The Need for US to Change Image

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ebrahim Mottaqi

With the lapse of only one week since the inauguration of Barack Obama, effective innovations have been witnessed in the area of foreign policy and international conduct of the US.  It shows that motivation for change has been reflected in the political will and executive decisions of Obama. It is to be mentioned that the executive directives of the US president should be implemented by political, security and defense institutions of the country.

Naturally materialization of these instructions requires suitable time for the achievement of new objectives. The first and most important executive order concerned negation of torture and investigation of political and ideological groups. This shows that the US intelligence and security organization paid no attention to human rights issues and the social rights of political prisoners during George Bush’s presidency. On the other hand, this instruction shows that the security apparatus enjoyed “extrajudicial will”.

Another executive order issued by Obama relates to suspension of activities of secret prisons of the US intelligence agencies, especially the CIA, in other countries. This issue can be considered among demands made by German officials. Evidence shows that under political and security conditions, grounds are prepared for intelligence organizations to implement outward activities. These organizations play a determining role in the security and strategic structure of the United States. Under present conditions, Obama’s political and executive resolve is set on countering extrajudicial measures by security and intelligence organizations. Naturally, such a trend will reconstruct the US status before its allies and friendly countries.

The central idea behind Obama’s strategic thought can be considered in “change in US image” at international arena. Many polls showed during the past years that the US enjoys little credit among citizens and political systems of the world. The change in the image of the US can be regarded a reaction to the aggressive moves and policies of the US during 2001-2008.

During those years, neo-con groups played a special role in political and security structure of the United States and in this way could reinforce “security oriented waves” so that it is very far from the objectives of democratic countries.

By reviewing measures taken by Obama, one can analyze the framework of new management policy of that country. In the years 2001-2004, the decision-making of the US foreign policy was organized within the political framework of the US Department of Defense and the National Security Council. This trend faced a perceivable change since 2005. The arrival in the scene of Condoleezza Rice caused the traditional communication patterns of the country to face some changes. Although Condoleezza Rice is considered a theoretician on international relations and foreign policy, but she should be regarded a secretary of state with a technocratic approach. She was able to restore the status of the State Department. This is interpreted as reconstruction of the condition of the political power of the secretary of state in the executive decision-making trend.

Rice was able to influence the decisions and behavioral patterns of George Bush and in this way the US foreign policy was diverted into a more balanced trend compared to the past.

During the new ear, the decisions of the State Department will be overshadowed by the political resolve of the president and the White House.

Obama’s national security advisor, Admiral Jim Jones will be more dynamic compared to the State Department. This is due to the “bureaucratic weakness” and absence of political experience of Hillary Clinton in the fields of national security and foreign policy.

In general, appointment of Hillary Clinton as US secretary of state is the reflection of power balance between Democratic Party executives than her organizational experience and executive findings.

Therefore, during the new era, Obama prefers to regulate and organize   many foreign policy procedures through cooperation with the US National Security Council. Under condition that the United States is faced with various security crises, any political decision making would call for trans- organizational resolve. Obama has launched a promising start for reconstruction of the US foreign policy image. This cannot be stopped in the short term. To Americans, reconstruction of their political image at the international arena is of great importance. Naturally, the new behavioral pattern of the United States will bear fruit under conditions that the possibility of reconstruction of the social and international environment of the country would be created. Another issue which requires trans-organizational innovation in the US foreign policy can be related to the mechanism of its relations with the Middle East and (especially) Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the geopolitical heart of the Middle East and any security development in this region would be fruitless if it ignores the behavioral patterns and security policies of Iran. Therefore, Obama should use his resolve and initiative as president in connection with security and strategic issues and necessities of the United States. This also requires reconstruction of the communication pattern with Iran. This would be the only way to create regional balance.

It is to be noted that the presence of persons such as Vali Nasr and Fawaz Gerges in Obama’s foreign policy and security team can pave the way for utilizing new geopolitical initiatives. The said persons possess balancing attitudes in connection with the Middle East. They have also reviewed Washington’s security and offensive policies within critical literature. Therefore, under the present conditions, it will be natural to see grounds for diplomatic initiatives to reconstruct Obama’s behavioral pattern towards Iran and other Middle East countries emerge.


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