SO IS OBAMA really worse than everyone else or is he just the latest in a line of US presidents who have no idea how to run an effective foreign policy? The short answer is that he is far worse than his predecessors.
A US president's maneuver room in foreign affairs is always very small. The foreign policy establishment in the Washington is entrenched and uniformly opposed to bending to the will of elected leaders. The elites in the State Department and the CIA and their cronies in academia and policy circles in Washington are also consistently unmoved by reality, which as a rule exposes their policies as ruinous.
The president has two ways to shift the ship of state. First, he can use his bully pulpit. Second, he can appoint people to key positions in the foreign policy bureaucracy.
Since entering office, Obama has used both these powers to ill effect. He has traveled across the world condemning and apologizing for US world leadership. In so doing he has convinced ally and adversary alike that he is not a credible leader; that no one can depend on US security guarantees during his watch; and that it is possible to attack the US, its allies and interests with impunity.
Obama's call for a nuclear-free world combined with his aggressive stance towards Israel's purported nuclear arsenal, his bid to disarm the US nuclear arsenal, and his ineffective response to North Korea's nuclear brinksmanship and Iran's nuclear project have served to convince nations from the Persian Gulf to South America to the Pacific Rim that they should begin developing nuclear weapons. By calling for nuclear disarmament, he has provoked the greatest wave of nuclear armament in history.
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