Editorial series: Leadership and legitimacy

The Times examines the challenges facing the Obama administration as it seeks to reestablish America's standing in the world.

Obama must right the wrongs

January 18, 2009

LEADERSHIP AND LEGITIMACY

Obama must right the wrongs

American power is rooted in American values, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton said last week at her Senate confirmation hearing. Unfortunately, we've learned the hard way that the United States cannot credibly promote values it is violating. For many of our allies, as well as our enemies, the hooded prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the offshore detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the waterboarding of suspected terrorists by the CIA came to define American power in the last eight years, proving yet again that what we do matters more than what we say.

Obama on foreign affairs

January 17, 2009

Leadership and Legitimacy

Obama on foreign affairs

The Bush administration's hubris and relentless disregard for our allies abroad shredded the fabric of multilateralism; it falls to President Obama to stitch it together again. The Bush years, defined by ultimatums and unilateral actions around the world, must be brought to a swift close with a renewed emphasis on diplomacy, consultation and the forging of broad international coalitions.

Obama as a war president

January 16, 2009

Leadership and Legitimacy

Obama as a war president

If World War I was to be "the war to end all wars," President Bush's so-called war on terror was conceived as a war without end. Just days after Al Qaeda's suicide airliner attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush declared that he would "rid the world of evildoers," and Vice President Dick Cheney warned that the United States would fight indefinitely: "There's not going to be an end date when we're going to say, 'There, it's all over with.' "

Our guiding principles

January 15, 2009

Leadership and Legitimacy

Our guiding principles

President-elect Barack Obama has promised to renew American leadership in the world. The world is more than ready. After six years of war, Iraqis are eager to bid goodbye to an administration that invaded and occupied their country. Africans and Asians see a more cosmopolitan and open-minded president with roots in their lands. Europeans are nearly giddy with excitement about a president who they believe will consult with them rather than dictate to them, and who will act pragmatically rather than ideologically. Obama is entering his first term with so much global goodwill that it is almost as if the tape is being rolled back to Sept. 12, 2001, when the outpouring of international support was best expressed in the French newspaper headline: "We are all Americans.”

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