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More Continuity Than Change

Author: John B. Bellinger III, Adjunct Senior Fellow for International and National Security Law
February 14, 2010
New York Times


Last month marked the one-year anniversary of President Obama's first signature foreign policy initiative: the issuance of three executive orders ordering the closure of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, the suspension of the C.I.A. interrogation program, and the review of all U.S. government detention policies and legal positions. The orders met with wide acclaim in Europe and were heralded as the return of the U.S. commitment to international law.

But one year later, the Obama administration is having difficulty implementing all three directives and has continued many of the Bush administration's other counter-terrorism policies, including many that are highly controversial with America's allies. In other areas, such as engagement with the International Criminal Court and compliance with rulings of the International Court of Justice, the administration has so far been less supportive of international legal institutions than its predecessor.

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