Over the 48 hours from last Wednesday to Friday, President Obama’s approval rating in the polls fell 4 points, to 46 percent. Many wonder if this is a result of the recent crisis in Egypt. History has demonstrated that overall approval ratings of foreign policy increase when America or one of its allies is attacked, take September 11th for example. However, Presidents who ride on the wave of Patriotism too far ultimately face pervasive disapproval. Kennedy’s notorious Bay of Pigs operation and the aftermath of the Iran-Contra crisis during Regan’s presidency are historical examples of foreign policy gone array. Should Obama be more stalwart in projecting U.S interests in Egypt, or should he let this wave of disapproval ride out?
Alcoholics everywhere recite the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Obama, if he wants to remain in public favor and retain the presidency for another term, must show that he has tenacity to enforce American interests abroad when necessary. However, if he interferes when such intervention is hopeless, then he risks a far greater liability.
In reality, Obama is bombarded with anti-government opposition, such as the Tea Party, that will denounce the actions of the Democratic party no matter what they do. Therefore, Obama must tread wisely, especially amidst the recent crisis in Egypt. To be a sufficient actor in foreign policy is not enough for respite from the opposition. If Obama expects ratings to increase, he must not only demonstrate his diplomatic prowess, but he must also popularize his accomplishments so that they cannot be manipulated and degraded by the opposition. The nature of politics is one that generates disapproval more easily than support. However, the American people should remember: the doctrine of “No” never accomplishes anything.
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