UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson along those lines: Add it all up and there is a growing sense that America is in fact hemorrhaging — as both friends and enemies abroad smell blood in the water. The president through conciliation and concession — not to mention constant talk — is trying to superficially restore the influence we once earned by virtue of our economic power and self-confidence in our exceptional past and singular values.
But being both loud and vulnerable is not a winning combination, since political influence and military power are ultimately predicated on economic strength.
The United States needs to re-establish itself as financially credible and responsible so that when we lecture — about everything from global warming to Iranian nukes — we do so from a position of strength. That means we need to stop borrowing other nations’ money.
America also can’t afford to keep importing high-priced oil that we won’t produce at home. And we should stop promising ever-more government entitlements to ever-more voters that we can’t even begin to pay for.
For as we continue in our self-indulgence, a more defiant world seems to be saying that the old rules of the game have changed. In response, America should keep quieter abroad — and try finding a bigger stick.