Obama the isolationist


After days of hesitation, the United States finally seems poised to intervene militarily following Syria's use of chemical weapons against its own people. But until then, faced with the enduring crises in Syria and Egypt, the White House had sometimes given the impression that the entire administration was on its summer holiday. More generally, during the first five years of his presidency Barack Obama has shown indecision and muddle in his handling of international issues. To the point, argues Thomas Cantaloube, that the United States is in danger of slipping towards insignificance on the world stage.


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On Wednesday August 14th, just hours after the Egyptian security forces had begun their bloody crackdown against the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, President Barack Obama made a short televised intervention from his holiday retreat, then returned to his game of golf. The symbolism was almost overwhelming; the United States is on holiday, please don't disturb it, in any case not for a few hundred deaths at the hands of one of its most faithful allies in recent decades.