The world must be more tranquil than it appears to be on television to afford the commander-in-chief the luxury of exiting the world stage, which this week is located in New York, for the ruder rigors of the campaign trail.
To the untrained eye it seems quite the opposite, what with anti-American mobs raging for the better part of two weeks throughout the Muslim world, deadly terrorist attacks on American diplomats in Libya and American soldiers in Afghanistan, the bloody Syrian civil war, increasing sectarian strife in Iraq, the Eurozone crisis that occasioned riots in Spain this week, and various other worrying developments.
Meetings between the president and various heads of state would not instantly ameliorate any of these problems. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who’s been designated as a sort of acting chief executive this week, will, I’m sure, manage the responsibility competently.
But when a president who is battling perceptions that America’s world leadership has been timid and uncertain lately, and who’s been credibly criticized for failing to develop the close relationships with foreign leaders that are useful for anticipating and shaping world events, gives foreign leaders the impression that he prefers Whoopi Goldberg’s company to theirs, he hardly increases his influence with them.