The Obama-Biden foreign policy agenda has ushered in a new world order devoid of American strength and leadership.
By Shawn Fleetwood | The Federalist
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”
It would make sense if this were a quote from Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump. Both Republican leaders presided over historic foreign policy victories during their respective presidencies and understood the importance of American leadership on the world stage. But coming from the mouth of former President Barack Obama, the proclamation holds no weight.
Throughout his eight years in the Oval Office, Obama conducted what is arguably the most incompetent, anti-American foreign policy of any U.S. president in the modern era. Combining the worst elements of radical leftism and ignorance, Obama routinely downplayed American exceptionalism on the world stage, all the while alienating key allies and empowering the West’s greatest enemies. The often cited “leading from behind” quote from an Obama White House official isn’t just a perfect summation of how the 44th president tackled Libya or Iran or Arab Spring, but foreign policy writ large.
Now, after having served two terms as Obama’s second-in-command, President Joe Biden is attempting to replicate his former boss’s “America Last” approach to world affairs.
In less than three years, Biden has crippled American strength and credibility across the globe. U.S. adversaries such as China and Russia no longer fear the “big stick” America once carried. Instead, they’ve become increasingly aggressive and emboldened to act upon long-sought-after geopolitical objectives. One only needs to take a quick glance at the Indo-Pacific or Eastern Europe to see how unstable the world has become in the years Biden’s been president.
Contrary to industry “experts,” the Obama-Biden foreign policy agenda has ushered in a new world order devoid of American strength and leadership. It’s a legacy of failure and one that deserves further scrutiny if the United States has any interest in remaining a global hegemon.
Representing What You Hate
Fully understanding the Obama-Biden approach to foreign affairs requires answering a fundamental question. That is: How can someone represent America on the world stage when he hates America and the values upon which it was founded?
For Obama, the urge to downplay American greatness began well before he was sworn in as commander-in-chief. While giving a speech in Berlin as a presidential candidate in 2008, the Illinois Democrat opined that America has “not perfected itself” and “struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of [its] people.” Those remarks came minutes after the then-senator likened the U.S. and China’s roles in contributing to so-called “climate change.”
But Obama’s Berlin speech was just a preview of what was to come once he became president. In the months following his January 2009 inauguration, Obama embarked on a global “apology tour,” in which he all but got down on his knees and begged foreign powers to forgive the U.S. for what he alleged was decades of negligence and untrustworthiness. From France and England to the Czech Republic and Latin America, the 44th president repeatedly lambasted the very country whose people elected him to the highest office.
The more revealing comments, however, came when Obama was asked if he believed in “American exceptionalism.” Rather than highlight the uniqueness of America and its role as a beacon of freedom throughout the world, Obama once again claimed that believing the U.S. was special was merely a subjective outlook. “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism,” he said.
At the time, one could argue Obama was trying to play diplomat to avoid angering allies he would need in confronting future global issues. But given his willingness to express open disdain for the U.S., its people, and its founding principles in the years since, it’s clear that Obama’s remarks were expressive of how he actually felt about his country. After all, why act like America’s the greatest nation in the world if you never believed it was great to begin with?
This anti-America attitude isn’t exclusive to Obama, however. Throughout his half-century in Washington, Biden has similarly degraded American greatness in his capacity as a U.S. official and political candidate.
During a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School in October 2014, for example, the then-vice president professed that “[t]here is nothing special about being American,” and claimed that nobody in the audience could “define … what an American is.” In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Biden said during a podcast discussion on slavery and Black Lives Matter that America is an “idea” that “we’ve never lived up to.”
For both Democrat presidents, the compulsive desire to tarnish the freest and most tolerant nation ever to grace the planet stems not from ignorance, but from Marxist orthodoxy. The Judeo-Christian principles upon which the U.S. was founded run contrary to this left-wing pagan religion, which demands that Western concepts such as God-given rights and republicanism be sacrificed in the name of centralized power in the hands of a few. Therefore, accumulating political power and leaving a lasting legacy become the ultimate priorities — not the well-being of the citizenry.
Anti-Western Beliefs + Incompetence = Foreign Policy Disasters
But Obama and Biden aren’t just anti-Western leftists seeking to make names for themselves in the history books. They’re also extremely ignorant about foreign policy, as their respective approaches to Israel and Iran have shown.
