May 29th, 2014
09:14 PM ET

Obama’s leadership is right for today

By Fareed Zakaria

The Obama administration has fought al Qaeda and its allies ferociously. But it has been disciplined about the use of force, and understandably so. An America that exaggerates threats, overreacts to problems and intervenes unilaterally would produce the very damage to its credibility that people are worried about. After all, just six years ago, the United States’ closest allies were distancing themselves from Washington because it was seen as aggressive, expansionist and militaristic. Iran was popular in the Middle East in 2006 because it was seen as standing up to an imperialist America that had invaded and occupied an Arab country. And nothing damaged U.S. credibility in the Cold War more than Vietnam.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Foreign Policy

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. rupert

    Yes, the U.S. invaded an Arab country. But those Middle Eastern id iots will never put 2 and 2 together.
    9/11 = invasion up your alley. So beware, mop heads

    May 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
    • John Smith

      America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
      In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
      During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
      In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
      Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

      May 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        Putin might have a 19th century perception of leadership, while Obama knows that world affairs are getting more complicated and that one can manage an international crisis better, by leading from behind and letting other countries play a part in resolving it, instead of unilaterally playing the role of a global cop. Obama knows that his actions will be judged by history and history has been kind to Dwight Eisenhower. In times of crisis, it doesn't hurt to look back at what other presidents had done in the past and learn from their successes as well as failures.

        May 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
  2. chri§§y

    I think you need to read the article again @ rupert! They are talking about Obama and why his diplomacy is right for this country NOW as opposed to Bush's militaristic ways.

    May 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
  3. George patton

    "Obama's leadership is right for today"? Somehow, I don't quite think so. Did he get us out of Afghanistan? NO! Did he close down Gitmo and stop the insidious torture of political prisoners there? NO! And why is he butting into the turmoil in Ukraine where he has absolutely no business and why do we still have a huge spending deficit? And this Fareed Zakaria says Obama's leadership is right. It may be politically "correct" but is far from being "right"!!!

    May 29, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
    • rupert

      Hi George. Chrissy called u a village idiot.

      May 30, 2014 at 10:50 am |
  4. chri§§y

    Voicing disapproval is not butting in! Sending tanks and soldiers is butting in...and thats what Putin is doing NOT Obama!

    May 29, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
  5. Peter mabas

    To some people good is always bad and bad is always good, now that's the policy of perpetual backward morality.

    May 30, 2014 at 5:40 am |
  6. Matthew Slater

    Fareed you should read the news instead of writing it.
    Obama is a puppet of the deep state. And he's not leading anything and he's financing al qaeda in Africa and many other places

    May 30, 2014 at 6:01 am |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    President Obama is right for this country now, especially because his gentle managemt of his own country's almost unbelievable economic issues. It took a deterioration of USA citizens' thinking almost one hundred years to cause our current catastrophic condition.
    Globally, the USA is maintaining its dignity as well as it can. My country, sadly, resembles a very aged blue-book dowager attempting to conceal her poverty and dementia in a ballroom filled with beautiful, ambitious debutantes.

    May 30, 2014 at 6:08 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Please, whoever you are, will you please quit spewing that nonsense about Obama being a "good" President under my name? You know better than that. Besides, George patton above already said it all.

      May 30, 2014 at 7:41 am |
  8. No Mr.Obama

    No, his leadership is not successful enough. He did not bring peace, stability and prosperity, neither to America nor in his foreign assignments. No more Obama, no more Democrats!

    May 30, 2014 at 7:59 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @ No Mt. Obama:
      You expect many things from one leader. I'll address just one of them: when "prosperity" returns to the USA, it will be brought be the people, not by a president.

      May 30, 2014 at 8:39 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Obama is a wonderful president for this time of crisis.
        Hillary 2016!

        May 30, 2014 at 8:43 am |
  9. chri§§y

    We know @ Joey. Plus the "tool" is having dementia problems. He forgot your name appears in blue, and that you use the copywrite symbol. Plus he cant jack your icon~for those of you that can see them! Not to mention that most of us KNOW that you are pro~Obama!

    May 30, 2014 at 8:40 am |
  10. chri§§y

    But FYI @ Joey...sometimes his dementia isnt present. And during those times he remembers to use his phone to jack you so when he does then your name would be blue! And then~for some of us who CANT see the icons~we have to play close attention to details! Like writing style. Thats why its frustrating during the times YOURE trying to be posting like a troll!!!! Capiche?

    May 30, 2014 at 8:47 am |
  11. chri§§y

    Oops that should read "pay" close not play...and good morning @ Joey lol

    May 30, 2014 at 8:49 am |
  12. chri§§y

    Yea but us "regulars" have a hard time determining its really you when you decide to lower your standards and post in the guttersnipe style that the village idiot uses! Are you catching what im saying now???

    May 30, 2014 at 9:17 am |
  13. chri§§y

    Oh and another FYI...most of the folks that drop by...rupert, stuart, etc... THEY are also the one and only...jacker! Dont believe me? Ask banasy!

    May 30, 2014 at 9:21 am |
  14. chri§§y

    And if you dont believe her then look at their avatar icons.

    May 30, 2014 at 9:23 am |
  15. palintwit

    The next big meteor shower in Alaska will occur in January. Scientists and astronomers from all over the world will be traveling to remote areas of Alaska to observe this phenomena. Sarah Palin plans to attend and she will be easy to spot as she will be the only one with an umbrella.

