Obama needs to get his priorities straight

Justin Law

Over the weekend the Japanese reeled from a massive earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdowns and radioactive iodine in their tap water. Meanwhile, President Obama embarked on a “business trip.”

However, instead of landing in Japan on Saturday morning, Air Force One cruised into the warm, sunny capital of Brasilia, Brazil for a three-country, five-day Latin American vacation tour.

This spring break visit seems to be a family holiday as Michelle, his daughters, the girls’ grandmother and their godmother are all in accompaniment.

The main goal of Obama’s trip to Latin America, according to the administration, is to enhance economic partnerships and encourage job creation. But could this affair be taking place at a worse time?

Nothing of urgent importance has come out of this outing thus far. Before his arrival, the President canceled a planned press conference featuring himself and Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff. The White House announced on Friday that Obama would make a statement in Brazil without entertaining questions from the press.

When a group of rowdy socialists carrying American flags that said “Go Home Obama” took to the streets in Rio de Janeiro (yes, Rio) on Friday, it was even more distressing to see Obama cancel his public speech, planned for Sunday.

Meanwhile in the Middle East, Muammar Qaddafi’s violent attacks on the Libyan people have gone on for well over 30 days now. On Feb. 26, Obama called for Qaddafi to “leave now,” having lost the legitimacy to rule, yet it was a seemingly delayed, somewhat hesitant response to the rebellion against the dictator that began on Feb. 15.

While Obama endorsed the UN resolution of military action as well as airstrikes against the Qaddafi regime, he gave the banal statement, “Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.” Yet he publicly announced that the U.S. would not be introducing ground troops. Even if America did not plan to introduce the ground troops, shouldn’t Obama at least have kept Qaddafi guessing?

While CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said Obama has taken a “backseat” in the Libya conflict, it is almost as if the president has been M.I.A. Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has not been at the forefront of foreign policy. As a result, orders have been given from an organization that is not taken seriously because of its lack of enforcement, aka the UN. Qaddafi’s breach of the ceasefire he agreed to shows the U.N. weilds little real power.

Instead of holding fundraisers for his 2012 campaign, golfing, filling out his basketball brackets and traveling to South America, Obama needs to get his priorities straight and realize that he is the Leader of the Free World.

Previously published in the Washington Square News, New York U. via UWIRE