Obama's non-leadership of America and the West

Even if you disagree on intervention in Syria, Barack Obama has emerged as a hopelessly non-presidential and directionless president. Who knew?

by Taylor Dibbert on 4 September 2013 13:15

Barack Obama’s aversion to using military force or projecting American power in any form is well-known. Now with his most recent foreign policy decision, he appears to have taken his propensity for dithering and incredible reluctance to lead to a new level.

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Obama doesn’t need Congress’s permission to engage in limited military action regarding the “problem from hell.” Yet even though he’s commander-in-chief, Obama still – after thirty months of people being slaughtered – doesn’t want to make a decision about Syria. Instead he’s decided to hand that responsibility to the same legislative body that he constantly criticizes.

Evidently it is not enough for Obama to preside over eight years of American weakness and prevarication. He seems intent on actually undermining the executive office itself.

At this point, it’s very clear that on the foreign policy front, Obama’s not having the second-term he would’ve liked. The very last thing he wants is to get stuck in the Middle East.

Yet it’s not clear whether he’ll do much better in terms of domestic policy. What is certain is that those running for office in 2016 – both Democrats and Republicans – will try to distance themselves from a president who remains uncomfortable with the office he currently holds.

There’s nothing remotely presidential about Obama’s leadership style. Even worse, Obama seems intent on institutionalizing indecision, weakness and equivocation.

Now what could be less presidential than that?

Taylor Dibbert is a consultant. He is also a columnist for International Policy Digest and the author of the book 'Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth'

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