Eliot Cohen writes: “The Obama administration has managed to convince most countries around the world that we are worth little as friends and even less as enemies.” Obama’s squeamishness about standing up to enemies and disdain for allies are apparent in virtually all the world’s hot spots, and this approach is a failure in each. As Cohen explains, U.S. equivocation on Gaza is a recipe for conflict and chaos:
When the U.S. accepted last week, albeit with some tut-tutting, the recent conclusion of the 189-nation nuclear nonproliferation review conference that singles out Israel but does not mention Iran, it was obvious that something is seriously amiss.
The folly here is to think that leaving the Israelis open to these kinds of diplomatic attacks will buy good will in a Middle East that gets its opinions from Al Jazeera and a venomous media that routinely prints outrageous lies and hate literature that echoes Nazi Germany. That part of the world, as Osama bin Laden once correctly observed, prefers a strong horse to a weak horse.
The still greater folly is to think that distancing ourselves from the Israelis will buy us leverage with them. When did the Israelis withdraw from Gaza? When they had a president in the White House upon whom they knew they could count. If, as is the case now, Israel is alone and desperate, is it more or less likely to conclude it has no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities?
But Israel is not the exception — it is only one example of Obama’s nonsensical approach to the world. Whether it is China or North Korea or Syria or Iran, Cohen reminds us:
There is no penalty for a foreign government crossing this U.S. president—unless you are the hapless prime minister of Israel visiting the White House, in which case, to paraphrase the deli bully in “Seinfeld,” “No dinner for you!”
The administration’s foreign policy, which appears to have sprung entirely from Obama’s textbook leftism (aversion to American power, contempt for Israel, revulsion at asserting American power and values, infatuation with multilateralism), is premised on the view that America is in decline and is so deeply flawed that it can only manage its descent, not reverse it. But in fact Obama’s policy is hastening that result. American power need not wane. What is needed is moral clarity, commitment to our allies, willingness to devote resources to our national security, and competent foreign-policy operatives. Obama has none of those. No wonder our enemies are on the march and our friends are exasperated.