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The label "No Drama Obama" appropriately sums up President Barack Obama's approach to leadership. This is a president the nation has seldom seen get angry or demonstrative. He has a studied approach to foreign and domestic problems, considering the options proposed by those in his administration before acting. Clearly, he would rather be slow to act than take the wrong actions.
In some instances, this can serve a leader well. Rash actions taken to prove a president is doing something can lead to bad results. However, the approach is not serving President Obama well at this time. As a series of crises have emerged across the world, the president has come across as detached, uncertain, and cautious to the point of dysfunction.
When Ukraine separatists used a missile supplied by Russia to shoot down a passenger airline, killing 298 people, President Obama had the opportunity to use the force of his office to pressure Europe into taking serious economic sanctions against Russia and discourage President Putin's continued meddling in Ukraine. Instead came reports of more diplomatic efforts to persuade Europe's leaders to step up. Meanwhile, it was President Putin who stepped up Russia's campaign in eastern Ukraine.
President Obama dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to seek a cease-fire and stop the high civilian death toll caused by Israel's excessive military response to Hamas missile launches. But, again, the president appeared unwilling to back, with strong words aimed at the Israeli leadership, his conviction that the human toll had become too high.
Meanwhile, if his administration - aside from sending a small group of advisors - has any plan for countering the alarming sweep of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant across Syria and Iraq, with its potential to serve as a breeding ground for attacks in Europe and the United States, it remains a secret. Granted, that crisis has no easy or obvious response, but the lack of any clear direction from the White House suggests a nation that is powerless in the face of these world events.
In these perilous times, direction and reassurance are necessary from the leader of the world's greatest economic and military power. As of now, it is sorely lacking.