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Prof. William Burke-White on the process of building global leadership in Obama’s second term

July 08, 2013

The new foreign policy team being assembled by the Obama Administration is being watched closely for hints on future directions of U.S. policy and where the decisions will be made.

In a policy brief published last month by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor William Burke-White maintains that the preeminence of trade agreements means that the Department of Treasury is likely to become a major player in the foreign policy making process.

“Perhaps the most important substantive direction that is likely to define Obama’s second term is the continued rise of international economic policy and the attendant growing role of the Department of Treasury in U.S. foreign policymaking,” he writes.

Burke-White, who is the Law School’s Dean for International Affairs, argues that the process now needs to be complemented with a clear strategy that will chart the course over the three and a half years remaining in the Obama presidency.

“Interlinked with the newfound importance of economic policy and greater influence of the Treasury Department is the real possibility that trade – much neglected during Obama’s first term – may become a centerpiece of his second term,” he states.

The policy brief, from the German Marshall Fund’s Series on the Future of U.S. Leadership, is available here in pdf format.