WASHINGTON—A convergence of security crises is playing out around the globe, from the Palestinian territories and Iraq to Ukraine and the South China Sea, posing a serious challenge to President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and reflecting a world in which U.S. global power seems increasingly tenuous. The breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn’t been seen since the late 1970s, U.S. security strategists say, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, revolutionary Islamists took power in Iran, and Southeast Asia was reeling in the wake of the U.S. exit from Vietnam.
The developments have fueled debate over the Obama foreign-policy doctrine, which the president said in a May speech at West Point would rely on U.S. leadership, but not troop deployments.
The president’s critics in Washington, as well as some diplomats abroad, believe Mr. Obama’s policies have fueled today’s conflicts. They cite his decision to pull back from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his rejection of a more decisive U.S. and allied role in the Syrian civil war, and what they see as his reluctance to provide greater support to American allies in Asia and Europe as they face down the newly aggressive foreign polices of China, Iran and President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
“I think our country acting like such a paper tiger to the world on this and so many other fronts is doing incredible long-term damage to our nation,” said Sen. Bob Corker(R., Tenn.) at a hearing last week on Ukraine. “And I do hope at some point the administration will actually follow through on the things that it continues to tout publicly.”
Professor Reynolds predicted several years ago that if we were lucky, Obama would only be “the worst president since JimmyCarter”. Our luck’s run out.