Without question, Obama and Biden have been the most anti-Israel presidents since the Middle Eastern country was recognized in 1948. Both have regularly catered to the genocidal regime in Tehran at Israel’s expense, often putting the latter’s concerns on the back burner and abandoning its leadership during moments of need.
During the Obama years, it became obvious that the administration sought to make Iran — not Israel — the center point of its Middle East foreign policy. When he wasn’t shipping pallets of cash to Tehran, Obama and his team were attempting to formulate a flawed agreement that sought to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — temporarily. Even after the deal’s implementation, Obama tried to skirt U.S. sanctions on Iran and give the largest state sponsor of terrorism access to America’s financial system.
These policies also coincided with Obama’s regular acts of disrespect toward Israel, including his failure to recognize Jerusalem as the nation’s capital, interference in the country’s 2015 elections, and allowance of a 2016 anti-Israel United Nations resolution to pass without U.S. objection.
In light of Obama’s (anti-)Israel policy, it’s worth mentioning that the former president regularly surrounded himself with and embraced notable antisemites for decades. Dating back to his days as a “community activist” in Chicago, those closest to him have made credible allegations that Obama refused to disavow antisemitism and black nationalism. The former president’s more recent indulgence of “both sides-ism” regarding Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel has also turned many heads.
Meanwhile, America’s Israel-Iran policy is just as bad under Biden as it was under Obama. Not long after taking office, Biden and his team of anti-Israel Obama holdovers set out to revive the Iran nuclear deal, which the U.S. withdrew from under Trump. In their attempts to get Tehran to the negotiating table, the Biden administration waived numerous sanctions on Iranian entities, some of which are involved in the country’s “military missile programs.” The administration has also “open[ed] up billions to Iran,” sent “Hamas and Fatah hundreds of millions of dollars,” and is actively undercutting Israel’s ability to defend itself from Hamas.
The belief held by Obama and Biden that Iran — a nation whose government chants “Death to America!” — can be bribed into abandoning its ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons is a display of sheer stupidity. Tehran is spearheaded by Islamic terrorists hellbent on destroying Israel and the West. Playing footsie with an adversary of that nature at Israel’s expense is a fool’s errand and moronic.
But Obama and Biden’s policies toward Israel and Iran are but a microcosm of the failures accompanying their foreign policy agenda. In the Indo-Pacific, both Democrat presidents have been wholly incompetent at countering the rising threat of communist China.
Despite announcing a “pivot to Asia” strategy near the end of his first term, the Obama administration was unable to deter China from further expanding its military capabilities and aggressively fomenting territorial disputes with neighboring countries. In December of 2013, for example, Beijing began building and militarizing manmade islands in the South China Sea, the latter of which the Chinese government stakes territorial claims over to this day.
While the Trump administration led the way in recognizing and countering the China threat, Biden and his administration have regularly downplayed the harm Beijing poses to regional security and the U.S.-led world order. During the 2020 Democrat presidential primary cycle, Biden poured cold water on the idea that China is “going to eat our lunch,” and further claimed that “[t]hey’re not bad folks” and are “not competition for us.” Since taking office two years ago, he and his top officials have also regularly said they are not trying to “contain” China.
Coupled with Biden’s declining mental faculties, this lackadaisical attitude has prompted acts of Chinese aggression toward U.S. assets in the region and neighboring nations such as Taiwan and the Philippines.
The World Pays the Consequences
When it becomes obvious that American leaders don’t value the fundamental principles that built their country and are feckless at crafting a coherent U.S. foreign policy, the world responds in kind.
Under Biden, China is threatening Taiwan now more than ever, Russia’s invaded Ukraine, Hamas has orchestrated horrific attacks against Israel, U.S. embassies are being evacuated throughout the world, American troops are under attack from Iranian-backed proxies in Syria and Iraq, and North Korea is firing missiles left and right. To make matters worse, some of these adversarial powers are allying together to usher in a new “multipolar world order.”
The many examples of Obama-Biden international screw-ups are too many to detail in one article. Nonetheless, the point remains: The world is a much more dangerous place under this kind of inept U.S. foreign policy.
By abandoning the belief in American exceptionalism and projecting weakness on the world stage, Obama and Biden have opened the door for adversarial powers to reset the geopolitical chessboard. Coupled with the internal decay wrought by leftist policies, America’s role in leading a dying liberal world order is waning while its biggest enemies rise.
Obama was right when he said that America “must always lead on the world stage.” If only he and Biden actually bothered to do it.