Most Americans who are dissatisfied with President Barack Obama's leadership are thinking about the poor economy and the misbegotten health care law. That disillusionment is justified -- if not tardy. But the foreign policy failures of this administration are likely to be far more consequential, lasting and possibly catastrophic.
What we are seeing is the collapse of American influence in the world.
Permitting people like Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Hagel and John Kerry to deal with the brutal realities of world politics is like putting Richard Simmons into the ring with Muhammad Ali.
On Sunday, reflecting an innocence that really ought to be prosecutable, Kerry announced that the U.S. would impose sanctions on Russia if it annexes Crimea and continues to threaten the rest of Ukraine. But, he hastened to add: "We hope President Putin will recognize that none of what we're saying is meant as a threat, it's not meant in a personal way ... "
Frankly, credible threats might restrain Vladimir Putin, but it's way too late for that. By threatening Syria on the use of chemical weapons and then collapsing like a cheap tent when Bashar Assad called Obama's bluff, the president turned himself into a paper tiger. Kerry's blatant groveling to Putin -- his obvious fear of offending the little Moscow thug -- is a new standard of cravenness.
In a hundred ways, this administration has been telegraphing, not just to Putin but to every would-be aggressor and opportunist in the world, that the United States is not to be feared, respected or considered. Because human nature has not changed in 10,000 years, the world's bad actors are throwing elbows. From China's aggressive moves in the South China Sea and increasing military budget, to Syria's dismissal of U.S. threats and stepped-up murder of tens of thousands, to al-Qaida's resurgence in Maghreb, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to Russia's insouciant acquisition of Crimea and perhaps more, the world is becoming more dangerous. Most ominously, the administration continues to indulge the greatest sham of our time -- the fiction that we are engaged in negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.