Obama's Quality of Leadership
Egypt is vital strategically to U.S. interests and security in the Middle East. Yet the United States stands by, powerless, as mayhem reigns there and instability simmers dangerously elsewhere. What has happened to our influence in the world? A clue can be found in President Barack Obama's own words, his recent response to Russia's grant of asylum to NSA-leaker Edward Snowden:
I have not called [Russian President Vladimir Putin] personally and the reason is...number one, I shouldn't have to.
This is a disturbing window on the mind of our president. What responsible CEO facing a crisis would make this kind of statement? What dedicated leader would avoid taking all necessary steps to try to secure a crucially important victory?
Real leaders embrace their role. They are willing to confront a crisis head-on ("damn the torpedoes") and do whatever it takes to prevail. A true leader is engaged, directing the action from within the fray, not from above it. Leaders exhibit courage, grit, guts -- call it what you like -- and they dismiss pretense. While they leverage the power of their office, taking pains to preserve and enhance that power, leaders also make whatever personal contribution they must to secure the win.
Instead, we have a president whose attitude in a crisis seems to be one of pettiness, detachment and petulance.
But surely Barack Obama has never been anything more than a figurehead. He was elected on pure charisma, not on the strength of his accomplishments or qualifications. On the day he secured the Democratic nomination for president, he called it "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Obama telegraphed his naïveté and his hubris well in advance of his election.
Those of us who work for a living have all worked for boneheads at one time or another -- prople who are high on their position, who see their superior role as one of giving orders, who refuse to get their hands dirty because actually doing the work is beneath their dignity. Frequently "leaders" such as these also lack sufficient knowledge for the job.
This, unfortunately, is our president. His resume and background -- to the extent that we know it -- reveal an individual who has never had serious responsibility, who has never been challenged or tested as a leader, and whose concept of leadership is deeply deficient. Worse, he is surrounded by enablers and adored by the press, factors that serve only to reinforce his flawed qualities.
No wonder the Middle East is out of control, and no wonder sober Western leaders are privately alarmed at the decline of U.S. leadership. The world sees that we have a lightweight president who thoroughly misunderstands the obligations of the job and who, along with inept Secretaries of State, has repeatedly mishandled critically important issues of global security. We clearly are not reaping the benefits of a "new climate" and "a new era of engagement" that warranted awarding the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to Obama. Instead, we and our allies fear for the state of the world in which the U.S. president is completely out of his league.
And our enemies? Leaders like Vladimir Putin are not beguiled by charisma. Obama's promised "Russian reset," now a shambles, was always a fantasy, a delusion. It is not difficult to imagine the Russian president, perhaps while out hunting bear, chuckling in amazement at the weakness of the ostensible "Leader of the Free World." Amazement that is sadly echoed around the world.
The author is a member of the Connecticut Grassroots 4th Alliance and is a regular contributor to the Fairfield County Patriot.