Journalist Peter Beinart gave his assessment of President Barack Obama’s foriegn policy in the Johnson Center Cinema on Thursday. Photo By Ezekiel Watkins.

What kind of foreign policy is President Barack Obama employing abroad?

Journalist and political commentator Peter Beinart addressed Obama’s foreign policy in the Johnson Center Cinema, saying Obama’s preferred approach is using the “soft power” of the U.S.’s economic strength to sway countries.

But constrained by the ailing economy and out-shone by rising fiscal juggernauts like China, Beinart said Obama’s “honeymoon” phase where his popularity can be leveraged is likewise running out.

Now he is forced to deal with America’s domestic and international issues head-on.

Obama sees the world in terms of an international community, Beinart said, drawn together by common causes like global warming, hunger and disease. But his agenda has also been constrained by military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So Obama is left to play “belt-tightener,” a situation where he has to look at the economy — the source of U.S. “soft power” — and decide where America can cut costs. And he is looking at the military.

“Obama is like the real-estate agent that tells America, ‘by the way, our $1 million house [America] is only worth $500,000 … We are going to have to tighten our belts,’” Beinart said.

But will the president even have the power to call off the military?

Throughout history, the deeper the military is involved, the more influence they have domestically — and the military is well-rooted in the Middle East, Beinart said. He said this parallels problems during the Vietnam War: overspending, resource constraints and an American public opposed to the war.

However, the military is not what defines a successful or an unsuccessful foreign policy, Beinart said. “You judge the success of a foreign policy by how people are doing at home.”

As Obama works to bring troops back from Afghanistan and Iraq starting next summer, debates on the war will rage on.

However, Beinart ended his speech by reasoning that taking the troops out is not “an admission of defeat, but a beginning to bringing America back [economically].”

The audience’s questions for Beinart consisted of how Obama was going to approach Israel during the rest of his term and what role the U.S. would play in stopping al-Qaida and the Taliban in the years to come.

This remains to be seen as Obama has just taken hold of his foreign policy, Beinart said.