Tensions between China and Japan escalated on Wednesday when the Philippine government endorsed Tokyo’s assertive military posture in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing has laid claim to a variety of disputed islands. Elsewhere, Iran and Syria violated Iraq’s airspace as ISIS fighters seized oil fields and attacked airbases. In Europe, a Ukrainian helicopter was shot down by pro-Russian militants, shattering a brief ceasefire and prompting a worsening refugee crisis.
The fragile post-Cold War global order is rapidly collapsing, threatening to draw the world’s last remaining superpower into a number of expanding conflicts. Fortunately, the President of the United States is on the job.
En route to Minnesota on Thursday for a campaign-style rally, Barack Obama took the time to brief ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on the state of America’s global diplomatic offensive. In that exclusive interview aboard Air Force One, the president confirmed that the presidency is an obligation that does not stop for politics…
— GeorgeStephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) June 26, 2014
Okay, maybe not.
“We had elements — which I won’t detail — of our foreign policy that have been shaped around the World Cup,” Obama revealed. “Phone calls meetings initiatives we had to think about.”
The president went on to share his thoughts on the Cup and how the American team was faring. “The U.S. exceeded expectations,” the president said.
“We’re not Germany yet or Italy or France or Argentina or Brazil,” he said. “But we’re now in the mix.”
Well, that’s comforting. Some have suggested that that the president was merely joking, but ABC did not report his statements as jokes. Nor was the president talking about himself, it would seem, but a variety of unnamed world leaders who may have been sidetracked by the global sporting event.
Even if he wasn’t referring to himself and his own interest in watching the World Cup rather than attending to America’s interests overseas, at least his hand was not long off the tiller.
When Obama touched down and the games were over, surely Obama got right back to the hard work of statecraft…
“Peggy and Joan…I’m always rooting for them.” —Obama on how the issues these Mad Men characters face remind him of his grandmother #EqualPay
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 26, 2014
Oh, forget it.