November 20, 2009 | Commentary on American Leadership
No American president has spent more time abroad in his first year in office than Barack Obama. His trip to Asia this week is his 8th foreign tour, taking the total number of countries visited to 20.
But what does the president have to show for all his gallivanting across the world stage and countless apologies for America's past? Almost nothing, except for adoring crowds in exotic locales, and bemused monarchs surprised by groveling bows from the most powerful leader on the face of the earth.
It is a monumental task trying to come up with any concrete foreign policy successes from the Obama administration. On the Iranian nuclear crisis, arguably the biggest threat to international security of the Obama presidency, the administration's high-risk strategy of engagement with the mullahs of Tehran has only emboldened America's enemies and renewed their determination to press ahead with their nuclear weapons program.
On Afghanistan, the White House's spectacular dithering on whether to send more troops is seriously damaging America's standing as a world power, and undercutting the fight against the Taliban. As for the global War on Terror, it no longer even exists in the eyes of the White House. It has been replaced by the "Overseas Contingency Operation," the sort of name typically given to a glorified U.N. peacekeeping operation.
As for America's traditional alliances, especially the transatlantic alliance, they have taken a serious beating under the Obama administration. It is hard to think of a president who has shown less interest in the security of Europe than Barack Obama, as was shown by his government's recent callous disregard for key allies in eastern and central Europe.
The humiliating surrender to Moscow's demands over scrapping Third Site missile defense, and the decision to throw Poland and the Czech Republic under the bus in the face of Russian intimidation, will dramatically erode faith in the United States across the Atlantic for a generation. In a further snub to Europe, the president couldn't even be bothered to attend the ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall -- one of the greatest events in the history of the past century.
Before he took office, the president boasted of "restoring" America's "standing" in the world. He has succeeded so far only in weakening America's defenses, eroding Washington's alliances, and embarrassing the United States with a series of diplomatic gaffes and humiliating mea culpas.
The Obama administration has also embarked on a staggeringly naive appeasement strategy towards some of the most brutal and dangerous regimes on the face of the earth, from Tehran and Caracas to Khartoum and Rangoon. It is an approach doomed to failure, a disastrous roadmap for American decline.
The world needs powerful U.S. leadership in the face of an array of deadly threats, from the Al Qaeda network to state sponsors of international terror. Sadly, all it is getting at present are mealy-mouthed platitudes, 71-car motorcades and endless acts of contrition.
Nile Gardiner is Director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC.
First Appeared in the FoxNews.com