Obama: From leading from behind to being behind

Obama’s propensity for leading from behind now means that the US actually is behind, and is failing to shape some of the most important developments in modern times

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Looking for a lead?
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Taylor Dibbert
On 17 September 2013 13:28

On foreign affairs, the US is looking somewhat irrelevant these days. Regarding Syria’s chemical weapons, it looks like a “deal” has been reached, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Now, it’s not clear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent (and ridiculous) New York Times op-ed helped facilitate anything, but isn’t it remarkable that he was given such a platform to make his case?

What is becoming clearer with each passing day is that Barack Obama’s foreign policy is on life-support. An adequate response to Iran’s Green revolution in 2009 would’ve been good; a meaningful response to the Arab Spring would’ve been great – neither of which happened.

Dealing with Syria should remain one of the administration’s highest of priorities, but Obama will probably do his best to walk away from this crisis.

And make no mistake about it, it remains a crisis.

If the Putin-Assad dalliance comes to a close, it will only be a matter of time before Obama blames Congress for failing to act decisively. After all, that’s his modus operandi. When all else fails, blame Congress.

Unfortunately, Obama’s propensity for leading from behind now means that the US actually is behind, and that America’s foreign policy is failing to shape some of the most important developments in modern times.  Instead, the US is being shaped by events and has begun to look like a second-rate power.

Perhaps those sages in Oslo will now nominate Putin for a Nobel Peace Prize, again. Or do they already have Mr. Assad in mind? Would either be any less deserving of the award than Barack Obama? Of course, they could all share it like Arafat, Rabin and Peres…look how that turned out.

Obama happens to be a president, but he most certainly is not a leader. Leadership requires courage, conviction and resoluteness.

This president doesn’t seem to have any of those things. 

Taylor Dibbert is an international consultant based in Washington, DC. He is the author of numerous articles, reports and the book Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth.

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