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The contradictions that have marked Barack Obama‘s Presidency also mark his approach to foreign policy.
And his travels in South America show just how different those approaches can be. As he practices what the Associated Press calls “lead by example diplomacy” in his own hemisphere he orders cruise missiles and American fighter planes to pound Libya into submission.
This two-sided approach to foreign policy is typical Obama — an approach that confuses world view of America, infuriates even members of his own party and confounds both critics and supporters.
While one hand supports a friendly approach the other unleashes the largest — if over-extended war machine on the planet to impose U.S. will on nations who don’t believe that America’s way is the only way.
Reports Jum Kuhnhenn of The Associated Press:
As he heads for Chile on Monday after two days in Brazil, Obama has been a model in split-screen leadership. While he extended friendship to an increasingly influential Latin American neighbor, he also ducked into meetings and placed secure phone calls to approve missile attacks on Libya’s air defenses.
He’s not likely to escape the awkward, if not incongruous, contrasts during his stay in Santiago.
During a press conference with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (pee-NAY’-rah) he will take questions for the first time since allied forces began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya with jets and warships. Then he will deliver a speech, meant to address the entire Latin American world, praising the democratic transitions in the Americas and holding them up as models for the world.
It certainly wasn’t planned that way.
“The world obviously is a complex place, with a lot of things going on at once, but it’s precisely that — a lot of things going on at once,” said White House national security aide Daniel Restrepo.