- The Chinese have announced that they will allow modest and gradual yuan appreciation - after signs that the Euro debt crisis might scotch their expected move in this direction. On this front, the administration has been under tremendous pressure to pressure, and has done so with delicacy -- amassing developing world allies in the effort, always placing the issue in the context of global rebalancing, sidestepping a deadline to deem or not deem China a "currency manipulator" -- and most recently, doubtless citing the pressure that Congress has been placing on the administration via threats to pass retaliatory legislation (as well as its own very pointed forbearance to this point).
- China was also brought on board, seemingly against the odds, for new sanctions against Iran. While the likely impact of those sanctions is questionable at best, the harnessing of China and Russia seemed unlikely and does indicate progress in the U.S. ability to choreograph collective action..
- The Israelis have just announced a significant easing of the Gaza blockade, brokered by Tony Blair but underwritten by the U.S. with an immediate rescheduling of the Netanyahu-Obama meeting that was postponed afer the Mavi Marmora boarding. From the outset of that crisis, U.S. shielding of Israel from Security Council condemnation was balanced by insistence that the blockade in current form was "unsustainable."
- Backing up a few weeks,the President signed his nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, an important marker in its overall anti-proliferation strategy and prelude to sanctions against Iran.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Like all foreign policies, the Obama administration's more collaborative, less confrontational approach will be judged by its long-term effects. The administration has certainly had its share of setbacks. Nonetheless, some recent green shoots are worth noting: