A Time to Lead
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama delivered a foreign policy address to the American people, and those around the world, that may question his ability or willingness to lead.
It was steeped in the historic role that America has as leader of the free world. It was designed to counteract his reputation as a lead from behind president. For both allies and foes alike, this speech would be taken seriously if the president had a history of voting “present” or even “absent.”
No group, especially one that consists of leaders from around the world, can operate efficiently without a strong leader. Since President Obama was first elected, he has sought to abdicate the role as leader of the free world that comes with the being elected President of the United States of America. Running any entity as a committee is destined to be entirely ineffective and rudderless.
In the president’s attempts to engage the world as its leader, he sought to replace last week’s statement “We don’t have a strategy yet,” with “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.”
This differs greatly from his press conference statements of the previous week in which he came out strong against the Islamic terrorists that killed David Sotloff by saying they will be “destroyed,” to his equivocation later in that same day where he back-tracked stating that the United States must work with a coalition to make the Islamic State a “manageable problem.”
Mr. Obama has long been questioned on his diminished role on the world stage and whether he has sought to relegate the United States to just a participating party in events across the globe instead of being the nation that other countries look to in times of crisis. He seemed to dismiss and distance himself from the past six years of his foreign policy – which required the United States to always work within the framework of a coalition before taking action.
In a statement that could have been uttered by any of the previous four administrations, the president stated that “American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.”
After presenting his four-point strategy of airstrikes, advisors, cutting off the Islamic State’s funding sources and providing humanitarian assistance, the president welcomed “our responsibility to lead.” Whether he stands by the traditional role of past American presidents, who led the free world, is yet to be seen. Mr. Obama has a great deal to overcome if he is ever going to be considered a leader.
For the sake of the innocents in the Middle East and the potential for strikes against the West by the Islamic State’s continued march of terrorism, let’s hope President Obama acts decisively and wisely to eradicate the threat posed by these fanatical ideologues.