Victor Davis Hanson

There is even greater irony in foreign policy. Europe blasted Bush for his cooked-up war on radical Islam and his needless interventions abroad. But with the ascendency of Barack Obama, Europe finally got a mirror image of itself. Both Iraq and Afghanistan will have ended according to strict timetables of withdrawal, not with any lasting security on the ground.

France and Great Britain went into Libya, while America "led from behind." Muammar Gadhafi's dictatorship was replaced with chaos that has birthed a terrorist haven that threatens to become the new Afghanistan. The odious anti-Semite and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi now runs a near-bankrupt Egypt that looks a lot like Haiti. After the messes in Libya and Egypt, the West watched impotently as Syria became something like Mogadishu.

France is forced to unilaterally intervene in its old colony, Mali, to stop an Islamist takeover of the entire country. America watches from the sidelines, as undermanned French forces are offered meager logistical support from EU allies. In Algeria, radical Islamists brazenly executed dozens of Western hostages.

Yet Obama has found widespread public support for his new isolationism. Apparently, liberals prefer to borrow money at home for more entitlements rather than spend money on interventions abroad. Many conservatives enjoy the schadenfreude of watching as Europe plays (poorly) the old thankless unilateral role of the United States.

Obama has loudly promised a pivot in the U.S. security profile toward the Pacific region. That change represents the unspoken reality that socialist redistribution has reduced Europe to near-irrelevancy. Supposedly, free-market Asian economies are the new nexus of wealth and power. Oil and gas finds in America are providing unexpected energy independence from the Persian Gulf. Or perhaps the new strategic emphasis reflects the demographic realities of the Obama coalition of various minority groups -- and fewer European-American voters.

The Hawaiian-born and Indonesia-raised president certainly seems more interested in Asia than he does in the old colonial Mediterranean world of aging and shrinking European nations, Arab quagmires, oil intrigue, Islamic terrorists and the Israeli-Palestinian open sore.

In short, Europe got the European Union of its hopes and a changed America of its fantasies -- but both are rapidly becoming its worst nightmares.

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.