Liberals and conservatives agree: Obama Asia trip a total failure

Rick Moran
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air first noted this strange convergence of opinion that Obama accomplished absolutely nothing during his Asia trip. Both the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out the dearth of agreements as well as the almost curt dismissal of Obama's US monetary and fiscal policies.

The Journal:


Has there ever been a major economic summit where a U.S. President and his Treasury Secretary were as thoroughly rebuffed as they were at this week's G-20 meeting in Seoul? We can't think of one. President Obama failed to achieve any of his main goals while getting pounded by other world leaders for failing U.S. policies and lagging growth. The root of this embarrassment is political and intellectual: Rather than leading the world from a position of strength, Mr. Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner came to Seoul blaming the rest of the world for U.S. economic weakness. America's problem, in their view, is the export and exchange rate policies of the Germans, Chinese or Brazilians. And the U.S. solution is to have the Fed print enough money to devalue the dollar so America can grow by stealing demand from the rest of the world. ...

The world also rejected Mr. Geithner's high-profile call for a 4% limit on a nation's trade surplus or deficit, which would amount to new political controls on trade and capital flows. This contradicts at least three decades of U.S. policy advice against national barriers to the flow of money and goods. We don't like to see U.S. Treasury Secretaries so completely shot down by the rest of the world, except when they are so clearly misguided.

The Chronicle:

Shellacked at home, shellacked abroad. President Obama's Asia trip is extending a losing streak with the latest setback - a refusal by other major financial powers to follow his lead to revive the global economy.

The president's nostrums, which began with a call for stimulus-style pump priming by other nations, had evolved into a plan to ease wild swings in currency values and overboard trade imbalances. But he got next to nothing in showdown meetings with other leaders of the G-20 nations, or major economic powers. U.S. leadership, once taken for granted, has all but vanished, and no one's in charge.

The Chronicle seems surprised by the idea that US leadership "has vanished." Where have they been for two years? Barack Obama's centerpiece of his foreign policy was that the US was "first among equals" and would defer to the United Nations and other international organizations. He also clearly stated that he wished to abdicate American leadership when he said,

"[N]o one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold."

Refusing to lead is not a bug, it's a feature of the Obama presidency. The real question is why would the administration be surprised when other nations take him at his word and ignore anything he proposes?

And why should liberals be surprised when his sweet words of surrender with which they became so enamored  during the campaign and in the first heady days of the Obama administration would result in exactly the kind of international response we are seeing today?


Ed Morrissey at Hot Air first noted this strange convergence of opinion that Obama accomplished absolutely nothing during his Asia trip. Both the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out the dearth of agreements as well as the almost curt dismissal of Obama's US monetary and fiscal policies.

The Journal:


Has there ever been a major economic summit where a U.S. President and his Treasury Secretary were as thoroughly rebuffed as they were at this week's G-20 meeting in Seoul? We can't think of one. President Obama failed to achieve any of his main goals while getting pounded by other world leaders for failing U.S. policies and lagging growth.

The root of this embarrassment is political and intellectual: Rather than leading the world from a position of strength, Mr. Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner came to Seoul blaming the rest of the world for U.S. economic weakness. America's problem, in their view, is the export and exchange rate policies of the Germans, Chinese or Brazilians. And the U.S. solution is to have the Fed print enough money to devalue the dollar so America can grow by stealing demand from the rest of the world. ...

The world also rejected Mr. Geithner's high-profile call for a 4% limit on a nation's trade surplus or deficit, which would amount to new political controls on trade and capital flows. This contradicts at least three decades of U.S. policy advice against national barriers to the flow of money and goods. We don't like to see U.S. Treasury Secretaries so completely shot down by the rest of the world, except when they are so clearly misguided.

The Chronicle:

Shellacked at home, shellacked abroad. President Obama's Asia trip is extending a losing streak with the latest setback - a refusal by other major financial powers to follow his lead to revive the global economy.

The president's nostrums, which began with a call for stimulus-style pump priming by other nations, had evolved into a plan to ease wild swings in currency values and overboard trade imbalances. But he got next to nothing in showdown meetings with other leaders of the G-20 nations, or major economic powers. U.S. leadership, once taken for granted, has all but vanished, and no one's in charge.

The Chronicle seems surprised by the idea that US leadership "has vanished." Where have they been for two years? Barack Obama's centerpiece of his foreign policy was that the US was "first among equals" and would defer to the United Nations and other international organizations. He also clearly stated that he wished to abdicate American leadership when he said,

"[N]o one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold."

Refusing to lead is not a bug, it's a feature of the Obama presidency. The real question is why would the administration be surprised when other nations take him at his word and ignore anything he proposes?

And why should liberals be surprised when his sweet words of surrender with which they became so enamored  during the campaign and in the first heady days of the Obama administration would result in exactly the kind of international response we are seeing today?