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Pragmatist or Progressive? An Assessment of Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy

Past Event

Pragmatist or Progressive? An Assessment of Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy

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Pragmastist or Progressive? An Assessment of Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy

As President Obama enters his fourth year in office and as the presidential campaign moves closer to a two-candidate race, political analysts and American voters are weighing Obama’s tenure as U.S. commander-in-chief, top American diplomat and lead foreign policy strategist. While most portrayals of the president’s foreign and defense policies to date have not been comprehensive, a new book, Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy (Brookings Press, 2012), examines the full scope of the president’s promise, accomplishments and policy contradictions. Written by three Brookings foreign and defense policy experts, Bending History looks at how the 44th president formed and executed his foreign policy agenda, from the promise of the 2008 campaign and his 2009 Nobel acceptance speech to his current approaches to Asia, the Middle East, Afghanistan and other critical challenges facing the United States today. Journalist Fareed Zakaria calls the book “the best account of the Obama foreign policy” that he has read.

On March 12, the Brookings Institution hosted the launch of Bending History featuring a discussion of President Obama’s foreign policy and defense strategies. Authors Martin Indyk, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings; Senior Fellow Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings; and Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, director of research for Foreign Policy at Brookings, discussed the international and security challenges facing the United States today. Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Kagan, author of The World America Made (Knopf, 2012), moderated the discussion.

After the program, panelists took audience questions.

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