Michael Barone
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So he coldly ignored the Green movement against Iran's mullahs in June 2009, and he only hesitantly has expressed sympathy with what we at least used to call the Arab Spring.

But the mullahs have shown no more fellow feeling for the first black president than for the third Texas president or his four predecessors.

Our lack of engagement with the Arab Spring movement has reduced our leverage in the region. So has our sudden and abrupt withdrawal from Iraq, against military (but perhaps in accord with political) advice.

Where Obama has done better is in regions where he has followed the trajectory of Bush's (and in some cases Bill Clinton's) policies.

In Africa, he has continued Bush's widely successful campaign to eradicate AIDS. But there are signs that in some African countries Bush is more popular than the president whose father was a citizen of Kenya.

In Asia, once you get east of the horrifying conundrum of Pakistan, Obama has built alliances, formal and informal, with the major countries ringing China. Foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead hails the recent and first trilateral talks between the U.S., Japan and India as "history made."

Obama has built on our rapprochement with India, started gingerly by Clinton and continued with gusto by Bush. Suddenly China finds itself surrounded by nations, including South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and, maybe, Burma, resisting its expansionist thrusts. Japan is buying F-35s, and Australia has agreed to host U.S. troops.

You didn't hear Obama (or his opponents) talk much about Asia in 2008. But it has the world's largest populations and fastest economic growth -- while Old Europe struggles to avoid the collapse of the euro.

Obama's policy there, which continued past initiatives, is a serious achievement. But not one he forecast in his 2008 campaign.

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Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM