Here’s an interesting perspective from Australia on the international perception of President Obama — complete with an entertaining reference to the “Fonzie” codicil to foreign policy.
Regardless of whether this writer is correct or not in his assessment, it should be concerning that people overseas are writing openly about our President as weak or out of his depth. Even if that perception is flat out wrong, the mere existence of the perception could tempt one of our adversaries into taking a reckless action that they might not have tried otherwise. Similarly, if the President comes to appreciate the existence of such a perception, it may cause him to take an action he would not have taken under other circumstances in order to try to correct that perception.
When it comes to foreign policy, it seems crucial to project strength and resolve, and then to back up words with actions. The best American pop culture reference probably is not Fonzie, but rather the John Wayne character in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.