Swagger a Little, Reassure a Lot

An Obama foreign policy doctrine emerges.

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Read the washingtonpost.com Live Online discussion on OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY DOCTRINE with The Root's David Swerdlick.
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That irresistible beat you hear off in the distance is either the sound of an all-night discothèque in Istanbul shutting down at sunrise or the hum of Air Force One coming in for a landing as President Barack Obamaleaner, browner and smoother than his predecessorsreturns from barnstorming across the globe.

The Financial Times noted that in Turkey, Obama "flattered to cajole" and Israel's daily Ha'aretz said that Obama gave enemies and allies a simple choice to "share Obama's vision or if they prefer to take the road of confrontation with the United States."

Returning home after a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq yesterday, the contours of the Pax Obama have started to take shape. What have we learned so far? Image counts. Walk, don't run. Less is more. Encourage your friends to get comfortable...

But not too comfortableUncle Sam still has a pretty heavy trigger finger.

For the president, it probably helps being biracialeven when he's in a room by himself, he's already engaged in a cross-cultural dialogue. It only took him eight days to unravel a knot of ill will that took George W. Bush eight years to wind up, and he still found time this weekend in Prague to take his wife out to dinner and a little Saturday Night Fever.

With a 66 percent approval rating at home, Obama may want to consider cleaning up the mess that's there to be cleanedperhaps emphasizing foreign policy a little more and the economy a little less as he frames his presidency.

By now we've all noticed the president's signature gait. It's not exactly cockiness, but there's just enough swagger to put everyone on notice that "Obama" isn't just a noun; it can be a verb, too.

The element of personal appeal is unabashedly a part of the Obama game plan. For some reason, he's still criticized for bringing a rock star persona to foreign affairs, but his mandate, as much as anything, is to overhaul America's image. Obama understands that perception is reality, and for better or worse we live in a rock-star ready-made world.