International relations refer to a field of study that concerns the impacts of political activities of one country on other nations. It also takes into consideration various forms of interactions, such as trade agreements that exist between two or more nations.Goldstein (2009) defines international relations as factors and activities of a particular nation or a leader that have both direct and indirect impacts on policies and governance of other nations.
Major Theoretical and Practical Concerns of International Relations. Various scholars have pegged international relations to political power and, hence, classify it as a field of international politics.However, I would argue that international relations are more than politics alone. It deals with various aspects of a nation, such as international trade transactions, flow of information between countries, national governance, as well as behavioral responses depicted by countries towards policies of another country.Additionally, international relations encompass political, social and economic issues as well as religious concerns. Thus, the scope of international relations is much wider than international politics.
In my view, the nature and scope of international relations also takes into consideration management of international organizations such as the United Nations, International Laws governing interactions between countries, international conflict resolution and management techniques, international economy, peace and security, international diplomacy as well as foreign policies amongst others (Baylis & Smith, 2010).It is also important to note that international relations are not strictly bound to nations alone, they as well deal with interactions between economic units such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) within the international system.
International relations concern the relationships between various countries as well as their foreign affairs.The major theoretical and practical concerns of international relations to scholars and practitioners include Positivist, Liberalism, Neo-liberalism, Marxism and Dependency theories amongst others. Practical concerns for scholars of international relations entail globalization, emergence of terrorist organizations, integration of international values and ethics, and conflicts of interests amongst leaders of nations. For example, conflict of interest has become a major challenge in implementation of foreign policies by national governments.
Historical and Political Overview of President Obama Foreign Policies and International Relations. President Barrack Obama first stated his foreign policies during the 2007 presidential campaigns in which he promised to phase out the deployment of the United States’ troops in Iraq.Furthermore, Obama promised to redeploy more troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan so as to enable America effectively tackle terrorism.This implied that Barrack Obama would responsibly end the war in Iraq and redirect focus on other challenging issues within the entire Middle East region.In late 2011, President Obama ordered for withdrawal of all U.S. troops out of Iraq. This brought to an end the long war between United States of America and Iraq.
Secondly, President Obama promised to gather and coordinate international efforts in fighting terrorism and other crimes that affect the international community. For example, he vowed to put an end to production and distribution of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear bombs.President Barrack Obama also promised to rebuild and construct partnerships and strong inter-governmental relationships that would enable the international community in combating various social threats and challenges that they face.In my view, the major goal of Barrack Obama’s foreign policies was to create united, safe and secure societies across the globe.
A few months after taking oath of office, President Barrack Obama ordered for increased efforts to track down Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda. Under the orders and instructions from President Obama, former CIA director Leon Panetta led a team of soldiers, who raided the home of Osama bin Laden thereby killing him.President Obama received numerous praises for his efforts to bring down Osama bin Laden. According to Crotty (2012), the killing of Osama bin Laden brought to an end a long manhunt that had led to massive wastage of economic resources of United States of America during President George Bush’s regime. The killing of Osama bin Laden also led to acquisition and capture of vital information relating terrorists’ organizations. It also led to eviction of other major leaders of al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and its environs.
Another important milestone in Obama’s foreign policies is the pulling together of an international coalition that was mandated with ensuring safety and protection of anti-Qaddafi rebels in Libya. In mid October 2011, the international coalition assisted the anti-Qaddafi rebels to successfully overthrow the government.
Fourthly, President Barrack Obama laid down stringent sanctions against Iran in mid 2010. The sanctions also included total ban on importation of goods and services from Iran to America. These sanctions weakened the economic status of Iran. The United Nations also supported the sanctions. The sanctions led to decreased support of Iran by other nations, for example, Obama successfully persuaded China and Russia to refrain from supporting or doing business with Iran.
Moreover, President Obama supported smooth and democratic transition of power in Egypt between 2009 and 2011. Through his administration, President Obama called for the Egyptian government to stop violating the human rights of protesters. Through President Obama’s efforts and support, President Mohammed Mubarak was forced to resign and the Supreme Council of the armed forces of Egypt took power. This has facilitated good relationships between the Supreme Council of Armed Forces of Egypt and the administration of President Obama. According to Indyk, Lieberthal and O’Hanlon (2011), the Supreme Council also assured the international community that Egypt is subject to both regional and international treaties and agreements.The efforts of President Obama to bring peace in Egypt have also led to increased trade between the U.S. and Northern Africa.
Sixthly, President Obama has also strengthened the relationship between the United States and Israeli. Rogak and Obama (2009) postulates that the defense minister of Israeli confessed that the relationship between Israeli and the United States was stronger under the administration of President Obama than the way it was during the regime of President George Bush. In my view, the awesome support given to Israeli by Obama’s administration inevitably helped in reducing tension between the U.S. and Israeli, and consequently establishing a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship. According to Smith, Hadfield and Dunne (2011), the positive cooperation between President Obama’s administration and Israeli also resulted in a decline of Iran’s efforts to manufacture nuclear weapons. President Obama also opened a new base in Australia to improve the economical and political roles and impacts in Asia.
Kennedy (2008) suggests that President Obama intervened into Egypt at a time when the international community remained silent over the occurrence and inhumanities in Egypt. This greatly helped in leading Egypt towards the right political direction. President Obama also intervened in Libya during the presidential elections to foresee the success.
President Obama has also strengthened regional diplomacy through membership in the East Asia Summit. According to Crotty (2012), the membership of the United States in the East Asia Summit has created a strong presence of the U.S. in the region. Moreover, President Obama created the G-20 permanent leaders forum. This forum helped in strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and other nations.
