Obama's foreign policy during his first mandate was marked first and foremost by pragmatism and flexibility. The one policy that the U.S. President consistently followed, however, was the pivot - a pivot away from land wars and towards economic and global issues, a pivot away from the Greater Middle East and towards emerging nations, especially the Asia-Pacific. That policy is set to continue in his second mandate, as the President will want to keep adapting US leadership to the new international realities and burnish his legacy. Whether he will be able to keep pivoting, however, is very much in doubt, as the Middle East keeps imposing itself back to the top of his agenda.
Justin Vaïsse is a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he serves as the Director of research for its Center on the United States and Europe. He is an Associate Fellow at ECFR and the project leader of the European Foreign Policy Scorecard.