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Those interested in foreign policy might want to take a look at Stephen Walt's posts on Foreign Policy. He currently has a sharp analysis on President Obama's maneuvering room in foreign and military policy. Walt is particularly acute on the power of the military to contain the president and thwart changes not in its interest."The buck may stop in the Oval Office, but it's not like he can simply wave a magic wand (or give another speech) and get the rest of the government to fall into line. Instead, the fact that U.S. foreign and defense policy hasn't changed very much reflects the powerful structural forces that inhibit any president's freedom of action. Or to put it more simply: he's trapped. Even if Obama wanted to chart a fundamentally different course (and I'm not at all sure that he does), he wouldn't be able to pull it off."http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/09/13/trapped

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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