It’s working with our allies as well as can be expected. The political equation has changed, the geopolitical strategic considerations, not so much. Germany still has no stomach for confronting Russia, France still goes France’s way, the UK still follows our lead, mostly. But the Germans don’t hate us anymore, the French people got scolded about reflexive anti-Americanism and they took it—because of whom it came from. Most importantly, Obama makes it possible for our allies to agree with us when we’re right. Bush did just the opposite.
Look, I don’t work for the guy. I think it’s unlikely that Obama is The Christ. I’m sure that liberals of a certain melancholic type are going to be very disappointed in Obama’s foreign policy. Some of us are foolish enough to deny the power of power, and we despise American power when it is used, because it reminds us of its reality. I’m like that myself. I want to live in a house without pests but I can’t kill a fly.
I think Obama will use our power wisely. He talks to us like we’re adults; he’s earned my trust.
That’s what a leader does. He gets the benefit of the doubt, until the doubts outweigh any foreseeable benefit. Bush failed as a leader because he was weak, despite all his bluster and ignorant confidence. He wrecked our brand, shed followers in droves, and made enemies everywhere. The only place he lead us was to defeat.
You can’t fire the team, you fire the coach. Bush was the terrible coach of a confused, frightened team. Obama is the excellent rookie coach of a hopeful, increasingly confident team. He gets credit for that, even if it’s luck, because that’s his job description. He rebranded America and helped us regain our confidence, he changed the tone and the mood just enough that we could begin to turn things around.
The conservatives will pick fights and marinate in their resentment, the far left will whine with disappointment, some will scream betrayal, but the big, broad, practical middle will applaud this big, broad, practical man. And they’ll re-elect him in 2012 by ten points.