President Obama's First Year: 'U.S. Foreign Policy Under New Management'

President Obama traveled to 21 foreign countries in his first year in office, and from his initial trip to Europe in April to his quick December jaunt to Copenhagen for climate change talks, the president's message was clear: There is a new sheriff in town.

Obama campaigned for the White House against the foreign policy decisions of the Bush Administration, most notably the war in Iraq, which he declared in 2002 a "dumb war."

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Obama sought to change course almost immediately after taking office. Within days, he ordered the closing of the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay within a year and set up a comprehensive review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

When he assumed the presidency, Obama also went to work to differentiate himself from Bush and speak in a different tone.

James Lindsay, director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said year one of Obama's foreign policy was "the year of the word" and the overarching goal was to put up a sign that read, "U.S. Foreign Policy Under New Management."

"It was partly about repositioning the United States and reversing a very real, very tangible decline in America's image abroad and it had real political consequences," he said. "Many of the people we're trying to work with are from democracies and they have to respond to public opinion, their constituents and they had to respond to what the United States was doing."

Obama kicked off the effort on his first trip to Europe in April, which his critics derided as an "apology tour."

At a town hall-style meeting in Strasbourg, the president declared a "new era of responsibility" that world citizens "should all be proud of."

"I've come to Europe this week to renew our partnership, one in which America listens and learns from our friends and allies," he said April 3.

The president started off his first foreign trip in London at an economic summit with key world leaders. But he later spent considerable time laying the groundwork to re-establish relationships that were bruised during the Bush Administration.

"There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive," he said in apologizing to Europe.

He sought to repair tense ties with Russia: "The relationship between our two countries has been allowed to drift."

And he admitted things had not been so great with Turkey: "The trust that binds the United States and Turkey has been strained."

If there were any doubts about what the Obama White House was seeking to do on the world stage, the president made it clear.

Obama Was Clear to the World

"I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we've made, that you're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world," he said in London. "And although, as you know, I always mistrust polls, international polls seem to indicate that you're seeing people more hopeful about America's leadership."

Obama said he hoped that his administration's actions in its first few months "set a tone, internationally, where people … give us the benefit of the doubt.

"At least we can start with the notion that we're prepared to listen and to work cooperatively with countries around the world."

Obama's tone was in stark contrast to his predecessor.

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