Daunting Challenges Ahead

Obama also faces a number of major foreign and national security challenges.

sustainable economic development they’ll be less tempted to grow opium, join various militias or support the Taliban,” says Zunes. “Smarter policy can address threats from radical extremes of Islam and encourage more moderate forces. This includes ending this blank check we’re giving to Arab dictators and really getting serious about Israeli-Palestinian peace, including, if necessary, being willing to pressure Israel to make the necessary compromises, which the current administration has failed to do.”

Negotiating with Iran could also go a long way toward easing Middle East tensions. The country has been a major regional power for 3000 years and cannot be ignored. “They have legitimate interests as well as less legitimate interests that can be addressed,” says Zunes. Engaging the country may help prevent a conflict and Iranian production of nuclear weapons.


Obama’s election has had a considerable impact on how the rest of the world now views the nation. Ruggie says that there’s an understanding overseas that his will be a very different administration and hope for his success. “It has gone a long way in restoring America’s image, but we have to remind ourselves that a lot of damage has been done over the last eight years,” he adds. “Other countries that have acquired greater standing in the international arena as we have relinquished our leadership aren’t simply going to walk away from the table and say, ‘Okay, America, you can take over again.’ We’ve lost a lot of capital and it isn’t going to be a simple matter to restore that.”

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