When war—as our bombing campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen should be called—becomes anonymous, un-measurable in its outcome, and relatively risk-free in human cost on our end, it’s unsurprising that the Pakistanis and Yemenis we ostensibly don’t want to radicalize are angered by our targeting campaign.
After all, there’s no illusion that America was beloved in Pakistan in 2008. But it’s telling that despite the pomp and circumstance surrounding Obama’s reconfiguring relations, our approval rating hasn’t even held steady, but plummeted because of an over-reliance on the drone campaign. Obama’s dithering has sent more than 120,000 Syrian refugees into Jordan, intensifying Jordan’s chronic water shortage and state fiscal crisis, as well as raising fears that Assad loyalists are infiltrating the Hashemite Kingdom. Like Americans who bought into “change you can believe in,” audiences abroad are frustrated by Obama’s habit of overpromising in rhetoric. When Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize, he gave lip service to multilateral institutions, when in reality America’s foreign policy will not ever be subjugated to the whims of flawed international organizations.
The world has wised up to the harsh reality of Obama’s leadership. The Nobel laureate is all words and no deeds, save anonymous strikes. And where the Muslim world senses weakness, Europe sees decline. According to the Pew poll, the rest of the world increasingly shares agreement that China is the leading economic superpower.