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US President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which came as a surprise to the world, as this came after he has spent less than one year in office, and before he has achieved anything significant to justify being awarded this prize. Obama received this award just days after he ordered an increase in the number of US troops in Afghanistan, thereby yielding to the wishes of the military and the neocon wing of the US Congress that believes that a troop surge in Afghanistan will guarantee the required victory regardless of those who attempt to scare the public with the negative example of the Vietnam War; the bitterness, anguish, and sorrow of which has dominated the American consciousness and memory.

The foreign policy of the US administration today falls under the influence of more than one central figure in the US administration, and this explains why sometimes there appear to be contradictory trends. Afghanistan is an example of this, as while there is an increase in the number of troops, it has also confirmed that these troops will be withdrawn by July 2011, regardless of the circumstances, and by doing so the US is fighting the first war in history whose expiry date is known in advance.

Of course, there is US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was the “central” reason for the Democratic Party retaining its cohesion. One cannot deny that her cautious performance and care to avoid mistakes is as if she still believes she has a chance of running for the US presidency in the future. All of this means that her performance of her political role today is weak and ineffective.

There is also Jim Jones, the National Security Adviser, who is known as a moderate, and he is the one who is adopting the strong and hard line towards the Israeli government, and [supporting] the ban of Israel’s insane settlement expansion and putting an end to Israel’s violation against the idea of peace and the establishment of a Palestinian State.

In the opposite direction of this is Dennis Ross [Senior National Security Council aide] who performs an advisory role, and is known for his sympathetic stance towards the Jewish State, and his private relationships with many pillars of its administration. He therefore gives Israel and its Prime Minister Netanyahu courage and support in their delay and intransigence on meeting the demands imposed upon them.

And in the middle of this hustle and bustle there is US Vice President Joe Biden, who was chosen mainly for his long years of “experience” in dealing with foreign policy, however his faux pas and his agitation means that the chances of Biden being an effective element in gaining important achievements in international politics are far-fetched to say the least!

There are many US foreign policy files still open, all of which need to be dealt with and require urgent intervention. There is the complex and turbulent Middle Eastern file which has entered a state of stagnation and requires emergency rescue, and one cannot forget the shaky Iranian file, which has until now failed to reach any resolution or agreement. There is also considerable uncertainty with regards to the future of North Korea and its nuclear capability. Cuba also remains in a concern and this requires resolution, and the development of tools to deal with a changed world and variable conditions. There are also big changes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, not to mention dealing with two giants whose strength can no longer be overlooked, and they are India and Pakistan, whose weight has shifted from the economic arena to the political and military arena.

The features of US foreign policy today are unclear, and there are no signs of any achievements being made on the horizon, and this is something that generates a sense of unease and suspicion for many.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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