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Foreign Affairs

Who Wears the Pants(uit)?

Is Hillary Clinton abandoning the Obama doctrine abroad in favor of ... the Bush doctrine? From the WSJ:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, adopting a tone reminiscent of the Bush administration, blasted Arab governments for stalled political change, warning that extremists were exploiting a lack of democracy to promote radical agendas across the Middle East.

. . .

The secretary of state's speech marks a contrast with the tone of the Obama administration so far. President Barack Obama has been criticized by democracy activists for not more aggressively pushing leaders in the Arab and Muslim world to pursue political openness.

Fittingly, Clinton was speaking at "Forum for the Future," the annual summit established by the Bush following Sept. 11. Whereas Bush "made democracy promotion the cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East, rattling many of the region's strongmen," Obama has "broached the issue of democracy tentatively, saying 'no system of government can or should be imposed on one nation by any other.'"

We'll see if this seeming course shift augurs a holistic change of policy or a momentary burst of realism which will soon fade into more tempered diplomacy.

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