It's easy to see why he's so beloved
Then Senator Obama ran on a platform that said, essentially, that America will no longer play leader to the world. He was adored overseas for that new angle on international relations, and I think there is little doubt that "average" Europeans were quite happy with the result of our election in November.
Since he has actually assumed residence in the White House, the one thing Obama has NOT backtracked on is his determination to make sure America doesn't assume too much center-stage on the international scene. In fact, if you believe French President Sarkozy, Obama actually had to be prodded into speaking up at the recent G-20 summit at all. Between bowing to a fellow head of state to weakly responding to a 50-minute anti-American diatribe from another head of state, I think there can be no doubt that Obama intends to make sure that this country is never again accused of trying to take lead on any international issue.
So, world, you're getting what you wanted: an America walking around with a big ol' "kick me" sign pasted to our backsides. And yes, playing the fool on the international stage is going to make Obama wildly popular. Wildly.
I am reminded now of the ever-popular adage "be careful what you wish for."
Truth be known, America is AT WORST only marginally less potent today than it was on November 3rd. So it's not like this country is impotent. The differnce between then and now is about the people at the top: the country's leadership just doesn't have interest in carrying water up all those hills anymore.
Now this position hurts some countries noticeably. First to mind is Israel, who must feel like they're going to be forced into going it alone in dealing with Iran's burgeoning nuclear capability. Fortunately, that country just elected the right guy for the job (if you think the preservation of the nation-state of Israel is a worthwhile thing).
But to most of the places out there that aren't sneered at by our bettors in the media, a lesser America is cause for celebration.
. . .I just wonder how long the music will last?
What just might happen--I'd put it in the "highly likely" category, actually--is that some "crisis" is going to arise that really demands global leadership from somewhere.
And there aren't a lot of countries that can take that mantle, if I'm being honest with you. Nor are there good organizations for that situation (yes, NATO and UN, that line was directed at you).
No, there might just come a time when the world waits for their knight in shining "O" armor to walk up to the podium and plot the course that leads the world away from the edge.
But when that time comes, will America be able to turn the tide?
There will be a great speech, to be sure. (TOTUS is a given under all circumstances) But a player on the international stage is only as powerful as the country he/she commands. If this country I love so much goes too "soft". . .well, even the Magic Man riding in on the white horse ain't gonna amount to a hill of beans in the real world.
And I know what you're thinking: how can America go soft? I've written it before, and I sincerely mean it: this country is the greatest country in the world by a country mile.
But that doesn't mean we're omnipotent. Heck, for evidence, just ask Obama--he'd be glad to tell you about all the things we can't do.
And that's today, fresh off decades of being the lone superpower. What about tomorrow? Or a thousand tomorrows after that? Will we --the people-- have the reserve to answer the world's call for leadership? Will we remember how to even act in that position?
I'm afraid of the answer to that question. Look around right now, and ask yourself this: where's the accountability? Where's the dream of making things right through hard work and patience? Where's the pride in all the good things this country has done for the world in the last 2 decades? Where is the ANYTHING that helped forge your spirit in your youth?
I heard a "man who tracks these things" say that there are as many young people that favor socialism as favor capitalism. (he could have been referring to this poll from Rasmussen) Socialism! What a cop-out; a romantic idea of equality that has, without exception, failed everywhere it's been tried. Not failed to bring about equality, mind you--failed to bring about prosperity. Failed to inspire greatness. Failed to provide any signature symbol of that country's place in the world.
And most importantly, failed to lead the world through challenges. And yet, that mindset is as attactive to our young people as is the frame of reference in which they were raised.
So buck up world, you got what you wanted. Us crazy Americans will no longer assume our place is at the head of every table. Heck, all we seek is to even HAVE a seat at the table, no matter the means of which that state acquired the place.
But you, world, had better do well. Because if you ever find yourself in a place where you need help. . .
. . .I don't know where you're going to be able to turn.