Leadership

Daniel Henninger has an interesting article at the WSJ on post-Obama anti-terrorism.  He identifies the lack of Western unity now that there was during the Cold War and, in particular, the lack of leadership during the Obama era:

… [T]he holder of the office Mr. Obama occupies now was called “the leader of the free world.” As he departs office, President Obama is the leader of . . . what?

We think it is simple: Obama is not a leader.  Then he connects it to the current presidential race:

Imagine Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich [we are not sure why Henninger includes Kasich and excludes The Bernie.  We would go the other way.] or Hillary Clinton persuading these [Europe and elsewhere] national leaders to follow the U.S.’s lead. Which one of these four are they likely to believe and follow? This is one vote the U.S. electorate had better get right.

We don’t see it that way for three reasons.  First, it is possible that one more feckless foreign policy president may do us all in but it is just possible.  We are close to surviving Obama’s second term.  Another term of fecklessness might arouse the electorate.  Second, leaders need help.  Reagan would not have been Reagan without help from Poland, the Vatican, and elsewhere.  Perhaps the recent events in Europe will provide the help.  Third, the electorate has a real challenge to vote based on foreign policy.  Reagan, the candidate with the most connection to foreign policy, was not a shoo-in on that basis.  It was his good fortune to run against Jimmy Carter.  Obama was reelected, in part, on his alleged foreign policy successes.

The electorate has a good idea of a candidate’s intentions on domestic policy but knows little about foreign policy because that is where the unexpected happens.  We don’t know which of the five currently under consideration will find their inner W and effectively lead the war.  Some President soon needs to lead the war against Radical Islam but that person needs to find support in the US and Europe as part of leadership.  We hope the one elected this year can do it but we are unconvinced that any of the candidates have it in them.  We did not know that about W when he was elected so we think it will happen soon and perhaps this year.

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