Then there are world events that consumed presidencies and doomed them to failure. Woodrow Wilson's ill-informed dream of preventing all wars, with the League of Nations, became a nightmare. Lyndon Johnson's hope of being remembered as a civil rights reformer died with his disastrous decisions on the battlefields of Vietnam. Jimmy Carter's naked quest for a "peacemaker's legacy" always will bear the miserable taint of his bungling during the Iranian hostage crisis. Now, with less than 100 days in office, Barack Obama already seems destined for this latter category.
The opening months of the Obama administration's foreign policy have been marked by stunning naivete, serious missteps and ideological blindness to hard realities in an increasingly dangerous world. It is now an open question whether he and his "national security team" can recover.
Just days after becoming commander in chief, Mr. Obama acquiesced in Beijing's demands that U.S. vessels cease surveys within Chinese territorial waters. Russia rebuffed his "hand of friendship" and bribed Tajikistan into closing a U.S. base crucial to operations in Afghanistan. Pakistan replied to his "mutual respect for Islam" by allowing the world's most notorious nuclear weapons proliferator, A.Q. Khan, to return to business as usual. The Iranians sized up his offer for direct negotiations on nuclear weapons by turning on more centrifuges and locking up an American journalist. His "apologize for America first" tour of Europe brought cheers but no new commitments from NATO for help in Afghanistan. He was applauded for promising to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, but then he learned no one else would take the terrorists housed there.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.