Critics of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy complain that it spends too much time promoting American values and too little time addressing concrete concerns like trade and security. However, that is not the picture coming out of Vietnam this week, where Obama lifted a longstanding arms embargo to engage a new partner in his efforts to contain China and presided over a sizable trade deal that will create thousands of U.S. jobs. Obama didn’t miss the opportunity to lecture his hosts on the virtues of democracy, but he also achieved tangible gains in support of American interests. This is similar to the approach Obama has taken with other countries in a position to advance U.S. interests even if they don’t measure up to American ideals — countries like Saudi Arabia, for instance. The bottom line is that President Obama is no idealist when it comes to dealing with the world, he is a pragmatic practitioner of realpolitik. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: