When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

eyes on the U.S.

The Wimp Factor: Why Obama Risks Winding Up Like Jimmy Carter

The legacy of the 44th president of the United States is in peril, as he is seen as weak-willed with an unfocused foreign policy. Is it 1979 all over again?

Not that different
Not that different
Jacques Schuster

BERLIN — Given the trajectory of President Barack Obama’s second term, right now would be a good time to recall the lessons of President Jimmy Carter's administration. Americans voted for the Georgia governor in 1976 because he promised morality and veracity. After the Vietnam War and the Watergate affair they longed for virtue and honesty, and the outsider embodied these values. Carter promised never to lie to the people. And — to put some distance between himself and the Washington elite — he never tired of portraying his Republican predecessors as politicians who had failed morally.

Where foreign policy was concerned, Carter cast himself in the moralistic tradition of Woodrow Wilson. He didn’t simply perceive the world as too multifaceted for a single foreign policy doctrine — he found doctrines per se immoral. And so until the crises in Iran and Afghanistan in 1979, he pretty much relied on his Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Like Carter, Vance had come to Washington to deal with the politicians of this world as one would deal with reasonable people who shared similar views. He didn’t know how to talk to villains.

Keep reading...Show less
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

End Of Roe v. Wade: Will It Spark Anti-Abortion Momentum Around The World?

Pro-life activists celebrated the end of the U.S. right to abortion, hoping it will trigger a new debate on a topic that in some places had largely been settled: in favor a woman’s right to choose. But it could also boomerang.

Thousands of people demonstrate against abortion in Madrid

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Shaun Lavelle

The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a constitutional right to abortion put the United States at the forefront of abortion rights in the world.

Other countries would follow suit in the succeeding years, with France legalizing abortion in 1975, Italy in 1978, and Ireland finally joining most of the rest of Europe with a landslide 2018 referendum victory for women’s right to choose. Elsewhere, parts of Asia and Africa have made incremental steps toward legalizing abortion, while a growing number of Latin American countries have joined what has now been a decades-long worldwide shift toward more access to abortion rights.

But now, 49 years later, with last Friday’s landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade, will the U.S. once again prove to be ahead of the curve? Will American cultural and political influence carry across borders on the abortion issue, reversing the momentum of recent years?

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