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The Obama administration and US strategic policy

By Rod Lyon and Kellie Kayser

This Policy Analysis, authored by Rod Lyon and Kellie Kayser, assesses how much change we are seeing in US strategic policy under the new administration in Washington.

President Obama has already begun a campaign to ‘renew’ American global leadership after the Bush years. He has been explicit in marking out his strategic style from Bush’s, emphasising that his presidency will be characterised by partnerships, diplomacy and engagement. But actual US strategic priorities have changed little: the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan remain at the centre of US interest—alongside a rapidly-escalating global economic crisis.

Many of the issues of concern to Obama are also of concern to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, although Canberra probably places a higher priority on Asian security concerns. The forthcoming meeting between the two leaders in Washington provides an opportunity to explore just how much ‘resetting’ of the relationship will occur on Obama’s watch.