President Obama’s bid to convince an increasingly skeptical public that he has an effective foreign policy will be tested agtain this week as he seeks to rally support for his handling of each of the three global crises that have consumed the White House in recent weeks.
Obama embarks Tuesday on a two-day trip to Atlanta and Tampa to visit U.S. facilities that are overseeing, respectively, his administration’s responses to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the rise of Islamic militants in the Middle East. He’ll be back in Washington in time to discuss the conflagration in Eastern Europe with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the White House on Thursday.
The schedule reflects the whiplash inside the West Wing as the crises on three continents have helped sow doubts about U.S. leadership abroad and preoccupied Obama and his advisers less than two months before the midterm elections.
“The term that I use is ‘compounding complexity’ — it just keeps compounding, and there’s no relief in sight,” said Julie Smith, a former national security adviser to Vice President Biden.
White House aides hope the president’s itinerary will build off his prime-time address last week in which he announced a military campaign to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The trip also sets the stage for Obama’s appearance next week at the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.