Obama’s Foreign Policy: Cushy Photo Ops, Forget Those Pesky Human Rights

President Obama is apparently fast becoming the Megan Fox of the political world. He looks good doing his thing, and the people around the world like him better than George Bush, but, when it comes to the leaders he has to work with, he creates quite a bite of strife with our allies, and most think he is a lightweight and not to be taken seriously. Someone simply out there for a photo op. And, no, I shan’t do a photoshop with Obama’s head on Megan’s body. Just use your imagination.

If there is an Obama doctrine emerging, it is one much more realpolitik than his predecessor’s, focused on relations with traditional great powers and relegating issues like human rights and democracy to second-tier concerns. He has generated much more good will around the world after years of tension with Mr. Bush, and yet he does not seem to have strong personal friendships with many world leaders.

Interestingly, the story appears to make Bush’s push for human rights and democracy and those pesky freedom issues a bad thing. Bush had a vision that the world would be a better place if people were free from tyranny, if they had real elections, if they were shown a way up from their shackles. Was it perfect? No. Witness the Palestinian elections, with the large Hezbollah wins. He also understood that one had to deal well with our allies, and looked to make new allies, even imperfect ones. And he treated our enemies with the carrot and the stick, when appropriate. And he did not go out of his way to criticize in public. He treated most world leaders with respect, and understood that this was not about him.

Obama, on the other hand, is working hard to isolate our allies, and turn them into causal acquaintances. His Sec. Of State told China that we were not too concerned with human rights. He spends more time reaching out to enemies, who then spit in his open hand. He criticizes people in the open. And he is not treated as a serious person. No one is concerned with what Obama will do. And therein likes one of the problems. It is all about Obama the man. Not Obama the President of the United States. With Bush, other countries knew they were dealing with THE United States. With Obama, it’s the guy in the trailer throwing a fit because his teleprompter died. And he gets little done that has any actual meaning beyond some non-binding agreements and photos.

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