Barack Obama Foreign Policy Politics The Opinionsphere

Right-wingers Obsessed About Obama’s “Apology Tour”

[digg-reddit-me]Reading Foreign Policy‘s series of 100 days evaluations of Barack Obama, I noticed a repeated theme among the conservative graders (most of whom blog at, FP’s blog for the “loyal opposition”):

Elliot Abrams (former George W. Bush administration member):

The “apology tours” are not the administration’s worst offense…

Peter Feaver (Shadow Foreign Policy):

[I]t will get harder and harder to win applause lines by apologizing for the policies of your predecessor when you continue them in important respects.

Danielle Plekta (American Enterprise Institute) suggests Obama exhibits:

an almost pathological proclivity to apologize for American power and leadership. 

William Inboden (Legatum Institute, Shadow Foreign Policy):

President Obama’s foreign policy thus far consist of a series of apologies, conciliations, and gestures of outreach…it has been indulged in with such consistency, sanctimony, and zeal that it risks creating a meta-narrative of a weak, insecure, apologetic America that is reluctant to lead, unsure of its own power, and unwilling to make the hard but needful choices that might hurt short-term global approval ratings.

Christian Brose (Shadow Foreign Policy):

Obama apologizing in platitudes and generalities for America’s alleged transgressions

Kori Schake (Hoover Institution):

The Obama administration has improved the atmospherics of foreign policy, but only by apologizing for us and asking for nothing from others.

Obama has made a number of apologies during his first 100 days – generally balancing them by a challenge – as in the example below:

Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual, but can also be insidious. Instead of recognising the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what is bad.

On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America.

The fact that this strategy is boiled down to a mere “Apology Tour” which is weakening America by nearly all of the right-wing foreign policy thinkers is a sign of intellectual stagnation. The constant invocation of this distorting meme makes it hard to take these “thinkers” seriously. The right has often benefited from their goose-stepping fealty to the same set of talking points – and the left has been damaged by the often contradictory cacophony of its voice(s) – but in this particular instance, the wires are showing a bit too clearly.