It’s a wonderful thing that Rio de Janeiro was chosen to host the 2016 Olympics. It’s great because the games will travel to South America for the first time ever. It is great because developing countries gathered together and their influence is being felt. It is also great, from the American perspective, because people may now realize that Obama’s popularity is not based in any objective reality. The president’s visit, along with the first lady (and even Oprah!) was not enough to sway the international community. Obama’s presence did not change anyone’s mind.
And why should it have? Obama has spent the better part of this year discussing why America should have a small role on the international stage. After years–on the campaign and in office–of telling our international neighbors that we are sorry for being American, that we’ve been misguided for decades, or whatever else, how can he then expect to convince the Olympic committee that America is a special place that should be the focus of the world for three weeks in 2016.
As it turns out, the Obama visit was a flop. Chicago was the first city eliminated in the voting process. And if this is any indication as to the future of Obama’s foreign policy success, we should be very afraid indeed.