Barack Obama, Global Has-Been'

Bret Stephens has penned an oustanding column for the Wall Street Journal on the utter failure of Obama's foreign policy.

Stephens reminds us that "No U.S. president since John F. Kennedy has come to office with more global goodwill than Mr. Obama; no U.S. president since Jimmy Carter has been so widely rebuked."

Mr. Stephens is talking about the trip to Tehran by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to attend the so-called Non-Aligned Conference. The US had begged Ban not to go and he went anyway -- along with dozens of other countries, thumbing their nose at the US sanctions and isolation strategy on Iranian nukes.

Consider the record. His failed personal effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. His failed personal effort to negotiate a climate-change deal at Copenhagen in 2009. His failed efforts to strike a nuclear deal with Iran that year and this year. His failed effort to improve America's public standing in the Muslim world with the now-forgotten Cairo speech. His failed reset with Russia. His failed effort to strong-arm Israel into a permanent settlement freeze. His failed (if half-hearted) effort to maintain a residual U.S. military force in Iraq. His failed efforts to cut deals with the Taliban and reach out to North Korea. His failed effort to win over China and Russia for even a symbolic U.N. condemnation of Syria's Bashar Assad. His failed efforts to intercede in Europe's economic crisis. ("Herr Obama should above all deal with the reduction of the American deficit" was the free advice German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble offered this year.)

n June, the Pew Research Center released one of its periodic surveys of global opinion. It found that since 2009, favorable attitudes toward the U.S. had slipped nearly everywhere in the world except Russia and, go figure, Japan. George W. Bush was more popular in Egypt in the last year of his presidency than Mr. Obama is today.

It's true that these surveys need to be taken with a grain of salt: efficacy, not popularity, is the right measure by which to judge an administration's foreign policy. But that makes it more noteworthy that this administration should fail so conspicuously on its own terms. Mr. Obama has become the Ruben Studdard of the world stage: the American Idol who never quite made it in the real world.

It really is an astonishingly dismal record. The cost for Obama's childlike naivete? A possible war in the Middle East, a nuclear armed Iran, a resurgent, confident Russia, China paying less and less attention to us, and the Far East running rings around us economically.

Wonder what the world will look like of Obama gets a second term?