Obama Lost U.S. World Leadership Role

When Obama was elected, those enamored with his rhetoric convinced themselves that he was going to bring a new respect to America through his “wise” foreign policy, even though that policy was never delineated. The results, after just two years, are that the US has lost its world leadership role, insulted its allies, and has become a nation of inaction, indecision, and internal squabbling.

Afghanistan, “Obama’s War”, is a result of an election campaign based on anything that was not Bush. There was no policy with “superior intelligence” involved in going into Afghanistan and, essentially, trying to use successful military tactics from the Iraq (Bush’s) War. It was a mere fulfillment of a campaign pledge, and an obviously distasteful one for Obama. Media silence on that war has been a deafening assurance that all is not going well with “Obama’s War”.

US loss of leadership has been blatantly obvious in response, or lack of, to the current crisis in Libya. The Obama administration’s inability or unwillingness to act and to lead has been noticed around the world. In the UK, it is being expressed in the media that “…the only thing President Obama seems decisive about is his indecision”.

That indecision was reaffirmed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meeting with foreign ministers in Paris about Libya, when she repeated the administration’s position that all options are on the table without endorsing any particular step. When pressed by French President Sarkozy to come out more forcefully, Hillary repeatedly responded “there are difficulties” and offered little else. As a result, European countries baffled by the US position on Libya are looking towards the UN for leadership, a desperate act in the absence of US leadership.

Obama’s inaction during Iran’s uprising was rationalized as a politically wise decision. It is true that, sometimes, doing nothing can actually be a productive strategy, but when it is the only strategy it becomes a very dangerous weakness. The US is becoming weak in the eyes of the world and enemies such as Ahmajinedad, Chavez, and Khadafi are exploiting that weakness. We need to reassert our leadership role now. A lot more damage can occur in the remaining two years.

David J. Hentosh


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3 Responses to “Obama Lost U.S. World Leadership Role”

  1. Daivid Barnsdale Says:

    If your main charge is indecision then you should focus on that – it is a quite different charge from lack of leadership.

    But the US action has been very effective over Libya. I don’t claim to know whether it was a result of fortuitous dither that came right or a hard strategy. However, the end result is far better than I would have thought possible.

    If the US had pushed earlier the UN resolution would have been vetoed. She waited
    until calls for a no fly zone were so widespread that
    China and Russia were in a position in which a veto was politically unacceptable.
    But it was the US who insisted that the resolution be made far wider than a
    no fly zone. And there has been nothing indecisive about how Obama is interpreting the mandate now. To comply Gadhafi has to withdraw from pretty much all cities ever held by anti-Gadhafi forces.

    I do have a slight hesitation in that we have yet to see the kind of attacks that saved Benghazi being carried out against the Gadhafist attackers of cities like Zintan and Misrata but there is reason suspect that this is solely due to the risk of civilian casualties. Time will tell.

    But lack of leadership? Insults to allies? No way.

  2. Daivid Barnsdale Says:

    Everyone knows that the US has immense power – she doesn’t need her president thumping his fist on the table to remind people of that. Obama has far more influence because doesn’t insist in taking the credit. Do you really think it is a loss of leadership because the French president was the spokesperson for action in Libya? Would you prefer France to be sniping resentfully from the sidelines? Isn’t better to wait until people are practically begging for the US to intervene than for the US to act prematurely and hence stirring up opposition the world over.

    If you lived in Europe as I do you would realise that the US can achieve far more by seeming to do less.

    • thomasjeffersonclubblog Says:

      Thank you for your comments. I agree that it would be good for the US to step back at times and let others take the lead. However, the indecision exhibited by the Obama administration does not seem to be an indication of that at all. It seems to be just plain indecision, and that is troubling. Obama’s inexperience has been glaring on many occasions, especially with international situations. Furthermore, very aggressive regimes have been taking advantage of that and his obvious distaste for use of the military or even making judgments. That could lead to more violence in the end, as in Libya. A more proactive and timely decision could have saved lives there.


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