His blend of tactics has subjected him to withering criticism from Republicans in Congress, but his tactical caution, so far, has left the US hovering just out of range of a series of potentially dangerous confrontations.
Peanut gallery criticism, which is what most of us offer, including at the moment Hillary Clinton, is disingenuous and counter-productive. It also sends a bad signal to the world that we don't know what we are doing, which is not true.
Thomas Friedman and Jeffrey Goldberg, two well-respected and widely read foreign policy journalists, struck a goldmine over the weekend when the two veterans landed exclusive, one-on-one interviews with America's two most famous politicians.
Following the authorization to provide humanitarian aid and bomb specific ISIS artillery in Iraq, the White House announced that President Obama will be making no further foreign policy-related decisions for the rest of his time in office.
Ukraine. Gaza. Syria. Yemen. Pakistan. If it feels like the United States is always at war somewhere, that's because it is. Not just Iraq and Afghanistan - the two wars we all know about. Why? The official line varies.
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's extended interview with President Obama shed some light on how Obama can be well-informed, thoughtful, prudent -- yet still be seen as faltering as a foreign policy president. If you compare Obama with George W. Bush (okay -- a low bar), Obama wins, hands down. Unlike Bush, Obama inhabits the reality-based foreign policy space, with no apologies. Unlike Bush, he has no messianic zealots among his advisers. He gives the kind of well-considered responses that suggest a president who carefully engages with truly difficult policy conundrums. Yet at the end of the day, he often comes across as vacillating and indecisive -- an impression that can be fatal in his dealings with allies, adversaries, and of course electorates.
Luckily, the two Americans who received ZMapp, the new experimental drug for Ebola, seem to be improving, which holds great promise and hope for thousands of other people but also raises broader ethical issues and questions.
The White House has some thinking to do. Is the security situation in northwestern Iraq so dire that the administration's "one Iraq" policy needs to be reviewed and perhaps changed?
Compare the "let's have tea" depiction of American foreign policy to the classic image of President Theodore Roosevelt's "big stick" diplomacy and it's clear that something is terribly wrong with America's approach to crises around the world.
A fair-minded review of the last 40 or 50 years reveals a painfully meager inventory of successes. Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan (we can hope) are arguable exceptions.
On August 1, President Barack Obama turned the White House into the Whine House. Thwarted in Gaza, the Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, Obama note...
With no reform in sight for our broken immigration system, the president of the United States should focus on addressing the market forces that contribute to this tragedy.
My question then and now is the same: How will the US react if the Kurds decide their best option is to declare independence and then request ongoing American financial and military support?
Venture even further, and you'll quickly find that the image of the American tourist is reflective of how the world at large views Americans: self-entitled, oblivious to matters outside of the U.S., with little desire to learn of different cultures or languages.
Our celebrity culture has turned us all into armchair therapists who put even our president on the couch to analyze his personality flaws. But when the label of "detached" acquires a political spin, it's no longer just nonsense. It becomes dangerous.