The Real Rebalancing: American Diplomacy and the Tragedy of President Obama's Foreign Policy

The Real Rebalancing: American Diplomacy and the Tragedy of President Obama's Foreign Policy
The Real Rebalancing: American Diplomacy and the Tragedy of President Obama's Foreign Policy
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An Insightful Analysis of President Obama’s Effort to Re-balance the “Three-Legged Stool” of America’s Diplomacy and Results to Date
As this monograph goes to press, the nuclear agreement negotiated between Iran and the so-called P5+1—the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council consisting of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, plus Germany—is the subject of heated debate within Washington. The negotiations that produced the agreement perhaps best exemplify the efforts by the Barack Obama administration to use diplomacy to address the most vexing security challenges of the day. The United States and Iran have struggled to overcome mutual hostility and distrust stemming from the 1953 coup against the Mohammad Mossadegh government and the 1979-80 hostage crisis, not to mention Teheran’s use of Hezbollah as a proxy against American ally Israel. Yet despite this, the administration persisted over several years to first intensify and broaden economic sanctions against Iran, and then to engage in painstaking negotiations with an authoritarian country that routinely and methodically employs anti-American rhetoric.

In many ways, this shift in approach toward greater reliance on diplomacy—or, as Dr. John R. Deni puts it, this rebalancing—represents a marked contrast with the approach of President Obama’s predecessor. The administration of President George W. Bush was frequently accused of favoring the use of unilateral military power over multilateral diplomacy and development as the primary tool of American national security. Indeed, the effort to rebalance the three legged stool of U.S. national security has been a hallmark of the Obama years, as Dr. Deni persuasively argues in this monograph. 

Dr. Deni argues that the tragedy of President Obama’s rebalance toward diplomacy and development is not that it represents an America in retreat, but rather that the rebalance has not succeeded. Despite unambiguous rhetoric, official pronouncements, and policies all aimed at rebalancing toward diplomacy and development and away from defense, in fact, there is much evidence to indicate that U.S. foreign and national security policy remains militarized, perhaps overly so. Nonetheless, even in a tale of failure, there are important implications not simply for U.S. national security, but for the role of the military as well. Dr. Deni skillfully draws out these implications, connecting broad strategic trends with the most likely, most compelling consequences for the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army specifically. By drawing these inferences effectively, Dr. Deni is able to offer implementable recommendations to senior policymakers.

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Presidential History- #43- George W. Bush can be found here:

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This monograph is a valuable contribution to the unfolding national security debate about the role of the U.S. military in the implementation of American foreign policy. Policymakers, military strategists, foreign policy specialists, and others involved in national security may be interested in this information.

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Defense Dept., Army, U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute
  • Deni, John R.
Key Phrases:
  • Real Rebalancing
  • American Diplomacy and the Tragedy of President Obamas Foreign Policy
  • President Obamas Foreign Policy
  • National security, United States
  • Civil-military relations, United States
  • United States, Foreign relations, 2009-
  • United States, Military policy, 21st century
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