Dangerous Doctrine: How Obama's Grand Strategy Weakened America

Dangerous Doctrine: How Obama's Grand Strategy Weakened America

by Robert G. Kaufman


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Much like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, President Barack Obama came to office as a politician who emphasized conviction rather than consensus. During his 2008 presidential campaign, he pledged to transform the role of the United States abroad. His ambitious foreign policy goals included a global climate treaty, the peaceful withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a new relationship with Iran. Throughout Obama's tenure, pundits and scholars have offered competing interpretations of his "grand strategy," while others have maintained that his policies were incoherent or, at best, ad hoc.

In Dangerous Doctrine, political scientist Robert G. Kaufman argues that the forty-fourth president has indeed articulated a clear, consistent national security policy and has pursued it with remarkable fidelity. Yet Kaufman contends that President Obama has imprudently abandoned the muscular internationalism that has marked US foreign policy since the end of World War II. Drawing on international relations theory and American diplomatic history, Kaufman presents a robust critique of the Obama doctrine as he situates the president's use of power within the traditions of American strategic practice.

Focusing on the pivotal regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, this provocative study demonstrates how current executive branch leadership threatens America's role as a superpower, weakening its ability to spread democracy and counter threats to geopolitical order in increasingly unstable times. Kaufman proposes a return to the grand strategy of moral democratic realism, as practiced by presidents such as Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, with the hope of reestablishing the United States as the world's dominant power.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813167206
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 05/13/2016
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Robert G. Kaufman is professor of public policy at Pepperdine University. He is the author of Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics and In Defense of the Bush Doctrine.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Main Tenets of the Obama Doctrine 7

2 The Obama Doctrine and International Relations Theory 27

3 The Obama Doctrine and Rival Traditions of American Diplomacy 39

4 The Obama Doctrine's Reset with Russia and Europe 61

5 The Obama Doctrine Meets the Middle East and Afghanistan 97

6 The Obama Doctrine's Asian Pivot 145

Conclusion 185

Epilogue 199

Acknowledgments 213

Notes 215

Select Bibliography 263

Index 279

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