I was listening to a group of senior citizens discuss world events the other day when several of them made remarks about they could understand why Barack Obama went to Iraq and Afghanistan but why was he going to Europe. A few hours after hearing their discussion I read on the Internet that latest polls indicate Americans are upset at Obama spending time abroad when he should be at home dealing with American problems. I suspect we are witnessing the emergence of a new American isolationism which seeks to make our national leaders focus on domestic rather than foreign policy issues.
It is not surprising after seven years of war and death of young Americans that our citizens have grown weary of assuming responsibilities for what happens abroad. They are living with $4.50 gas prices, homes difficult to sell, and rising health care costs. We can expect this campaign will focus more on issues that impact the average American’s pocket book rather than on grand strategy for dealing with world problems. Ironically, Obama’s ratings went down when he went overseas. People wanted to hear from him how their lives will change– now, not later.
The Bush crusading spirit has left the American psyche. As far as most Americans are concerned what happens in Europe or the Middle East has to be handled by people in those regions. A candidate who runs on a platform of dealing with terrorism abroad and talks about dispatching thousands of Americans to fight overseas is dooming himself to defeat. Americans are frightened, but not about terrorists in Afghanistan or Pakistan. They are dealing with declining bank accounts, homes that have lost thousands in value, and fear of becoming ill and lacking health insurance.