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December 30, 2011

What was done right this year?
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

Ezra Klein asked this morning that the Administration had done well this year and, jokes aside, I filled up my 140 Twitter characters an embarrassing number of times.

1. Rebalancing in Asia. Maintaining productive ties with China while signalling to our neighbors and China's allies that the US is with them for the long haul and sees value in balance between a growing China and the concerns of its neighbors.

2. Finding its feet on human rights.  Few will have noticed even among the wonk-erati, but from institutionalizing government procedures for catching potential genocides in advance, focusing on women's role in international peace and security and improving Pentagon training on human rights, the Administration put several long-fought initiatives into place this year.  Secretary Clinton's LGBT initiatives only got noticed at home when conservatives tried to make political hay out of the radical idea that sexual orientation should not be a death sentence; her speech that accompanied the women's initiative in December didn't even get that much attention.  but in the rest of the world, where sexual and gender violence are all-too prevalent, and three women were among the Nobel Prize winners, this kind of US leadership will matter.  The relevance of the US intervention in Libya for human rights will be debated for decades; what should be remem bered is how it also allowed a UN Security council-backed mission to remove a sore election loser in Cote d'Ivoire and end developing carnage.

3. South Sudan.  That the new nation was able to come into existence successfully, and relatively quietly, this year is due in no small part to the Administration's interventions at the UN and on the ground. 

4. Iraq troop withdrawal. Not so long ago, this didn't seem a foregone conclusion at all.

5. Inflection point in Afghanistan.  Whether the speed of the drawdown is too fast or too slow, it has at long last begun.

6.  Decline of Al Qaeda. US military actions, including but not limited to the killing of Bin Laden, have hastened the organization's decline and its loss of support among the global Muslim community, dramatized so vividly in the Arab Spring.

7.  Durban agreement to negotiate a climate change convention. Not every administration, confronting half-a-dozen political opponents who "don't believe in climate," would have agreed to get anywhere near even this future-oriented gesture.  It was a late glimmer of hope on what has been a very bleak vista.

An interesting problem.  These achievements-- which are real and substantial-- are for the most part downpayments on a better future, on a set of global institutions and relationships which work better and function smoothly in a different, more prosperous time.  It is hard, from either a security or an economic perspective, to stack that long-range view up against the real or perceived challenges we face, or that we hear shouted about on cable. 


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Number 4 is by far the best point of this year.

Have to take issue with the ending the Iraq war and Obama's role in this with a quote from Glenn Greenwald on the Wikileaks and Bradley Manning:

"By highlighting atrocities committed by U.S. troops in Iraq, the diplomatic cables prevented the Malaki government from granting the legal immunity Obama officials were demanding in exchange for keeping troops in Iraq beyond the 2011 deadline and thus helped end the Iraq War."

Iraq troop withdrawal is the best one done..

This site is really beautiful, I have done everything, to find out. Congratulations to the "Creator" of this site. Very pleasant.

Sadly, no mention of our neighbors to the South.  But, then, there is not much to report.

Regards  —  Cliff

The right question is simple enough to pose: Where will the recovery come from? The problem is that no one has an answer.

Very cool!

So interesting! Thanks s lot for post.

Hope you to write better articles,Good share, thank you

Interesting post. Thank U!

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