The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Davos Elites Suddenly Realize U.S. Elected an Isolationist


The global elites who relentlessly cheered and applauded Barack Obama from the moment he appeared on the national stage suddenly realize the leader of the free world and arsenal of democracy is now managed by a quasi-isolationist:

As President Barack Obama starts his second term, the world’s business and political elite pines for greater American engagement to tackle a thicket of security challenges.

From Syria to Mali, from Iran to the South China Sea, the United States’ reluctance to be drawn into conflicts far from its shores was a leitmotiv of geopolitical debate at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

The absence of top Obama administration officials from the annual brainstorming and networking event in the Swiss mountains symbolized to some a perceived pullback from global leadership, even though it was Inauguration Week in Washington.

In the Washington Post this morning, Bob Woodward writes about the philosophy that defense-secretary nominee Chuck Hagel and President Obama share:

So, this thinking goes, the U.S. role in the world must be carefully scaled back — this is not a matter of choice but of facing reality; the military needs to be treated with deep skepticism; lots of strategic military and foreign policy thinking is out of date; and quagmires like Afghanistan should be avoided.

So those who are expecting the U.S. to take a leadership role from Syria to Mali, from Iran to the South China Sea . . . well, it appears that thinking is “out of date.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Chuck Hagel , Davos , Foreign Policy


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