Puzzled by the contradictions and fumbles in US President Barack Obama’s foreign
policy, commentators have taken to calling him ham-handed or weak.
ascribe Obama’s zig-zagging on Libya, Egypt, Iran and especially Syria, along
with his failed reset in relations with Russia, to indecision or inexperience;
to incompetence or infirmity.
Yet Obama is none of these frail things. He
is neither naïve nor inept. He is quite decisive when he wants to be, and very
able in advancing his agenda when he really wants to hit the goal. He is, by all
accounts, a very focused man.
Moreover, calling Obama maladroit does not
sufficiently explain his mishandling of Russia or the Middle East. It fails to
account for his apparent indifference in the face of America’s decline. Why has
Obama so wantonly and care-freely allowed America’s international reputation and
awesome global power to waste away? The answer is that Obama is clearly out to
emasculate America; to doggedly drag it down, purposefully so. He seeks the
weakening of the United States on the global stage as a good and necessary
outcome. He has set this as one of the key goals of his presidency – and he is
doing a very good, skillful job at hitting his target! In short, the nonchalance
of Obama as America decays is doctrinaire. He ideologically intends
From day one, Obama has not been comfortable with American leadership
in world affairs. He explicitly views America’s past global performance to be
arrogant and high-handed; to be militaristic and not completely
His wife, during the first campaign, called America a “mean”
country. Obama termed America “overbearing.” Dozens of times, he has made it
clear that he views America not as the leader of the world or the free world,
but at best as a partner in the community of nations. Obama himself prefers to
preen as a “citizen of the world.”
That self-definition rolls comfortably
off his tongue; being a “citizen of the United States” does not. He just doesn’t
like America all that much.
His path, then, is to “fundamentally
transform” America’s place in the world; to denude the United States of its
overwhelming global power; to strip the United States of its superior position;
to drag America down from its imperious perch.
Obama very clearly
believes that the humbling of America will bring healing to the world; that the
diminishment of America’s ability to throw its weight around will make room for
other, just-as-moral powers to emerge (such as, perhaps, powerful Islamic
actors); that the denouement of America will elevate world politics to a better
Don Quixote-like, Obama thinks that he will be leaving the world
a better place by cutting unexceptional America down to size.
advantage of a war-weary American body politic, and camouflaging his retreat
from leadership as a new form of global “engagement” (whatever that means),
Obama has proceeded very nicely in wrenching the United States off its
traditional, honorable moorings.
In five short years, with three to go,
he has succeeded in squandering centuries of American might, prestige and
Over the past month, Obama has granted Putin a gargantuan
international victory, given Assad a new lease on life, emboldened Iran and its
allies like Hezbollah, and reenergized the morally-bankrupt UN – while playing
Hamlet about his own authority to strike Syria and trashing US
He leaves America’s reputation in the world “unbelievably
Don’t assume that this erosion bothers Obama, or is the result of
any failing. It is exactly where Obama is leading America, brilliantly so from
his perspective – on principle, on target, and on
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