Economist, NYT: Obama's Weak Leadership Makes World More Dangerous

Image: Economist, NYT: Obama's Weak Leadership Makes World More Dangerous

Monday, 05 May 2014 10:10 AM

By Melanie Batley

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President Barack Obama's weak leadership on the world stage has emboldened America's foes, undermined the security of its allies, and left the world a more dangerous place, The Economist says.

"With Russia grabbing territory, China bullying its neighbors, and Syria murdering its people, many are asking: Where is Globocop?" the Economist wrote. "Rogue states will behave more roguishly if they doubt America's will to stop them."

The New York Times took a similar position in an editorial published Sunday.

"The world seems as if it is flying apart, with Mr. Obama unable to fix it. Through a combination of a few significant missteps, circumstances beyond his control, unreasonable expectations, and his maddeningly bland demeanor, Mr. Obama has opened himself to criticism that he is not articulating a strong, overarching blueprint for the exercise of American power and has not been able to bend authoritarian leaders to his will," the editorial board of the Times wrote.

"It does not feel as if he is exercising sufficient American leadership and power, even if he is in fact working to solve a problem."

Both publications acknowledge that Obama has taken steps to tackle problems in each of the major regions, such as imposing sanctions on Russia in response to its threats in Ukraine, and making reassurances during his recent trip to Asia about America's commitment to maintain security in the region.

They also say the Obama administration has demonstrated a commitment to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and produced the first possibility of a deal on Iran's nuclear weapons.

Nevertheless, the publications also agree that Obama has repeatedly not gone far enough to stabilize areas of conflict or stem emerging threats and even publicly pondering whether America should or could intervene effectively.

"Nowhere is the perception of growing American timidity so strong as in the Middle East," the Economist said, adding that America has made little impact in Egypt or supporting democracy in the wake of the Arab Spring. Both publications say that Obama blatantly allowed Syria to cross the "red line" on its use of chemical weapons.

"The widespread impression in the Middle East is that the lion has turned into a pussycat. Its foes rejoice; its allies bewail their perceived abandonment," the Economist said.

"Some will celebrate the decline of America's ability to deter. But wherever they live, they may find that whatever replaces the old order is much worse. American power is not half as scary as its absence would be," the Economist concluded.

The Times overall had a more temperate judgment about Obama's foreign policy weaknesses, concluding, "Taken as a whole and stripped as much as possible of ideological blinkers, Mr. Obama's record on foreign policy is not as bad as his critics say. It's just not good enough."

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