Obama's inaugural address and U.S. foreign policy: lessons from history

History Australia

In this Perspective, Dr Michael Fullilove, who is currently based at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, looks ahead to President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural address on 20 January. Obama is an unusually gifted writer and speaker with an old-fashioned attachment to speeches, who will likely address his vision for US foreign policy in his address. Dr Fullilove distills three lessons on the relationship between presidential language and foreign policy: foreign policy speeches should be well written but not overwritten; foreign policy rhetoric should be firmly tethered to foreign policy reality; and multiple and diverse audiences need to be addressed.

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