By Fareed Zakaria
One of the least controversial judgments about Barack Obama’s first term is that he has been a good foreign policy President. Certainly that’s what the American public believes. It has given him high marks on overseas affairs for much of his presidency, especially after the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden. In the final presidential debate, Mitt Romney, who had relentlessly attacked Obama in their two previous matchups, decided that the wisest course was to agree with the President on virtually every foreign policy issue.
But what has been the character of Obama’s foreign policy? Most Presidents gain fame and respect in this realm because of some large-scale project. Franklin Roosevelt led the U.S. to victory in World War II, Harry Truman organized the Marshall Plan and NATO treaty, and Richard Nixon opened the door to Communist China. While Obama has accomplishments to his credit, the signature trait that has helped him steer the country well—and receive credit for it—is what he has not done.