During the inaugural weekend, I attended a conference for collegiate scholars (Collegiate Inaugural Conference), which introduced its attendees to multiple notables in the DC area, including politicians, political analysts and journalists.
I had the pleasure of listening to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Dana Priest, who is currently a foreign policy analyst and investigative reporter for the Washington Post.
Her analysis juxtaposed Obama’s first inaugural speech with his second. The differences astounded me:
In 2009, Obama emphasized the necessity of war, as both Iraq and Afghanistan were in the midst of bloody conflict. He touted America as the world’s leader, not a country easily defeated.
In 2013, his words were much different. He is calling on America to use non-military tactics in foreign affairs and to not think of this country as a leader, but as a global coalition member.
Despite these words, Priest made it clear that the Obama administration has no intention of ceasing to use perhaps the most controversial means of attack: armed drone strike.
“(This administration) has used (armed drones) 10x more than the Bush administration,” Priest said, noting that the Obama administration’s desire to pull out ground troops globally may inevitably lead to even further use of drones, despite the back lash hey have caused in the Middle East and Africa.
Perhaps most amazing to me was to hear Priest share the exact sentiment I’ve been convinced of for years:
“He (Obama) hasn’t ever been radically different.”
She brought up an interesting piece of potentially changing foreign policy in regards to climate change and the melting of the Arctic Circle. Besides concerns about global climate change, countries also have an opportunity to explore and develop new unclaimed waters in the Arctic Circle. This was a piece of foreign affairs I had never considered and had never heard anyone else mention before.
Ultimately, I found Priest’s analysis of the Obama administration’s intents for this coming term infinitely more interesting and meaningful than the president’s speech. And it was far less chilly inside the conference room.