Obama: I'm Not That Powerful
President Obama is increasingly seeking to explain his foreign policy failures by saying he's not powerful enough to influence foreign events, according to the New York Times.
“People have forgotten that America, as the most powerful country on earth, still does not control everything around the world," Obama recently said, according to the report, by reporter Peter Baker.
Baker notes presidents have been reluctant to puncture the perception of their near-omnipotent power because "perception itself can be a form of power."
The story continues:
“At least since World War II, presidents have been unwilling to discuss deficiencies in capability because they’re expected to do everything, and they like that sense of omnipotence,” said Jeremy Shapiro, a former Obama State Department official now at the Brookings Institution. “Obama has been trying to change that in the last year because he senses that the requirements of omnipotence have gotten so far out of whack with what he can actually accomplish that he needs to change the expectations.”
However, in the story a number of experts are quoted noting specific circumstances in which Obama's inaction made foreign crises worse.
Obama recently exploded in a closed-door meeting with a bipartisan group of senators, telling Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) that his criticisms about how Obama could have handled the situation in Syria better were "horseshit."