How Obama's Foreign Policy 'Long Game' Works
This week, a central theme of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia has been that the United States is stronger at home and better positioned in the world than it was eight years ago—and that President Barack Obama has helped defined a new approach to the use of American power, one that Hillary Clinton will continue.
So it is worth taking a step back to ask: Is there an Obama Doctrine?
Almost all Presidents resist the doctrinal strait-jacket, and Obama rejects the idea that, in his words, there can be a “cookie-cutter approach” to global challenges. Yet he does have a coherent set of ideas about what he wants the United States to accomplish in the world, and how it should go about doing so. This is what academics describe as a “grand strategy,” and what I think of as Obama’s “Long Game” foreign policy.
The core elements of Obama’s Long Game are not the doctrine pundits clamor for, but they do comprise a kind of checklist, a practical framework to managing American power and making strategic choices, ensuring the United States remains in the best possible position to solve problems and pursue its interests. When thinking about Obama’s legacy and the lessons for his successors, the Long Game checklist is a good place to start...