The Obama Administration Confronts Global Change


The focus of this book is upon the changing strategic environment facing the two Obama Administrations. We take the reader year by year from 2009 through 2016 and examine the global shifts and how the Obama Administration saw these shifts and dealt with them.

The rise of China and the resurgence of Russia have put in play 21st century authoritarian powers directly challenging the United States and the liberal democratic allies whose challenges need to be met. Put bluntly, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Warsaw Pact was seen to open up a new period of domination by the liberal democracies. New states would be added to the EU and to NATO, and the globalization of the economy was seen as inextricably intertwined with the ascendancy of liberal democracy. What was lost in this euphoric way forward was the rise of the 21st century authoritarian capitalist powers, Russia and China, and their ability to challenge the ascendancy of the liberal democratic European and American regimes, both at home and abroad.

The essays were originally published on the website Second Line of Defense and were written by a number of analysts working with the website. Contributors or interviewees include Prof. Amatzia Baram, Richard Bitzinger, Stephen Blank, Paul Bracken, Murielle Delaporte, Lt. General (Retired) James Dubik, Alain Dupas, Chiragov Fuad, Rear Admiral Marshall E. Gilbert, Vitaliy N, Katsenelson, Danny Lam, Mark Lewis, Kenneth Maxwell, Harald Malmgren, Richard McCormick, Kenneth Miller, Caroline Mükusch, Ed Timperlake, Scott Truver, Brittney Warrick, Richard Weitz, John Wheeler and Michael W. Wynne.

As Professor Kenneth Maxwell notes in the forward to the book: “The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United States President Barack Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” That was the hope. Many others in addition to the Nobel peace prize committee shared this hope.

“But what was Obama’s execution of these stated ideals in real time. Did he fulfil these high expectations?

“The Nobel peace prize committee in 2009 perhaps confused words with future performance. For Obama is if nothing else a great wordsmith. It is the exploration of these contradictions over Obama’s two terms which makes this book such indispensable reading.”