• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • One Year Later: America Retreats From Global Leadership Under Obama

    The world needs American leadership. In the interwar years, we saw that the enemies of freedom advance when the great liberal and democratic powers of the day failed to lead. We saw it again in the dark years of the Cold War under President Carter. The alternative to an America willing and able to lead is not a paradise of peace through engagement. It is a world where the undemocratic, the unsatisfied, and the illiberal powers of the world advance at the expense of American ideals, American interests, and America’s allies.

    During President Obama’s first year in office, he failed almost completely to exercise meaningful leadership in the world. His Nobel Peace Prize was proof enough of this: it was awarded not for any substantive achievement, but because the Committee hoped he might do something in the future. The President generously gave himself a B+ rating on Oprah Winfrey’s Christmas Special, but even his most fervent supporters among Sweden’s socialists could not bring themselves to give him more than an incomplete.

    The President did make one decision that does him credit: in December, he recommitted the U.S. to the war in Afghanistan, and promised to reinforce the U.S. troop commitment there. But even this decision was taken with agonizing slowness and, just as bad, without any reference to America’s allies who were fighting and dying alongside U.S. troops. And it came with such obvious reluctance, and with so many possible exit ramps, that it signals the likelihood of more hesitations in his second year in office.

    The President’s other leadership initiatives have all fallen flat, or proven counterproductive. He sought to hit the reset button with Russia: the result is weakened U.S. missile defenses and more Russian threats. He tried to take the lead in the Copenhagen conference: the conference failure, though good for the U.S. economy and its sovereignty, was a humiliation. He reached out to Iran, with his signature policy of engagement: they responded with missile tests, insults, and the beating, torture, and murder of dissidents and protesters.

    In President Obama, this nation elected a man who is uncomfortable with the concept of American exceptionalism, who embarked on an embarrassing ‘apology tour’ of Europe, the Middle East, and the United Nations, and who spent much of his first year in office blaming his predecessor for all of the problems that confront him. Casting blame is politically convenient, but it is not leadership. The time has come for the President to recognize that, if he does not speak and lead for freedom, the enemies of freedom will take note – and take advantage.

    The Foundry will be featuring analysis of President Obama’s first year in office throughout the week.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to One Year Later: America Retreats From Global Leadership Under Obama

    1. Barb Mills says:

      Did you know they made a coloring book for Elementary students….entitled "My first year" All through it is praise for "o" how he is ONLY President to win Noble Pease Prize…….on and on, his family and dog on cover…….Please check, a teacher told me about it…..I could not find anywhere in the school, they got it around school fast…….teachers were to make copies of any pages and pass book on.

      Did you hear anything about it?

    2. Normca says:

      This article is so right that it is sad. I grew up being proud of the USA. America needs a real leader to whom respect is utmost, rather than being liked, himself, personally. Obama has Reverend Wright in his DNA where America, the all powerful, dropped the bomb on Japan to kill rather than end a war and saves American lives and attacked Iraq to harm their citizens instead of save them from a brutal dictator and sons. I cannot see Obama being a real leader of America in the next 3 years and therefore someone the rest of the world can count on to support in times of strife, beyond a natural disaster. And someone other countries will follow into a war zone. This country needs to hold on to liberty for its own people, equality for all, despite campaign donations, elect a Republican congress in November, to hold onto liberty and tell the MSM to go try and work in Cuba or Venezuela, as they give the one side of the news and tell TV hosts that tea party goers should not be allowed to have their opinion.

    3. Anita Chateau Califo says:

      Mr. Obama gave himself a strong B+ because he is not through destroying the United States of America. When he finishes he can give himself an A+. We need to stop him NOW!!!!!! Vote him and his cronies OUT!!!!

    4. Bobbie Jay says:

      recently obama stated " its what we do that defines us as a people."

      Ahh, no Mr. President. Our existence defines us as a people. What WE DO DEFINES US AS AMERICANS!

      Mr. President is very reluctant to use the title of this country when it comes to something positive.

    5. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      I've known Obama types all of my life! They are the types who say,"If you do not play by my rules, I'll just take all my marbles and go home."

    6. Fran30096 says:

      It would seem that no matter what President Obama says or does, it will never be good enough for many who write for and follow this organization. What happen to supporting the leader of the United States during difficult times. We have had those times throughout history more recenlty at least for the last six years, they just crest in the last two. Under Presdent Bush we lost the honor of being call the Leader of the Free World. If anyone (American mostly) would do a little research or read about how our country has profited on the backs of groups and countries. Look at how we have sabotaged other govrements and countries in the name of making more money that we will never need to live on and that they need to survive and perhaps pay off their debt. This is not what our founding fathers had in mind. Or is it?

    7. Pavel, Russia says:

      Before discussion about freedom, American leadership, freedom of speech, Heritage should start to read adequate critics from citizens of other countries.

      Why you have deleted my comment which shows Russian view on this matter??

    8. Drew Page, IL says:

      To Fran30096 — I always enjoy comments like yours, they make me laugh out loud.

      You ask, "What happened to supporting the leader of the UNited States during difficult times?" You mean just like you and your friends supported George Bush during his difficult times in office?

      You say, "Look at how we sabatoged other governments and countries in the name of making money we will never need to live on and what they need to survive and perhaps payoff their debt." You must be thinking about how the evil USA took over all of Europe after WW I and II and about thow we rebuilt these countries through the Marshall Plan after WWII, or about how we took over Japan after we rebuilt it following WWII, or perhaps how we took over Iraq after driving them out of Kuwait. Perhaps you are thinking of all the money the USA made when we forgave all of the war debt of the nations that depended on us during WWII. God only knows how much money we took out of south Korea and Vietnam and how we are controlling those countries today.

      America is evil and greedy. Yes, Fran you make an excellent case for your criticisms. You belong to that special class of people that enjoy the freedoms to criticize our country and the countless sacrifices of others that allow you to do this. I do have one question though, have you ever served your country in the military?

      I defend your right to say what you like, even though your comments disgust me.

    9. Bobbie Jay says:

      Fran stated: It would seem that no matter what President Obama says or does, it will never be good enough for many who write for and follow this organization. What happen to supporting the leader of the United States during difficult times. HONESTY AND SOUND REASONING WOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH!

      Fran, this is a man who has said nothing good about America. Who lies through his teeth, even in matters of the security of this country! Who insistently pins skin colors against one skin color. His agenda is clear to be the opposite of what this country has established for all in the world to take on if chosen. How the world perceives us, is total government leadership… we can't control the actions of members of government as the government continues to misrepresent us.

    10. Bobbie Jay says:

      One more thing, Fran, I hope most Americans have a mind to reason and determine honesty over lies. But I will never follow a leader that is leading us to destruction! God Bless!

    11. Perry, OK says:

      One of the major problems we face these days "what will so and so think" well km_. Do the right thing for the country you represent and to dogs and dandelions with whatever any one else thinks. We can all get along, but we have to want to.

      I myself am tired to death of it being our problem. Let some of the others lead for awhile. When will we let the other countries learn what we have. It is never fast enough or good enough. Ob is just living proof of it. You can not hire leadership, nor is it offered in school. You have to earn it.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.