Obama’s foreign-policy approval rating on the decline?

posted at 2:01 pm on September 19, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

On Tuesday, as the general assembly of that highly effective, morally righteous, and venerable body known as the United Nation convened to begin a new session, a State Department official took to the floor to describe how four years of President Obama’s leadership have strengthened America’s position in the eyes of the world. CNS News reports:

America today is “more respected, more engaged and more secure” than it was when President Obama came to office in early 2009, Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer told an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. …

“At that time [January 2009], the United States faced serious questions about the future of our global engagement. We were deeply committed to two long and expensive wars, which hurt our ability to achieve other national goals and strained the fabric of global cooperation,” Brimmer said. …

“Since 2009, we’ve ended the war in Iraq, and U.S. troops in Afghanistan will draw down by 2014. In turning the page on a decade of war, the United States has expanded our pursuit of a smarter, more comprehensive engagement with the world, to better meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. …

Er, if you say so, but one of President Obama’s specific foreign-policy promises was to “reboot” America’s image in the Muslim world, but by at least one measure, America’s favorability in the Middle East is now a good deal lower than it was during President Bush’s time in office. And as for ending our two wars, it looks like President Obama’s [running-for-the-]exit strategy might not be going too well.

Whatever an executive branch official might say to the (wise, far-reaching, not-at-all corrupt) U.N., it seems that a week of chaos in the Middle East, highlighting the administration’s willingness to go wishy-washy on our First Amendment values and on security concerns at our embassies abroad, Americans are giving the results of Obama’s foreign policy a slightly more critical look than just the death of Osama bin Laden we heard so much about at the Democrats’ convention. According to a new WSJ/NBC poll:

The survey of 900 registered voters… found that 49% approved of Mr. Obama’s job performance on foreign affairs while 46% disapproved. That’s a 5 percentage point drop from the month before, and a 6 point rise in disapproval. The approval number stood at 49%, the first time it fell below 50% since April 2011, just before the president announced the death of Osama bin Laden.

The poll was conducted Sept. 12-16, and protesters first stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11.

The Obama administration’s handling of the Arab Spring may be coming back to bite them, in more than one way, and at a less-than-opportune moment.

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