Here is what happened to President Obama at a press conference in South Korea:
Maybe Korean journalists are too polite to ask a question that would show what they think of Obama.
President Obama has returned from his ten day escape to Asia. Initially, he seemed to have some fun dancing with children in India and visiting Indonesia where he spent part of his childhood.
Then it got tougher. World leaders led by China’s president Hu Jintao lectured him about the dangers to their economies from America’s uncontrolled spending and the Federal Reserve’s plan to print more money in an initiative called QE2 (Quantitative Easing #2).
Obama went to a meeting in South Korea to finalize a free trade agreement and failed to close the deal. This is unheard of. American presidents go to foreign meetings on a treaty like this when both sides have reached agreement and our president can come in and take credit for the achievement.
While President Bush was not liked by many abroad, particularly the villains of the world like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, America was still respected for its strength both economically and militarily. Bush was also widely admired in some places. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, his groundbreaking initiative to bring new drugs to Africa to fight AIDS kept him popular throughout his presidency.
The world’s 2008 infatuation with Obama has quickly worn off. Today, at best President Obama is considered weak and ineffective, at worst he is ridiculed for his incompetence.
World leaders understand when a president stands up to dictators like Saddam Hussein even if they themselves don’t have the courage to provide open support. But a president who tries to appease the dictators of Iran and other countries and does nothing when he gets rebuffed, quickly loses everyone’s respect.
The same thing happened in the late 1970s, when Jimmy Carter projected weakness leading to a series of defeats for the United States. I lived in Europe at the time and saw people making fun of the man who was dismissed as “the peanut farmer from Georgia.” When President Reagan was elected, the media in Europe tried to continue their anti-Americanism describing him as a B-movie actor. But when Reagan stood up to the Soviet Union and ultimately caused the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, esteem for Reagan rose and today he remains a respected world leader of the twentieth century who was instrumental in freeing hundreds of millions from communism without firing a shot.
America needs a strong president who is not afraid to take unpopular positions and who pursues sensible economic policies. We do not need a president that is so eager to be liked by the world that he continuously apologizes for America, but rather a president who believes in American exceptionalism, who can talk about what makes America great and who is not afraid to confront our enemies.