Relations with Russia have fallen off a cliff, making the theatrical “reset” of 2009 look, frankly, cringe-worthy. No, it’s not all Obama’s fault. Putin has sought to belittle the U.S. and humiliate Obama personally, a man he reportedly despises, as part of his campaign to build up his authoritarian rule at home. Obama just canceled a summit meeting after Putin — incredibly, posing as the great defender of freedom — granted asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden despite the very public pleas from Washington, which only made the U.S. look more powerless.
You might confuse the times with the old Cold War days, but back then the U.S. looked mighty — one of two awe-inspiring superpowers. The U.S. doesn’t exactly inspire awe anymore.
Obama dramatically warned Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, as he slaughtered his people by the thousands, that if he used chemical or biological weapons, he would cross a “red line.” The line was crossed and not much happened. Syria is crumbling, self-destructing in a civil war that I, for one, believe could have turned out quite differently if Washington had offered material and diplomatic support for moderates in the opposition. Fears that the opposition would be dominated by extremists became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Syria’s war has sucked in Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia, taking Lebanon to the edge of disaster and making Iran a major player in a war for the survival of the anti-American Shiite axis — Iran-Syria-Hezbollah — while the U.S., to all appearances, stands helplessly on the sidelines.
But it is Egypt where America’s foreign policy fiasco is most visible.