Column: U.S. hurt by not enough attention to foreign affairs

As he faces perhaps the most significant foreign policy crisis of his presidency, it has become abundantly clear that Barack Obama’s lack of attention to the nation’s overseas interests has seriously damaged America’s global position.

Is that too harsh an assessment of a president who likes to draw lines in the sand but is seldom willing to step over them? The 90-minute warning issued to Russia’s Vladimir Putin not to send troops to the Crimea when ignored produced an “OK, now what do we do?” moment, leaving Obama to scramble for a solution that would contain if not end the threat.

Perhaps the best assessment of the causes of the current mess comes from David J. Kramer, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Russia and Ukraine in the George W. Bush administration. Writing in the Washington Post a week ago, Kramer said:

“Like his overall approach to foreign policy, Obama has been much too removed from the deteriorating situation in Ukraine the past few months and spoke out for the first time only 10 days ago after Ukrainian authorities used gruesome force against protesters in Kiev.

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