“Leading from behind” was a phrase popularized by Larry Niven, the storied scifi writer, in his "Known Space" series when he invented the Puppeteers, a species of cowards whose leader did just that. That "leader" was called the "Hindmost".
There's something to be said for leading from behind, but only when you're devastatingly intelligent and sophisticated in the ways of sentient creatures -- as the Puppeteers were and as Barack Obama and his apparatchiks decidedly are not. "Leading from behind" when you're naive and gullible tends to get a collar placed around your neck, and by extension ours.
Obama recently said Iran could be “a very successful regional power” that is “abiding by international norms and rules.”
Iran now controls Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. Jordan(strong popular support for Hezbollah) and Saudi Arabia (400,000 Shia minority) and Western Afghanistan are within reach. Quds force has a significant presence in Venezuela.
It looks to me like Iran is already doing pretty well as a regional power and sees advantage in adjusting "international norms and rules"to suit its own ends. It's neighbors are on notice that Tehran is making the rules.
The same is true of Russia (Ukraine and the Baltics and Moldava) and China (East and South China Seas). The Poles know; the Philipinos know; the Vietnamese know; the Japanese know.
If you were plotting strategy for any of these three over the next two years, would you see a once in a life time opportunity to just take what you want? Fait accompli. Don't like it? Tough.
The idea of your friends standing by you in a confrontation is that you can trust that they've got your back. America has often had to stand alone, but when we told someone we had their back, they could count on us.
Obama and his administration have too often failed to follow through and the lack of trust emboldens ISIS and others who would do us harm. Does Poland or Israel believe in us like they once did?
The habitual drawing of red lines in the sand and then retreating has undermined what we once were. No longer do countries line up behind us. Our closest allies have moved away from us. France, Great Britain and really Europe have taken to viewing us with the broad skepticism that we deserve.
Gone are the days when we need not ask if our allies were with us, we knew they were. We were entrusted to safeguard them and ourselves from tyranny, injustice and terrorism. We are not a better country for abandoning our long-held principles and it is likely to deteriorate further.
Let's get real. People like Putin and ISIS bunch are warriors with dreams of an empire, while Obama is a naive pacifist. Throughout history there have been wars. Indeed, war can be said to be the one constant in history and common to all of them have been the Putins and Obamas, those that led and those that followed with many who cowered.
A few months ago I was browsing the history section in Barnes & Noble to see what is new, and I came across a new version of the Hundred Years War that spanned 1337-1453 and helped make England. I was reminded how many other periods of such wars there have been in history. The Thirty Years War that culminated with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and the creation of the modern nation state. The World Wars between 1914 and 1945 that actually trace their roots to the previous century. And many others.
So what changed between then and now? A thought crossed my mind. Although the wars that plagued Europe for so many centuries came to an end with WWII and the creation of the European Community, that all was possible under the auspices and defense umbrella of the United States.
Yes, the U.S. has been the stabilizing factor the last 70 years.
After WWII the U.S. was considered the policeman of world. Today there is no longer a policeman on the beat. Not even a forceful headmaster that commands authority and respect.
People should therefore not be surprised that bad things are happening.
That the U.S. has been the policeman of the world has not been for naught. That included a tense but relative peace in the Middle East that started with the French and English as policemen during the first half of the last century, with the baton passed to the US at mid-century. Indeed, the overthrow of Saddam in Iraq was just a continuation of that role.
But that all has now changed again. With the arrival of Barack Obama the U.S. has relinquished its role. With that the Putins are returning in full force. But not just the Putins, also the many groups that now feel released and free to roam their worlds like ISIS in Syria and now Iraq, the separatists in Ukraine, and only God knows who and where next.
You see, there is no longer a policeman on the beat. Not even a forceful headmaster that commands authority and respect.
Progressives like President Obama have long resented America's international leadership and military power. In their fevered minds it is imperialistic, not to mention it siphons taxpayer money from their domestic vote buying projects.
A strong United States basically opposes Progressive soul mates all around the world--real and wannabe tyrants from Communists to jihadis. Even a U.S. military hampered by namby pamby politicians (who want foreigners to like us more than they want to win) is a powerful force for keeping the bad guys in check.
If Obama has proven anything it's that a weakened America spawns a more dangerous, thug-filled world. But, Progressives can't see the downside of this. Their tunnel vision is focused on establishing a domestic tyranny.