’s expansion of nuclear technology. Ahmadinejad announced that the number of centrifuges for enrichment was up to 7,000 from 6,000 in February.
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U.S., Iran to meet over nuclear weapons

April 9, 2009

The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday night that it will attend U.N. Security Council discussions with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, according to the Associated Press. No specific date for these talks has been set.

This marks a change in protocol from the Bush administration, which attended only one such U.N. meeting with Iran. During his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush declared Iran to be an enemy, part of an “Axis of Evil” along with Iraq and North Korea. In early 2007 Bush defended a Pentagon program to take out Iranian operatives in Iraq.

During the last few years of his administration, there was speculation that the U.S. would invade Iran. Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he was willing to meet with the Obama administration if its intentions to end hostility were honest, according to Iranian government television.

Iran became a key U.S. ally following a 1953 coup engineered by Britain and the U.S. that ousted Iran’s democratic government. The present Islamic government came to power in the revolution of 1979. Americans at the U.S. embassy in Tehran were taken hostage, marking the beginning of bad relations.

Follow the BBC’s timeline of U.S.-Iranian relations through November 2008.

Obama makes surprise visit to Iraq

April 7, 2009

Following his visits to Europe and Turkey, President Obama made an unannounced stop in Iraq.

During the last few years of the Bush administration, officials said that the U.S. could not withdraw from Iraq until the Iraqi government was strong enough to run the country on its own.

Obama, continuing the same dialogue, said that now is the time for Iraq to take responsibility for itself. He thanked a crowd of troops for giving Iraq the opportunity to be a democratic nation.

Reaction

Mission Statement

April 7, 2009

This site is here to follow the developments of the new president’s diplomacy with the Middle East, the European Union, Russia, and China. It will take note in changes from years past and gauge public reaction to new policy.

The Online Community

April 7, 2009

Here are a few popular politics and news blogs that discuss foreign policy.

Daily Kos
Juan Cole: Informed Comment
The Washington Note

The Blog Catalog can be used to find many more foreign policy blogs.

Here are a few Yahoo Groups concerned with the issues.

People that care about U.S. foreign policy have discussions like this.

Many citizens from around the world follow how the U.S. is dealing with the rest of the world and give their strong opinions.

Links

April 7, 2009

Here are some websites you can use to follow developments in U.S. Diplomacy. These will appear in the link section on the sidebar.

Global Post
Heritage Foundation
Politico
Council on Foreign Relations
Foreign Policy Magazine
U.S. Department of State Blog
On the Issues: Barack Obama

Three major areas of policy to follow

April 7, 2009

1. The Middle East: finishing wars and restarting diplomacy

While the U.S. is still engaged in two wars, Obama is trying to use diplomacy to work with other countries in the region. He is taking a more conciliatory approach to Iran and supporting Turkey’s push for a position in the E.U. Obama has set a timetable for Iraq, planning to withdraw troops in August 2010 but to leave 50,000 behind for noncombat duties until the end of 2011. At the same time, the administration has pledged to expand the number of troops in Afghanistan.

2. The European Union: winning public opinion

Bush’s foreign policy led to a strained relationship with some European allies and low public opinion ratings across Europe. Obama is in the process of building a new reputation in the E.U. Winning public opinion in the E.U. will make it easier for Obama to work with its governments. Crowds cheered in France and the Czech Republic when he stopped in during the G-20 summits.

3. Russia: the Cold War lingers on

Obama made an agreement with Russia to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Though the president intends to move past a Cold War mentality, Russia and the U.S. still have disagreements. The U.S. doesn’t recognize former Soviet states as being under Russia’s sphere of influence.