During his first term in office, President Barack Obama tried simultaneously to resolve aspects of the difficult foreign and security policy that he had inherited from President George W. Bush and to signal areas of departure from the previous regime. Academic and journalistic commentary on post-2008 US foreign and security policy has tended to focus on questions of change and continuity. How far could Obama and his team escape from the problems, structures and policy assumptions inherited from the controversial Bush years? To what extent was the War on Terror now ceasing to be the defining conceptual framework for American international engagement? Key developments of the Obama first term inevitably related to the major military commitments which had been made in the shadow of the terror attacks of 2001. Obama engineered an American exit from Iraq. He expanded the American force commitment to Afghanistan, while also setting a timetable for withdrawal by 2014. The rhetorical commitment to militarized and globalized anti-terrorism as the central international concern of the United States was toned down. Obama sought new strategic relationships and priorities. He achieved Senate ratification of an arms control agreement with Russia in 2010.
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- Chapter 14