Weak and indecisive — not to mention disastrously wrongheaded in aiding the jihad warriors in Syria. “Iran drama obscures concerns over Obama approach to Mideast,” by Elise Labott in CNN, September 25:
The drama over whether President Barack Obama would shake hands with his Iranian counterpart detracted from what diplomats at the U.N. General Assembly described as an acute disappointment with his handling of Mideast turmoil.
A perceived lack of leadership in Syria during its civil war coupled with U.S. handling of the political crisis in Egypt has forced the Obama administration to confront a growing lack of confidence among Middle East allies.
But what’s most bewildered American allies in the region was Obama’s abrupt decision to back away from threats to use military force over alleged Syrian chemical weapons use in favor of a diplomatic approach to divest it of those stockpiles.
They fear Obama’s ambivalence foreshadows a lack of mettle in dealing with Iran.
Told earlier this month strikes against Syria were imminent, Arab states were “shocked,” according to one foreign minister, when Obama announced he would seek congressional authorization for military action, which turned out to be an uphill climb that was set aside once the diplomatic option became available.
“We saw it as weak and indecisive,” the minister said. “This is how this inaction is being played in the region.”…
“It gives a lot more ammunition to the argument we can’t depend on our American friends,” one senior Arab diplomat said. “They look weak and outmaneuvered. And if they can’t make up their mind on Syria, how will they be able to stay firm on Iran? I think American credibility has suffered a serious setback.”…
“The president’s speech explains why nobody counts on U.S. leadership anymore,” the minister said. “It was an academic, scholarly examination of the problems and all of the arguments involved. He should pick one and stick with it.”
The improvisational nature of Obama’s policy decisions, and his inability to explain them to allies, has brought more than one comparison to President George W. Bush.
Five years after leaving office, Obama’s predecessor still draws fire for his policies in Iraq, but now earns points for his plain-spoken manner.
“I have to tell you, I miss President Bush,” another senior Arab diplomat said. “I disagreed with almost every political decision he made. But I knew where he stood and what his views are. He told us personally and he told the world at the U.N. General Assembly. We could disagree and move on with it. With Obama not only don’t I know, I just don’t understand.”