Leading by Following Isn't Leading . . . It's Following

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: May 27, 2008 12:08 PM
Barack Obama is worried that the Anglo-American alliance hasn't been fair . . . to Britain.

Certainly, it's always wise for a country's leader to be mindful of the strategic importance of maintaining harmonious relationships with an ally like England.  But it sounds as though Barack's comments go far beyond that, into a disavowal of American exceptionalism:  

A foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign said the remarks on the US-UK relationship reflected the senator's general foreign policy approach.

"It's no longer going to be that we are in the lead and everyone follows us. Full partners not only listen to each other, they also occasionally follow each other," the adviser said. 

So according to Barack, sometimes, we should be following other countries.  But wait.  In his recent "72 degrees" remarks, he essentially defined "leadership" as hewing to standards that are "OK" with the rest of the world for what we eat, how cool we stay, and what we drive (in 2008, a "global test" isn't just for going to war anymore!).  

So sometimes we should simply follow; other times, we should lead . . .  by following.  Sounds like there's a whole lot of "following" in an Obama presidency.

Of course, such an approach makes sense if a president has a nagging suspicion that he isn't actually experienced enough to lead. But such faux humility is also a convenient way to justify foisting a lot of (leftist) policies onto Americans who clearly don't want them, whether it's through adopting global standards for "climate change" or meekly submitting to the diktats of multinational bodies like the U.N. 

Someone needs to ask Barack:  Under an Obama presidency, just whom would we be committing to "follow," and where?  And when is leading by following actually leading -- as opposed to just following?