President Barack Obama’s visit to the United Nations this past week, complete with a major address and some quality time with a gavel, was yet another step in the process of seizing a much sought after role. For decades, U.S. presidents have routinely been referred to as leaders of the free world. For all practical and theoretical purposes now, though, the appellation “free” no longer applies.
We should now be saying that he’s the leader of the world, period.
Until now, the various elements of a particular president’s philosophy and methodology have usually been categorized dichotomously: domestic policy and foreign policy. And since they both involve issues that seldom fly that close to each other – except for issues of trade – the occupants of the Oval Office have generally been analyzed and graded on them separately by historians.
The prevailing wisdom is that a particular president may have been strong on one and weak on the other. Rare was the leader who got high marks for what he did here as well as his approach to things abroad. Sometimes it had to do with passion. Richard Nixon was fascinated with foreign policy, seeing it as the premier role for a president. And in spite of a solid domestic record (which was impressive in some areas), the 37th President is largely rated highly for his achievements on the international stage.
Even for those who seemed to be effective both domestically and diplomatically, there were few similarities in philosophy and methodology between the two vastly different arenas. That is, until now.
Mr. Obama has a philosophy that runs as a common thread between his approaches to everything he touches from the U.S. economy, to national security, and even, yes, foreign policy. What is this important piece of the puzzle? Simple. Though he pays lip service to one of the most basic issues of human nature and how people relate to and interact with each other on a micro or macro scale, his actions actually minimize – or at least, marginalize – a fundamental instinct common to every person, group, community, and nation on the earth.