When President Barack Obama accepts his Nobel Peace Prize this week in Oslo, it will likely amplify the grumbling of those who think he is being rewarded for circumscribing American power. Obama's diplomatic efforts to date have elicited complaints that he is "starry eyed" and "weak," too solicitous of foreign leaders, and even "accommodating" of America's enemies.
These criticisms miss the point. Barack Obama isn't weak. He just helms a superpower whose power and influence is on the wane. Even as it remains the most powerful nation in the world, the United States is becoming, as the Bush-era National Intelligence Council suggested last year, just one of several important actors on the global stage. In such a crowded landscape, the United States no longer has the leverage to shape international affairs to its liking. ...
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