When I consider our international relations it's hard for me to not see the world like business. Forgive me but I am a businessman. I understand the analogy breaks down at some levels, but bear with me a second.
In the world today we have strategic partners who share a common vision. Much like in business we want to keep them on our side, assisting us in realizing the vision we have for the country and the world we live in. We also have competitors. These people have visions for their countries, which as they execute their vision, keeps us from achieving our own.
One of the critical aspects in business is the ability to influence. Whether it is being the person who sets the agenda, or recruiting a partner to assist you in a venture or task, or convincing your competitor to not pursue a certain product or service, in business, how your partners and competitors view your position in the market place determines your ability to influence them as well as the environment in which you compete/practice. My business strategy for my company is set based on what I believe my partners and competitors will do. They thus cultivate their perception in order to influence what I do to their advantage.
EF Hutton, a financial services company summarized this influence in a TV commercial they did years ago. Two people would be in a crowded noisy room and one would say, my broker is EF Hutton, and EF Hutton says,...and the entire room stops. They lean toward the person waiting with held breath to hear what EF Hutton had to say. Now that is influence.
The United States' ability to influence both our strategic partners and our competitors in the world of geopolitics depends significantly on how they view us. More specifically, how they view, the President of the United States. Our competitors advance their agenda and world vision based in very large part on how they perceive the President will act.
Obama had the world's attention. He swept into office with a message of hope and change and the world was listening. And now, in just under one year, that influence is gone.
Our competitors are seeing the opportunity to advance their world vision at breakneck pace because they view this president as, at a minimum indecisive, but more likely incredibly weak.
Mr. Obama clearly believes apologizing , pulling back missiles , zeroing our nuclear arsenal , not sending troops in a timely fashion when asked for them by the commander he charged with a specific strategy to win in Afghanistan , not recognizing obvious acts of terrorism as such , and failing to address an obvious attempted attack on the US with explosive underwear  will somehow reverse the loss of influence, which occurred during President Bush's tenure. Unfortunately, these actions have only exponentially decreased our influence in the world. Just look around.
Iran has continued to thumb its nose at the UN and us. Ahmadinejad recently said Iran would not comply with the UN deadline of 31 DEC . They are now busted attempting to bring a huge shipment of uranium into the country against UN resolutions . Worse, as protestors in Iran are being driven over by government trucks , our president says nothing.
America is not setting the agenda or the debate. In fact we are not even responding
When Mr. Obama decided to remove the missile shield destined for Poland and Czechoslovakia, it was articulated that the Iranian threat was different requiring a system based from ships . This may be true. But in the art of statecraft and geopolitics, it doesn't matter. The world believes Obama backed down from the Russians. In fact some British are using the word surrender . And what was their response? How have the Russians conducted themselves since?
The Russian leadership announced plans to share arms with Venezuela , construct and operate a weapons plant in Venezuela , and grow its missile capabilities . Today, Vladimir Putin, perhaps one of the most nationalistic former leaders of Russia, and a man who is expected to run again for president voiced that Russia plans to build more missiles in order to "keep America from doing what it wants to" .
Our strategic partners have lost hope too, giving Obama an "F" in protecting the American people . Even the British government is now critical of how Obama has handled the Afghanistan troop delay . Even the French, who were gaga over Obama as he entered office, are now turning on him as a weak leader .
As this president fails to understand and articulate that other countries desire greater positions of influence at the expense of our ability to influence, we are destined to find our influence slowly whittled away to nothing. Every concession and every apology is seen by our competitors as an opportunity to position their selves for greater influence. Every step Obama makes slides us further away from the ability to dictate the debate, the issues, and the outcomes of international issues. We grow weaker while our adversaries grow stronger. Obama needs to change, or we need to make a change. We need an EF Hutton and we don't have one.
1 http://tiny.cc/m2zwS, http://tiny.cc/cZcNK
6 http://tiny.cc/oEdur, http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/59115
17 http://tiny.cc/yCwOI, http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4e9_1239820649