Obama's Global Makeover; President's Dismantling of American Might Has Worldwide Repercussions

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In an impromptu conversation with Joe the Plumber during the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama famously acknowledged his support for redistributing the nation's wealth. He has been hard at it ever since gaining the White House.President Obama has yet to cop to another, arguably even more radical agenda: redistributing the nation's power. We are nonetheless beginning to witness the poisonous fruits of his efforts to enhance the relative might of America's adversaries while degrading our own. Call it Mr. Obama's global makeover.The most obvious example is in the Middle East, where each day brings fresh evidence of how the Obama administration's disastrous policy of embracing Islamists is transforming and destabilizing the region. Of particular concern is the Muslim Brotherhood's accelerating domination of the Egyptian government, which is turning the Arab world's most populous nation - one that sits astride the strategic Suez Canal and wields a formidable, American-supplied arsenal - into a Shariah-adherent, Islamic supremacist state. This is a formula for mass repression in Egypt, war in the Middle East and increased jihadist terrorism elsewhere.Less obvious, but potentially even more problematic, is the effect on communist China of the Obama-facilitated redistribution of power. The Chinese have not been fooled by the president's putative strategy of pivoting to Asia. They understand that his administration is eviscerating American military power - a process that will become even more draconian (and perhaps substantially irreversible) as a result of Mr. Obama's determination to impose a so-called sequestration round of a half-trillion dollars in additional cuts on a Pentagon already reeling from nearly $800 billion in previously approved reductions.As one wag put it, the People's Republic of China views us as more of a pirouetting paper tiger than a formidable foe whose pivot represents a meaningful, strategic redeployment.The ominous repercussions of such a perception already are beginning to manifest themselves:Last week, police in the Chinese province of Hainan Island announced that they would stop, board, search and possibly seize vessels they deemed to be illegally plying areas of the South China Sea that Beijing has declared to be its sovereign territory. This could apply to as much as half the world's oil-tanker traffic that passes through those waters.Some observers think this may be a feint, designed to test American responses and resolve. If so, the U.S. response has been negligible and the Chinese can only be further emboldened by our irresolution to stand up to their aggressive behavior.It hardly can be an accident that China has begun throwing its weight around in other ways as well. As David P. Goldman wrote in the Asia Times on Nov. …