from Commentary Obama Learns the Value of Allies by Seth Mandel:
Although President Obama’s first-term habit of serially offending U.S. allies appeared to be a procession of gaffes and errors, there actually was a strategy behind it. Picking fights with the Israeli prime minister; delaying and reconsidering free-trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia; shelving missile-defense plans in the Czech Republic and Poland to curry favor with Russia, and announcing it on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland; pointedly ignoring India; and of course the absurd series of insults so dignifiedly absorbed by Britain were all part of a plan.
It wasn’t a good plan, but it was a plan nonetheless. Obama wanted to broaden the tent of American allies. To do this, the president decided to reach out to Russia, Turkey, Iran, Venezuela, etc., and do so at the expense of tending to the existing alliances. What happened was utterly predictable: those outside the tent never considered entering, and those inside started wandering out. The fallacy underlying this strategy was the president’s assumption that allies were allies and would remain so, and thus didn’t need nurturing. He was wrong, of course, as even a cursory review of modern history would have informed him.
The Great and Wonderful Oz has reached for grand new diplomatic goals without understanding the fundamentals of the the most difficult of presidential responsibilities. His ego has exceed his capability. It is a likely outcome of arrogance and inexperience.
W was considered a unilateral reckless cowboy on foreign policy and Carter was considered incredibly naive. But Obama creates a whole new level of incompetence. When his view of the world and diplomacy is clearly rejected by allies and enemies alike he is left more alone than anybody. He has rejected the responsibility that comes with power and has sacrificed our power in the bargain.
Leading from behind, which has to be the most foolish expression in foreign policy ever, will clearly not work if there is nobody in front of you.