Presidents don’t say “oops” very often, and President Obama certainly isn’t doing it. But his recent steps in the Middle East, the Far East and now Europe suggest that even the White House has finally figured out that the world isn’t fixing itself and that American engagement and even leadership remains essential for prosperity and peace. The New York Times:
In meeting in Germany on Sunday with Chancellor Angela Merkel and on Monday with Ms. Merkel, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President François Hollande of France and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, Mr. Obama intends to press his European counterparts on a number of issues, aides said.
They include a new trans-Atlantic trade pact, the need for better intelligence sharing within Europe about the terrorism threat, holding firm against President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and trying to find a solution to the civil war in Syria.
He is scheduled to give a speech Monday in Germany taking stock of Europe’s challenges.
It’s not clear how much a lame duck President can do, and the signs are that as the GOP rips itself to pieces and the clock runs down on the Obama era, foreigners are listening more to Camp Clinton. There, they are also hearing a message that the United States needs to re-engage with key allies.
Still, any leadership from President Obama is welcome—and the more he says about the need for U.S. engagement the easier it will be for the next President, whoever it is, to make the case to the American people that pivoting back to the world is ultimately the cheapest, easiest thing to do—and that it reduces rather than increases the chance of war.