The Olympics in Sochi came to an end last week, and less than a half-day’s drive away, Ukraine is in a state of turmoil, with its leader having fled the capital in the face of protesters demanding reforms. In Venezuela, over a dozen are dead and CNN has been booted from the country in protests against a government that has long stifled democracy and impoverished its own people.
The White House’s reaction hasn’t been much of a reaction at all, at least not publicly. There’s been no real word on Venezuela. The last White House statement on Ukraine comes from Saturday and says little. On Sunday, the White House notes that Obama and Vladimir Putin chatted on the phone about Ukraine. They also spoke about the situation in Syria, where Russia took the quarterback job, where Assad is missing deadlines for handing over his chemical weapons, and where civilians are still killed daily. They also apparently spoke about the P5+1 talks with Iran, where the discussion is not about getting rid of Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities but how to make it less likely to be unpleasant for the West to deal with it.
Now, for the first time in Obama’s presidency, a majority of Americans think he does not command the respect of leaders of other countries.
According to Gallup, a mere 41 percent of Americans think Barack Obama is respected in the world by his fellow leaders. This, a dramatic decline from 2009, when fresh off of his campaign tour through Europe and perplexing receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, some 67 percent of Americans thought Obama was respected around the globe.
It isn’t Republicans driving this decline. The proportion of Democrats who think that the world does not respect Obama has doubled in just the last year, and nearly six out of ten independents concur. This also comes a few months after Gallup first found voters saying they no longer view Obama as a “strong and decisive leader.”
If he’s not considered a strong leader here, why would our allies (or enemies) think he is?
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