In Death of a Doctrine Michael Gerson explains ‘Obama Diplomacy’:
The Obama administration lacks a foreign policy ideology as a matter of ideology. Speaking recently at the Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted, "Rigid ideologies and old formulas don't apply." The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans -- tempered by pragmatism, proud of its ad hockery and willing to consider everything on a case-by-case basis.
But even lacking an ideology, the administration does have a doctrine. The defining principle of President Obama's foreign policy is engagement with America's adversaries. Much of the president's public diplomacy has been designed to clear a path for such talks -- expressing respect for legitimate grievances, apologizing for past wrongs and offering dialogue without preconditions.
Think of it as the “Wuss Doctrine”, whose main components are: flattery, self-abasement and the generous use of the words “pretty please” and “anything you say”. We may not wring any concessions out of N. Korea but when Kim Jong il refers to our Secretary of State as “by no means intelligent” he says it with a rather pleasant smile. True, N. Korea hasn’t responded as well we’d expected, or Gerson states, North Korea responded to administration outreach by testing a nuclear weapon, firing missiles toward U.S. allies, resuming plutonium reprocessing and threatening the United States with a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation." , but once they get that Guittard™ Chocolate we are expecting to see a major change in our relationship.
We have also sent gifts to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though he is proving to be a hard nut to crack. Seems that those habits he picked as a student during his university days have stuck with him. On the other hand, we have noticed a warming trend as Ahmadinejad has begun applying the affectionate term, “Little Devil” whenever he speaks of President Obama.
While it is too soon to tell if the Administration’s efforts will pay off over the long run, both the President and Secretary Clinton believe that with enough scrapping and bowing, we will be eating out of Iran and N. Korea’s hands in no time.