Right thinking people should stop gloating. So says Roger Simon.
True enough, Barack Obama is fulfilling all the negative expectations that conservatives had for him. Yet, the Republican Party has not presented anyone who can provide the leadership America needs.
The first point is beyond dispute. Even Fareed Zakaria, pillar of the foreign policy establishment, declares that Obama has completely botched the situation in Syria:
But the manner in which the Obama administration has first created and then mismanaged this crisis will, alas, cast a long shadow on America’s role in the world.
But, which Republican looks like a credible world leader?
Keep in mind, in the second presidential debate of 2012, the debate on foreign policy, Romney managed to lose to Barack Obama.
Simon notes the obvious:
At no time in our history, at least in my increasingly long lifetime, has there been such a dearth of key political leadership in our country on both sides of the ideological divide — and at a moment when the world seems about to explode.
Much as they have a great deal to recommend domestically, I’m sorry but Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — the leading “conservatarian” lights of the Senate — do not seem prepared to deal with Syria, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, North Korea, and, of course, Russia and China.
Perhaps Republicans will find a leader among the nation’s governors. But, Rick Perry does not seem quite ready to walk onto the world stage. Nor does Scott Walker, for that matter.
If you think Obama is bad, what about his presumptive successor, Hillary Clinton. Considering how badly foreign relations deteriorated while she was Secretary of State, will she be credible as a world leader? Do you believe that the world will feel more respect for a nation that elects a woman whose claim to fame was serial humiliation?
The world is watching. Seeing that America has elected Barack Obama twice it has concluded that America no longer wants to exercise world leadership.
So, the world is reorganizing.
Witness Vladimir Putin. The president of Russia never misses an opportunity to poke a finger in America’s eye. He does it because he knows that he can get away with it.
In return, Obama stooped below even his standards and called Putin a bored child in a classroom. Is that the way a world leader tries to reset relations with an important nation?
Obama’s playground antics notwithstanding, Putin has surveyed the world political scene and decided that the future is no longer with America. He no longer believes that the American way of life, the American mix of liberal democracy and free enterprise is lighting the way to a better future.
When he looks toward the future, Putin looks toward China.
The Economist reports:
As an alternative to the West, Mr Putin points to the East, hailing China’s rise as a colossal chance to catch its “wind in the sails of our economy”. China and Russia, he has argued, each need the other to be strong and prosperous. Neither lectures the other on human rights. China sees Russia as a safe resource-base which would be strategically important in case of escalating tension between China and America. To prove the point, Xi Jinping, China’s new leader, made Moscow his first port of call.
If, as Simon says, the Pax Americana is over, the world’s nations will be seeking new alliances. More importantly, they will be seeking new role models.
Simon tries to paint an optimistic picture, but he cannot escape the observation that this is all a sign that America is in decline:
They say that the people get the leaders they deserve — and that may have been our problem. Maybe we have lost the soul of our country and we are, as they trumpet in the Syrian newspapers, beginning our decline. (Maybe we began it a few years ago.)
One likes to remain hopeful. One likes to think that a new leader will step forth from the American heartland. But then, what are the odds that America, given a choice between someone who can exercise leadership and a Hillary Clinton will decide rightly?