    May 30, 2014 at 10:20 am |
  16. chri§§y

    Are you saying George is the hijacker now @ rupert? Because thats who i called the village idiot! Of course YOU would know all about that huh? Or you would if YOU were the derpasstroll!

    May 30, 2014 at 11:25 am |
  17. bobcat2u

    An obnoxious drunk stumbles into the front door of a bar and orders a drink, the bartender says,

    "No way, buddy, you're too drunk."

    A few minutes later, the drunk comes in though the bathroom. Again he slurs, "Give me a drink," and the bartender says, "No, man, I told you last time - you're too drunk"

    Five minutes later the guy comes in though the back door and orders a drink, again the bartender says, "You're too drunk"

    The drunk scratches his head and says "Dang, I must be. The last two places said the same thing."

    May 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
  18. FRANCE

    FRANCE leadership for NATO alliance.

    May 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      I fully agree. In fact, if I were the POTUS, I'd turn the leadership over to the French and let them take it from there.

      May 31, 2014 at 8:54 am |
  19. Ghandi

    @ chrissy. So it is written, so it shall be: This too shall pass.
    @bobcat2u. Thank you for a most enlightening moment of humor. I do believe you have just added 5 minutes to my life span. Thank you.

    May 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  20. chri§§y

    Agreed! Let the French be the World Police for a change!!! Of course by doing so, all the elected clowns in DC would be quite critical of Obama AGAIN! I dont know about you, but im damned tired of all their whining and sniviling...he won already...GET OVER IT!

    May 31, 2014 at 10:56 am |
  21. joycz11

    Thanks for your comment about Obama and foreign policy. I like what you said. I am an American professor teaching English in S. Korea. I like your show. June 1, 2014

    June 1, 2014 at 7:20 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      You, as an English professor should know better than to tout the Presidency of Barack Obama and his foreign policies, joycz11. You should be aware of the mess he made out of Afghanistan and Libya, for instance, and now look at how he's handling Ukraine!!!

      June 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
  22. Vinnie from Tewksbury

    Yes, GWB was somewhat of a cowboy. He correctly went into Afghanistan but then questionably backed the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai whose brother was a drug lord. GWB pulled our special forces out of Afghanistan to support the invasion of Iraq. This was a mistake. The job in Afghanistan had not been completed and it drained resources from that fight into a new fight. GWB then proceeded to mess up the peace in Iraq by disbanding the Iraqi army on the pretext that the people of Iraq hated the army. Maybe this was true. However, by disbanding the army he immediately created hundreds of thousands of unemployed young men who then helped in the insurrection against the new government.

    The foreign policy mistakes of GWB helped make the election of Barack Obama possible. In spite of what Fareed is saying here, there is no doubt that a power vacuum now exists and no western power is strong enough to fill this void. Maybe no other power will become strong enough to fill the void in the near future. The next US President will hopefully attempt to reclaim the moral authority of the world’s only superpower. And for anyone that looks to the UN for leadership, forget it.

    If anyone here really believes that Barack Obama is serving the world and the US as a real leader look to the response that the latest foreign policy speech received by the graduating cadets of West Point. The reception to the President’s speech was very muted. The Obama administration is one of the most intolerant administrations that the US has ever had. Dissent to its policies is totally unacceptable. The next US President will inherit a mess left by the Obama people just as the Obama administration inherited a mess left by the Bush people.

    June 2, 2014 at 7:31 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      "Moral authority." @ Vinnie from Tewksbury?
      Too many USA youngsters think that "moral authority" is 1960s Flower Power–with lots of butter.
      President Obama did not inherit a mess from either Bush. Our mess began to develop about a century ago, when a virus invaded our thinking. Even then, our system was weakened by the results of slavery.
      President Obama is leading us toward recovery in a kinder, gentler way.

      June 2, 2014 at 8:23 am |
  23. chri§§y

    Lol how many youngsters have you had such an in depth conversation on what they are thinking about "moral authority?" lol

    June 2, 2014 at 10:20 am |
  24. chri§§y

    Oh and when you ask youngsters ANYTHING i guarantee nothing 1960s comes outta their mouths lol. But thank you for that laugh it was the best one ive had in awhile! Even with the "butter on it"! Lmao

    June 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
  25. Eddie Fonseca

    When we take a stroll in South Dakota and look at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and see our fore fathers we would never imagined that one day we could see an African American President, being carved in the side of Mount Rushmore which could be remember for future American's to remember and be proud of that an African American President shaped our great nation in international policy's and other things as well. Many Americans like myself who has seen the Chris Rock film Head of State, the day has come when we elected an educated African American who dragged America from the greatest economic depression we have seen in years to killing Osama Bin Laden as well. President Barrack Obama yes we can speech to America by uniting all races to come up with solutions to solving America's economic crises, and to make America a positive military role model to the rest of the world to be proud of instead of hatting us from Europe to the Middle East. As Americans we have always been a country which been a beacon of hope that has one simple message anyone can make it in our great nation white, black, American Hispanic or American Jewish and Arab you just have to the way or the will to make in our great country. Can we as Americans see another President like Barrack Obama be elected to the White House to lead our great nation to victory, or will Hillary Clinton become the first woman president to run the White House for years to come.

    April 15, 2015 at 11:00 pm |

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