Is the U.S. Really More Respected Now?
President Obama this week made a statement that caused more than a few eyebrows to rise. He averred that the United States is the “most respected country on earth,” and that his administration claimed credit for that accomplishment. Judging from most reactions to the statement, it would appear that more Americans would agree with Charles Krauthammer’s rhetorical question, “What planet is he living on?”
Speaking to about 70 community leaders from the nascent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the president declared, “People don’t remember, when I came into office, the United States in world opinion ranked below China, barely above Russia,” Obama said. “And today, once again, the United States is the most respected country on earth, and part of that I think is because of the work that we did to reengage the world and say that we want to work with you as partners, with mutual interests and mutual respect.”
But as the Investor’s Business Daily stated the next day, “The only problem with this narrative about winning respect is that it has no basis in reality. In fact, the very opposite is true.”
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer echoed IBD’s sentiments. “You wonder what world, what planet he’s living on and it’s not just as you enumerated, our enemies who have respect for us. The Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians of course, ISIS, you can go all the way down.”
Clearly those who threaten global security and peace have no respect for the U.S. Russia invades the Ukraine, knowing U.S. leadership will do nothing. Putin’s assumptions are affirmed.
China builds manmade islands in international waters claiming sovereignty, and the assumption is obvious that the administration will do nothing. Again, the Chinese assumptions are affirmed.
Iran violates terms of the framework agreement regarding development of nuclear weapons, even before the tentative ink has a chance to dry, and again, the administration does nothing.
ISIS is running roughshod over Syria and Iraq, expanding and growing exponentially, in part due to the weaponry and equipment we left in the wake of our hasty and premature withdrawal from Iraq. We run a few token aerial sorties against the barbarians, but the administration ties its own hands by delineating everything we won’t do to rein them in.
Krauthammer continued with his rant against the president. “[How about] our allies. You think the Ukrainians respect us? Or the Poles? The Lithuanians? How about the Saudis? How about the Bahrainis? The King of Bahrain was supposed to come to the summit in Camp David with the President of the United States. He stiffs the President and the foreign ministry of Bahrain issues a statement saying that on that day, where was the king? At a horse show in England. Now, if that’s a sign of respect, we’ve got problems.”
Bahrain wasn’t alone. Actually four Arab monarchs took a bye from the president’s summit on terrorism last month. And Saudi Arabia has so little regard for our policies and security measures in the Middle East that they initiated defensive measures against the insurgency in Yemen without even telling the administration. Clearly a measure of “incoherence” in our policies there, as NBC’s Richard Engels explained it.
Couple that with the “stream of leaks from anonymous White House operatives and public dismissals” against Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu before his appearance before a joint session of congress two months ago, and the lack of respect for Obama’s new America is even more glaring. Israel, supposedly our closest ally in the region, is pummeled with abuse, while Iran, one of our most strident enemies, is treated amicably, and even apologetically, by the administration.
For the past forty years Egypt has turned to the U.S. for leadership, support, and stability. Part of that was reliance on our military technology and arms. Yet just this spring, for the first time in decades, Egypt went to Russia looking for weaponry for their armed forces.
And we mustn’t forget how infuriated our allies, especially Germany and Brazil were, after learning that the Obama administration had been spying on their leaders. The Edward Snowden revelations came not just as news to U.S. citizens, but to some of our closes global allies. And it was not welcome news.
It’s inconceivable to think that the world is impressed with the domestic unrest over alleged racism of our law enforcement agencies, and the rioting and looting which regularly assaults the global news airways. Violent crime is now rising dramatically in those cities that have had violent clashes between hired rioters and law enforcement.
Yet we’re to believe that somehow we’re more respected as a nation? Really, Mr. President. What’s to respect about what you’ve turned our nation into? Domestically or abroad? Our “friends” and allies don’t trust us. Our enemies don’t fear us, as the administration proves their impotence on a nearly daily basis. And our domestic scene is more polarized and riotous than it’s been in fifty years.
The only ones who likely think America is more respected now are probably those of warped moral relativistic ideology, who in some convoluted way think domestic Christian cake-bakers are more evil than the extremists and sovereign powers that want to destroy us!
Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is this question really necessary? I almost dropped my teeth when I heard *him* say this.