Why the World Hates Obama

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


It’s a good thing that Obama isn’t running on his foreign policy record, because it’s every bit as bad as his economic record. The Obama 2012 website only lists National Security as an issue. That is already a backhanded admission that the only thing he can run on is Bin Laden.

No U.S. president since John F. Kennedy has come to office with more global goodwill than Mr. Obama; no U.S. president since Jimmy Carter has been so widely rebuked.

So writes Bret Stephens and lists some of the highlights of the rolling disaster.

His failed personal effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. His failed personal effort to negotiate a climate-change deal at Copenhagen in 2009. His failed efforts to strike a nuclear deal with Iran that year and this year. His failed effort to improve America’s public standing in the Muslim world with the now-forgotten Cairo speech. His failed reset with Russia. His failed effort to strong-arm Israel into a permanent settlement freeze. His failed (if half-hearted) effort to maintain a residual U.S. military force in Iraq. His failed efforts to cut deals with the Taliban and reach out to North Korea. His failed effort to win over China and Russia for even a symbolic U.N. condemnation of Syria’s Bashar Assad. His failed efforts to intercede in Europe’s economic crisis. (“Herr Obama should above all deal with the reduction of the American deficit” was the free advice German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble offered this year.)

In June, the Pew Research Center released one of its periodic surveys of global opinion. It found that since 2009, favorable attitudes toward the U.S. had slipped nearly everywhere in the world except Russia and, go figure, Japan. George W. Bush was more popular in Egypt in the last year of his presidency than Mr. Obama is today.

The big glaring problem with Obama’s approach is that he has gone in assuming that his anti-colonial resentments, so aptly documented by Dinesh D’Souza, will give him something in common with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Putin. This was his mistake.

Obama’s hostility to American power may make the Swedish Nobel committee love him, but it only earns him contempt from enemies and allies. Like most of the left, Obama is unable to distinguish between realpolitik and ideology. He is unable to understand that being on the left does not mean he has something in common with Islamists and Communists. It means he is their useful idiot.

Strong nations or nations wishing to be strong don’t respect appeasement from their enemies, they despise it. Americans may see Obama as a foreigner, but foreigners see him as an American. Americans may see him as a Muslim, but Muslims see him as an apostate. Obama’s soft power has won him no respect, because the countries whose respect he wants to win with soft power, despise soft power.

Obama’s global failure is emblematic of the foreign policy failures of the left. The American left sees the world in terms of American politics. They think that the reason that other countries hate us is because we are on the right, rather than on the left. But other countries see us in terms of their politics. They don’t react to what we do, they react to what they want.

Our soft power has fed their perceptions of their own strength. The more that Obama appeases Iran, the stronger Iran thinks it is and the more likely it is to get into a conflict with the United States because of that false perception of strength.

This is a basic lesson that the left never learns.

  • Robbins Mitchell

    Success has a thousand fathers…but failure is a bastard child….like Obama/Soetoro

  • American Eagle

    " He is unable to understand that being on the left does not mean he has something in common with Islamists and Communists. It means he is their useful idiot."

    1) He IS "Islamists and Communists" — and the most successful one at that when it comes to destruction of america.
    2) He is not a "useful idiot." He is the one who uses idiots.
    3) Obama may be not 'very popular' in the world today, but Totalitarian nuts such as he are not in it for popularity. They are in it for power. Also, putin is even less popular than is obama in russia, and Ahmedinejad is even less popular than Obama is in Iran. Popular sentiments means nothing. Reducing america's power is a stepstone to obama's *global* leftist ambitions. Again, he is the most successful leftist ever to have worked towards that goal. Every single one of his foreign policy 'debacles' listed above have been precisely calculated ploys to increase the power of global leftist cabal (of which he fancies himself the leader).
    4) The only interesting speculation about the world left is: How are they planning to take out their Islamist allies after they have the world by its neck?
    5) The only interesting speculation about Obama is: Is he more of a Leftist or an Islamist? SO. Is he working for an Islamist global domination or a Leftist global domination? I wouldn't be surprised by either answer.

  • A. Keen Observer

    Obama has been fed a pack of lies about himself from others more powerful during his entire life. Unfortunately for him, he has believed them. Now he has to face the reality that the rest of the world either hates him, sees him as an incompetent idiot or as an imperialist dictator who wants to rule the world or as merely a contemptable black man playing at grandiosity. Whatever the world sees him as, it does not fit with his own grossly distorted self-image. I think that when he loses the election and he realizes just how glad people are that he is out of office, he may commit suicide. He will certainly be friendless.

  • El Duchy

    I agree with most of this post but no one should ever negotiate with the despicable, woman-children-hating Taliban. There should only be one message – all Taliban 'leaders' will be hunted down and killed by drones. These creeps are quite happy to send the young and innocent to their 'suicide bomb' deaths, but 'ala' Osama, they know that there are no 72 virgins waitng and they do not relish death – they are cowards.

  • 4Dees

    And you are a typical leftwing nut…………..you only name call and yet have no facts to present for your case of name calling.

  • alanstorm

    That's about the level of argument I expect from Obama supporters.

  • JimK

    The interesting parallel between Jimmah and the Won is Iran and Egypt. Both of their re-actions to people and events in these countries led to Islamists winding up in control of the state. No more, please.

  • Manfred Westphal

    If Germans can direcktly vote for the President:

    86 % will vote for Obama

    • ccoffer

      Pretty sure they'd go for David Hasselhoff.