The ill effects of Obama’s obsequious behavior will not be immediate. His friendly handshake with Chavez will not suddenly lead to the closing of more opposition radio stations in Venezuela, nor will his bemoaning American arrogance in Europe lead to more Russian aggression tomorrow.
But Obama’s fecklessness emboldens our adversaries and discourages advocates of liberty around the world. The consequences will be felt in damage to American prestige. As much as liberals like to claim that Bush “squandered” America’s reputation, Obama is doubling that offense by setting up his country — rhetorically and materially — to be overtaken by other powers on the international stage. He is paving the way for America’s decline.