President Obama: hinging changes
President Bush's administration was full of wonderful intellectuals & prolific writers who came to government with acclaimed treatises. This accomplished litany of think tank leaders brought these writings with them to office; thereby availing heretofore unavailable intricacies of policy into the public record. (For example PNAC and its predecessor "Securing The new Realm," which featured contributors who would construct the pillars of Bush's policies)
President George W. Bush and Company neither strayed away from American values and practices, nor did they develop drastically novel standards opposed to the mainstay of American international governance. (With few deviations promulgated nationally e.g., the Patriot Act and data mining to name a couple)
The problems, which ostensibly tainted the image of the United States exemplified in torture, extraordinary rendition, preemptive wars and arrests, secret prisons, etc., arose out of the pronounced status of this paradigm -- that was spelled out to the nation and the world attempting to clarify a strategy to implement what the Bush Administration labeled a "war against terror." Arguably, the crux of the core of the Bush shift, which ventured from tradition involved the unilateral nature of its maneuvers and the clear "baldness" it featured--even if multi-lateralism was cosmetic in the past. Public relations is a vital component of managing an empire and the Bush administration failed miserably on that facet.
One can have successful preemptive wars without unilateralism but it is difficult to fight multi pronged wars without the support of influential allies. Not only does exclusivity entails the empire to bear the full brunt of economic and military outlays the nature of the lone warrior in a global village precludes sharing of vital intelligence and forging concerted effort, which are required in a fight against multi national third generational warfare. Moreover, lacking a genuine public relations depressed the will of the nation to continue support the war effort--naked patriotism and jingoism soon fade away to the rigors of everyday life even in the face of clever propaganda.
Where Bush's policies have drained the public coffers of the empire Obama's new frontier will seek the inclusion of influential and wealthy allies to take part in these costs as partners--whilch will mount a more effective front to fight insurgency.
Whether nationalist and legitimate insurgencies will be pooled into this set of adversaries is yet to be clarified by the Obama administration. To be sure, there must be a clearer definition of terrorist organizations even though, it is the specter of super powers to stymie all opposition and maintain the status quo. However, unless a trasparent demarcation is drawn between global terrorist groups with few practical or national aspirations and those that are legitimately agitating for their liberation, these groups will form linkages in order to stay the onslaught against them--often making alliances with organizations that have little in common with them excepting that the US is after them too.
Be as it may, these time tested methods are necessary tools of empire and power; Can it truly be said the US never tortured before Mr. Bush and wont again after his departure? I think not and the record incontrovertibly shows that the entire project of "atonement" undertaken by the initiatives of the Obama administration is in essence a "feel good" enterprise to reinvigorate US citizens and recapture the popularity and "myth" of its higher principles and reassert founding pledges of the US Constitution. The US is back in the business of maintaining and projecting a vigorous public relations and diplomatic corps component in securing its national interests.
I love America and admittedly have benefited from its power and the projection of its forces around the globe. These have kept me relatively safe and moderately financially secure in a world mired with oscillating dangers of myriad competition--therefore, I accept this implicit responsibility / loyalty (an existential dualism). Even so, having been born in the Caribbean island nation of X and migrating to the US at the age of ten, I know first hand the macabre side of wielding super power. Our nation has seen five empires across two centuries, including the United States, wreak havoc against our poor, humble yet proud people, among countless others across the continents.
Nevertheless, President Obama should be commended for taking the underbelly of our great country out of the limelight of world opinion and restoring it to its rightful sector of secrecy and its antecedent plausible deniability apparatus.