Why is anyone surprised that Obama looks small on the world stage?
A couple of days ago, I was talking to an old Latin American friend. He retired as a college professor and now lives in his native Chile.
We spoke about President Obama and he made two profound points:
1) President Obama does not come across as a man who likes foreign policy. He reminded my friend of President Carter.
2) President Obama does not understand the world. He came into office without an understanding of the role of the US as the sole superpower.
Before you send me an email saying that my friend is another right winger who hates Obama, let me tell you that he is actually a center-left guy. We would call him a "liberal" in the US.
I was reminded of my friend's remarks after reading Peggy Noonan's column about President Obama on the world stage:
"It is a world in a new kind of flux, one that doesn't know what to make of America anymore. In part because of our president.
"We want American leadership," said a member of a diplomatic delegation of a major U.S. ally. He said it softly, as if confiding he missed an old friend."
The key word is "leadership".
It does not mean that we fix every problem or send troops to every corner of the world.
It means that we are respected and countries know where we stand. As my friend said, the US needs to do more than "vote present"!
Yes, the world misses a strong America.
P.S. You can hear my chat with Bill Katz of Urgent Agenda about President Obama's foreign policy problems.