Sarkozy Is Right: Obama’s Not a Leader
When a leader is elected by the people, it means the people has entrust their hopes and dreams to him as a leader. Leading means running fast enough to keep ahead of your people. About a century and a half ago Abraham Lincoln ended Slavery, now in 21st century Barack Hussein Obama initiates Slavery (i.e., leads from behind). [DID]
I don’t share Nicolas Sarkozy’s enthusiasm for a Western military intervention in Syria, but his broad assessment of Barack Obama lack of leadership ability is spot on. As The Telegraph’s Henry Samuel has reported, the former French president has been scathing about Obama’s handling of the Syria crisis according to a key adviser. The aide is quoted as saying that Sarkozy “remains very skeptical about the method followed by Barack Obama ‘who is not a leader but a follower.’”
This is of course not the first time Sarkozy has made disparaging remarks about the US president. When he was in the Elysee Office, Sarkozy made it clear that he saw Obama as someone who lacked political experience and was suffering from delusions of grandeur. During a lunch for French legislators in April 2009, Sarkozy was damning about a number of European leaders, and had especially harsh words for the recently elected Barack Obama, in remarks reported by Liberation,L’Express and a number of French news outlets.
As The New York Times noted at the time:
In the world according to Sarko, President Obama is weak, inexperienced and badly briefed on climate change … Mr. Obama, according to Mr. Sarkozy, “has a subtle mind, very intelligent and very charismatic. But he was elected two months ago and never ran a ministry in his life. He doesn’t have a position on a number of things.” Mr. Obama “is not always operating at a level of decision-making and efficiency,” according to the voluble Mr. Sarkozy.
… In the magazine L’Express, Mr. Sarkozy was quoted as joking about Mr. Obama’s sanctified image. Pressed by Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Obama agreed to visit France in June for the anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
“I am going to ask him to walk on the Channel, and he’ll do it,” Mr. Sarkozy reportedly said.
The White House will claim that President Obama is leading the world during the Syria crisis, but the reality is of course very different. For the past two and a half years, Barack Obama has barely lifted a finger over the crisis in Syria, and after one hundred thousand deaths, and the exodus of two million refugees, the US president is finally urging action, largely as a face-saving exercise after unwisely laying down a red line in a press conference last year. Until recently, he has been content to leave the leadership over Syria to a ruthless Russia and a feckless United Nations. And now that Washington is trying to get back in the saddle, Obama is struggling to assert authority both at home and abroad. His international military coalition building efforts have been a flop, with only Francois Hollande signing on, and at home he is staring defeat in the face on Capitol Hill, with Members of Congress increasingly sceptical over the Administration’s case for war.
In large part, Obama is struggling on the Syria front because he is instinctively, as Sarkozy claims, a follower and not a leader, on the world stage. Any president whose advisers think that a strategy of “leading from behind” is a winner is going to struggle to gain the respect of both friends and foes alike.
The Obama doctrine is really an empty shell, one predicated on American weakness rather than strength. What we have seen over the past four and a half years since Obama took office is the decline of the American superpower, with no clear US leadership in the Middle East, a willingness to kowtow to strategic adversaries, the scaling down of America’s defenses, and the downgrading of key partnerships, including the Special Relationship. It is little wonder that only one member of the NATO alliance is willing to follow President Obama into Syria, when there is so little faith in his ability to lead. Nicolas Sarkozy’s words ring true today, just as they did four years ago. Barack Obama’s inability to lead, his lack of experience, his indifference towards US allies, and his ill-judged narcissism, are all conspiring against the president over Syria.
Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator. A former aide to Margaret Thatcher, Gardiner has served as a foreign policy adviser to two US presidential campaigns.
September 06, 2013
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