Obama raul castro smiling Peruvian Presidency/Flickr

Leading By Engaging

During his presidency, Barack Obama has recognized that America’s only hope for influencing isolated countries’ behavior is to engage directly with them. While this has proved remarkably successful as a bilateral strategy, continued US global leadership will require Obama’s successor to move beyond bilateral engagement.

WASHINGTON, DC – In his first inaugural address, US President Barack Obama offered an invitation to the world’s most closed countries. “We will extend a hand,” he said, “if you are willing to unclench your fist.” This statement encapsulated the foreign policy of “engagement” that he endorsed during his first term – an approach that, despite some shortcomings, has a lot of merit.