Other policies of the Obama administration such as elevation of poverty, increased food production, improving global health as well as development of policies to tackle climate change and economic recession are other foreign policies that have greatly contributed towards the creation of strong international relationships between U.S. and the international community. The passing of three important trade agreements in 2010 by the Obama administration greatly helped in increasing trade between the U.S. and the international community. President Obama also set up the framework for trans-pacific free trade, which intended at increasing trade between the U.S. and the pacific nations.
In early 2009, President Barrack Obama announced his intention to bring to an end the war in Iraq. By the end f 2011, U.S. troops were out of Iraq and the security forces of Iraq took over the leadership, control and governance of Iraq. Since then, there has been a strong relationship between the U.S. and the sovereign nation of Iraq. This has helped in promotion of security within the country as well as both social and economic prosperity.
In Libya, President Obama led other leaders in creating an international coalition to provide protection to the citizens of Libya against inhumane and ruthless governance by Muammar Qaddafi.
In my opinion, the intervention by Obama in Libya saved thousands of lives. President Qaddafi was accused of strong dictatorship and killing of hundreds of Americans. As Indyk, Lieberthak and O’Hanlon (2011) put forward, the intervention of America in Libya also helped in restoring democracy within the country.At the Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama convinced leaders from various nations to shun nuclear terrorism. This helped in improving security and peace amongst nations.
International Relations Perspectives, Criticisms and Probable Future of Obama’s Foreign Policies. In my opinion, the administration of President Barrack Obama has done a recommendable job in restoring democracy in Middle East, Russia, Asia and other countries in Africa. I would further assert that high degrees of accountability and transparency in the Obama administration also facilitated creation of strong interactions relations between U.S. and the international community.
Despite the various achievements, success and prosperity of President Obama’s foreign policies, he (Obama) has receive numerous criticisms and attacks on the policies. For example, the Republicans criticized President Obama for poor leadership and excessive use of American resources on foreign issues. The Republicans claimed that President Obama was interfering with the affairs of other nations for unreasonable causes. Instead, the Republicans urged President Barrack Obama to focus more on rebuilding America. Similarly, when President Obama withdrew the U.S. troops out of Iraq in October 2011, the Republicans accused him for having failed in the war against Iraq.
From an international relations perspective, the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq by President Obama saved America great costs. In my view, inter-state wars are costly and consume many economic resources of the involved countries. Thus, Obama’s decision to withdraw the troops from Iraq was economically and socially ethical. Lots of resources such as money, fighting equipments and machinery and manpower from the United States were being exhausted. For example, Kennedy (2008) estimated that the total expenditure and cost for war in Iraq was enormously reduced from 65 billion dollars to 10 billion.
In my opinion, President Barrack Obama has intelligently deployed the power of America over other nations in a skillful manner. The foreign policies were also used to create self-awareness amongst the Americans.
Furthermore, President Obama mobilized various economic resources as well as manpower to assist the victims of the Haiti earthquake in Japan in 2010. To add on the list, President Obama signed various trade agreements with Korea government as well as Colombia. According to Baylis and Smith (2010), the trade agreements signed form part of the major responses by President Obama to curb global economic crisis.
From my part, the signing of trade agreements also helped in promoting peace and security between the United States of America and the trading partners as well as creation of employment opportunities to the American people. Goldstein (2009) points out that Asia pacific is the fastest growing region in the world and, thus, Obama’s foreign policy to focus on the region would result into numerous economic and social benefits.
I would further argue that since President Obama took office in 2009, he has successfully strengthened the relationship between America the rest of the world. He has also build new partnerships with foreign countries with an aim of facilitating control and management of various international issues such as economic crisis, world trade, international security and good governance. The trade agreements and inter-governmental partnerships, as asserted by Crotty (2012), were purely based on mutual and beneficial interests.
President Obama also led a group of leaders from the international community who sought to end the civil war in Sudan. Eventually, South Sudan gained the independence in 2011. This led to the end of long-sufferings and ruthless killings of South Sudanese people in the Darfur region. President Obama also provided humanitarian support to the victims of the civil war in Sudan. Moreover, the President foresaw the signing and full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between President Omar al Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan. Immediately after the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, President Barrack Obama sent a special convoy to the new country to show his commitment and dedication to support South Sudan. Moreover, Obama’s administration developed various strategies for the new government of South Sudan that would enable it to end the violence in the region.
In conclusion, I would argue that President Barrack Obama has succeeded in creating a strong international relationship with leaders of other nations. For example, President Obama successfully hosted leaders from Britain, France, Japan and Russia during the annual G8 Summit where various global issues such as social insecurity, terrorism, climate changes, political and economic challenges as well as food shortage were addressed. Similarly, President Obama hosted leaders from more than twenty five countries, which are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). A few days later, the President hosted leaders from the approximately fifty countries that form the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to discuss the way for Afghanistan. President Obama tabled a proposal that sought for smooth transition of power in Afghanistan from the Taliban to Afghanistan people. President Obama also successfully managed to bring to an end the merciless killings of the Libyans during the regime of Muammar Qaddafi. He heartedly supported the people of Libya to overthrow the government of Muammar Qaddafi. This indicates good international relations between the President and leaders from other nations. It also shows his concern for the international community.
Additionally, the President also developed new approaches that were to be used to promote democracy and ensure respect to human rights in Middle East and North African countries. President Obama also spearheaded for various reforms that targeted increased economic growth, peace and security in Africa.
In my view, President Obama has shown great commitment and will to work closely with the international community in ensuring high levels of security, strict observance of human rights, good governance and economic and political stabilities for various countries. Through his foreign policies, President Obama has effectively managed to address various international issues such as food insecurity, climatic changes and global warming, production of nuclear weapons, combating terrorist activities and maintenance of stable governments and political and economic stabilities.President Obama has succeeded in making excellent contributions to the American people as well as the international community.