Crowds chant for the President’s downfall around the globe. He is burned in effigy, blamed for collateral damage from airstrikes, castigated for his treatment of terrorist prisoners, and accused of making war against Muslim nations to steal their oil.
George Bush in the latter years of his presidency? No, Barack Obama in the middle of his first term.
Fox News has a report on the “backlash abroad” against Obama’s Libyan adventure, which notes that the global audience was already souring on the President before American bombs and missiles began raining on Tripoli. “The U.S. intervention in Libya could compound the public-relations trouble the Obama administration is having in the Middle East,” the Fox article speculates. “His efforts to jump-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace process have fallen by the wayside, and new violence rocked Jerusalem last week; he has not closed Guantanamo Bay as promised and has, to the contrary, brought back military tribunals in a limited capacity; and the administration has struggled in Pakistan to smooth things over after a CIA contractor shot and killed two Pakistani men allegedly trying to rob him.”
None of this is surprising, but it highlights the foolishness of parading before the cameras as First Citizen of the World, or claiming to be a global messiah who can “repair” America’s “damaged” reputation with the global community. No American president could even hope to unite his domestic audience in perpetual approval of his policies. A year after circling the world on a global apology tour, complete with copious recriminations and the occasional deep bow to foreign potentates, Obama’s sitting pretty much where the unilateralist cowboy Bush was. A few of the world leaders he worked so hard to please are even calling for the revocation of his Nobel Peace Prize.
The only thing that might squeeze a drop of lasting respect from the global audience is consistency. It wouldn’t make the implacable opponents of the United States like us any better (and nothing else will, either) but it would make our allies feel better, and those sitting on the fence more inclined to view support for America as safe bet.
Trying to please the “world community” is a fool’s errand that will last no longer than the first executive decisions by any American president, no matter how much world leaders say they’re looking forward to doing business with him during his campaign. Acting without apology in the interests of the American people produces little net change in the number of effigies being burned by angry mobs.
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