The European Union is angry, and Germany in particular is livid. Brazil and Mexico are very upset. Iraq and Afghanistan are afraid. Turkey is confused. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are frustrated. Syria’s rebels are disillusioned. Some of America’s friends in East Asia feel slighted. This range of emotions was either actively created by the Obama Administration and/or passively allowed to fester. What makes this phenomenon unique is that most of these countries are allies or partners who find themselves alienated from an American administration perceived to be slowly disengaging from some of its old international responsibilities, and reluctant to exercise bold leadership. The National Security Agency’s spying program on European and other allies, President Obama’s botched Syria policy following the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in August, which angered regional and European allies, his episodic involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq where the limited political and security gains achieved in America’s two longest wars are quickly evaporating, and his approach to the crisis in Egypt and Iran’s nuclear program which have alienated the Gulf states and Israel; highlights Obama’s isolation and the unfulfilled promise of a “transformational” administration.
When Obama realized that the complex crises and difficult problems besetting the region require sustained, steady and strong leadership, he flinchedHisham Melhem