The most recent cover story in the French weekly news magazine L'Express characterized U.S. President Barack Obama's first term as a disappointment. The article was titled, "The man who wanted to change the world."
"On Iran, Obama first chose a policy of outreach and demonstrated coolness toward the Green Movement demonstrators who protested the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," the article said. "In contrast to [then French President] Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama truly believed that an agreement was possible on the nuclear issue. But these measures of openness were seen by Tehran as proof of American weakness."
The influential French magazine explained why the Obama presidency has not lived up to expectations, focusing on numerous instances over the past four years in which the U.S. has taken a passive position in world affairs.
"Even if a handful of liberal intellectuals attributed the Arab uprising to Obama, the demonstrators never referred to Obama's Cairo speech," the article said. "Simultaneously, Obama was dragged into Libya after France and Britain. Also in Tunisia and Damascus, everything takes place as if the White House has the role of alert observer."
The article mentioned how Obama sought to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia and gave up on a missile defense project in Poland, but received nothing in return from Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the same time, Russia has continued to block efforts to solve the crisis in Syria and has maintained "vague" policies on Iran's nuclear program.
Obama has also erred on China policy, the article said. He first tried to implement a policy of cooperation, but after three years began to take steps to stymie China's national aspirations.
The article also noted Obama's failures to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and fight global warming.
The current U.S. presidential campaign is focused on domestic affairs, but it is understandable why Obama has drawn criticism from Republican rival Mitt Romney on foreign policy, the article stated.