Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

17 August 2013

The Citizen of the World Presidency

Disasters are overtaking our nation without any real response from the White House. Who does not feel a growing sense of unease as our allies, facing repeated instances of an amateurish and confused administration, reluctantly conclude that America is unwilling or unable to fulfill its obligations as leader of the free world? Who does not feel rising alarm when the question in any discussion of foreign policy is no longer “Should we do something,” but “Do we have the capacity to do anything?”

Today, China takes risky measures in Asian seas to show its neighbors who is boss in that region and builds its military power even as ours is reduced. Putin pressures nations in his orbit and brings a new age of KGB-style oppression to Russia. Iran moves steadily closer to a nuclear weapon in defiance of a hundred UN and IAEA resolutions and Obama speeches, and it is now bold enough to send troops to fight in Syria to protect its hold there on the shores of the Mediterranean and its alliance with the terrorist group Hezbollah. Our Arab allies in the Gulf see an America unwilling to act to protect its interests and theirs, and wonder if a hegemonic Iran will really displace the United States as the region’s dominant power. The wave of democratization in Latin America is now receding, and dictators rule in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Cuba violates UN sanctions to do military trade with North Korea—and North Korea makes fools of the United States by taking our aid and improving its nuclear weapons and missiles. The world’s bright spots in these last four years—yes, things seem more stable and more democratic in Burma and Senegal—throw a mocking light on the rest.

And while this is happening, from Washington come not cries of alarm but the self-satisfaction of an administration that believes we are moving closer each year to our proper place in the “international community.”

Who does not feel a growing sense of unease, then, and who does not feel rising alarm? The answer may be the president who is the author of these policies, for they are doing just what they were meant to do. If not reversed, they will produce an America that is a “citizen of the world” like all the others, shorn of the ability to lead and believing that leadership means little more than hubris and risk. For Barack Obama, this will mean his foreign-policy ideas have won the day.

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