The Economist: Obama's Reluctance to Use Force Eroding America's Superpower Status

The Economist: Obama's Reluctance to Use Force Eroding America's Superpower Status

From The Economist:

“Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force?” America’s cerebral president betrayed a rare flash of frustration on April 28th when dealing with a question in Asia about his country’s “weakness”. Barack Obama said his administration was making steady, if unspectacular, progress. By blundering into wars, his critics would only harm America.

Mr Obama was channelling the mood of his people, worn out by the blood and treasure squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. A survey last autumn by the Pew Research Centre suggests that 52% want the United States to “mind its own business internationally”, the highest figure in five decades of polling. But when America’s president speaks of due caution, the world hears reluctance — especially when it comes to the most basic issue for any superpower, its willingness to fight.

For America’s most exposed allies that is now in doubt. For decades, America’s security guarantee used to underpin Japan’s foreign policy; now, on his Asian tour, Mr Obama has had to reassure Japan that it can count on America if China seizes the disputed Senkaku islands (which China calls the Diaoyus).

Read the rest of the story at The Economist.

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