Obama thinks he will be a domestic policy president. Americans think he will be a domestic policy president. Eight years of Iraq and Afghanistan have soured eveyone’s taste for overseas adventure.
But don’t be surprised if that doesn’t last long. Foreign policy has always been the presidential playground. Presidents have to negotiate with with Congress. That pesky Supreme Court is always overturnng their decisions. But when you’re the prez, the State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence agencies report to you, while the legislature and the judiciary are more than happy to let you handle wars, overseas crises and the fun details of that trade treaty with Zambia. Nixon loved foreign policy. Even as his administration collapsed, Nixon was still in the thick of arms control with the Soviets, Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
As soon as he took office, Obama called Israeli and Palestinian leaders over the Gaza fighting. It won’t be the last call he makes. For now, it’s bank bailouts. But soon enough, the way the world is going, the world is going to be front and center in Obama’s mind.