A new Pew Research Center poll found that 53 percent of people believe that the U.S. is playing a less important role as a world leader than a decade ago, the highest figure since 1984.
Worse: 70 percent said that the U.S. is respected less than in the past, almost matching the high reached under former President George W. Bush, whose foreign policy Obama pledged to reverse.
Other key highlights from Pew’s release:
— By a 56 percent to 34 percent margin, more disapprove than approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy. The public also disapproves of his handling of Syria, Iran, China and Afghanistan by wide margins.
A friend of mine and a fan of Obama’s (yes, I have one) cited Bill Clinton on the subject of the mighty O. Clinton said that “Obama does the hard things well, but not the easy things”. That was a kind way of saying that he has disengaged American troops from Iraq, is doing the same in Afghanistan, and has arrived at a deal with Iran that fails to forbid it from enriching uranium to make nukes. On the other hand, with the basic business of politics, such as making allies, stroking your friends and intimidating or befriending your enemies, as may be needed, Obama neither tries nor engages.
The unfailingly optimistic friend said he hoped that this would not be the last black American President. He said he looked forward to more being elected, and women too. The nagging feeling I have is that he does actually believe that there are objective criteria for the job, or that being black can get you, if not a free pass, then a benign once-over. If that were so, it would be a frivolous position.