A new American president will now confront the extraordinary complexity of his country's foreign policy. Presidents, even without foreign affairs backgrounds, have already formed ideas about basic directions that the nation's international policies should take, and it is these fundamental inclinations to which this essay addresses itself, an essay divided into four parts: (1) types of foreign policy, (2) some recent examples of presidential choices about direction, (3) future possibilities for a new administration that entered office in January 2009, and (4) limitations on the foreign policy choices of the new president—the old bugaboo of priorities.

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