Presidential Mojo No Substitute for Understanding America

Marion Smith /

Almost two years ago, after President Obama’s obsequious bow before a Saudi prince, many Americans began to wonder whether this “citizen of the world” knew what he was doing with America’s foreign policy. The passage of time has revealed a stunning lack of diplomatic sophistication and a dangerous misunderstanding of America’s role in the world.

In a new issue of Foreign Policy magazine, foreign policy experts offer President Obama a “Plan B” to supplement the White House’s incoherent and ineffective foreign policy agenda – in their words, to help the president “find his mojo again.” But has Barack Obama ever had this certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to American diplomacy?

As a presidential candidate, Obama so resolutely criticized American foreign policy and expressed such confidence in his persuasive abilities that many people came to expect that he held the secret to global harmony, a secret that had eluded so many of America’s past statesmen. But two years of apology-based diplomacy have revealed the failures of a foreign policy that refuses to see the world as it is.

President Obama and his closest White House advisors also fundamentally misunderstand America, so it is no surprise that they misunderstand the role of American diplomacy in the world. According to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks at the Heritage Foundation on Thursday, the biggest foreign policy difference between Congressional Republicans and the Obama administration hinges on a basic question: “Whether or not America is an exceptional country.” (more…)