Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The president would rather be loved than feared. He is neither


A few days ago there occurred one of those telling little episodes that captures the essence and folly of the Obama administration's approach to foreign policy. The meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement is being hosted this week in Iran, and the administration had urged United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon not to attend as a signal of displeasure at Tehran's serial violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Of course Mr. Ban is going.

The administration’s response to Mr. Ban’s decision was “muted,” according to the New York Times, evidently out of sympathy for his delicate position: Most U.N. member states are also members of the Non-Aligned Movement, and it’s customary for U.N. secretaries-general to attend the meetings. There’s also hope Mr. Ban will make a public stink in Iran about its leaders’ nuclear bid or their calls to wipe out Israel. And maybe he will.

Still, there’s no overlooking the central point of this tussle: In the global popularity contest between Barack Obama and Ali Khamenei, the ayatollah is winning.

No comments: