Mr. Obama’s own credibility is so diminished (his approval rating in Israel is 4 percent) that serious negotiations may be farther off than ever.
Peacemaking takes strategic skill. But we see no sign that President Obama and Mr. Mitchell were thinking more than one move down the board. The president went public with his demand for a full freeze on settlements before securing Israel’s commitment. And he and his aides apparently had no plan for what they would do if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said no.
An approval rating of 4% ??? Okay, now that is worse than President George Bush.
Now what exactly was accomplished in his Asia/China trip? Kind of tough to talk about our relationship with China, especially since they own us.
For Obama, going back home from a weeklong Asia trip with little more than hopes that he's laying groundwork for better cooperation could sour, fast, on Americans. He was elected in part because of his promises to restore the battered U.S. image abroad. But if the cost of that is too much listening and too little getting, the public could well grow impatient.
One sign, albeit small, that people are growing weary with Obama's pragmatic humility overseas: A mini-furor erupted in the U.S. when he bowed to greet the emperor of Japan in Tokyo on Saturday. Conservative commentators are calling it another instance of groveling before a foreign leader.
Pragmatic humility? Pragmatic humility does not sound like a good thing to me.
Take another bow, Mr. President. You are doing great.