The Reset Button
If anything can be said to encapsulate the Obama administration’s sense of mission in the realm of foreign policy, it would be the repeated use of the word “reset.” Vice President Biden used it first, telling a conference in Munich that his team was going to “press the reset button.” The president echoed him a few weeks later, suggesting there should either be a “reset” or a “reboot.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then embarrassed herself by presenting the Russian Foreign Minister with an actual reset button emblazoned with a word in Russian that was supposed to, but did not, mean “reset.”
The whole business became an occasion for scorn among foreign-policy thinkers, Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post foremost among them: The reset button, she wrote, “is a deeply misleading, even vapid, metaphor for diplomatic relations.” She was right, of course, because while the voters of the United States put the policies of their government to a quadrennial test, the relations between the United States and other nations cannot be measured in four-year increments.
About the Author
John Podhoretz is editor of COMMENTARY.