Within hours on Thursday, a Malaysian jet was shot down in Ukraine and Israeli ground forces invaded Gaza.
Within weeks this summer, a group too extreme even for Al-Qaida conquered broad swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Within the first six years of the Obama administration, cascading crises in the Mideast, East Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Africa and Central America have marked this as the most globally volatile era since the 1970s.
…Some critics claim that global turmoil is largely a result of Obama’s policies. Others suggest that these are independent international events that would have equally challenged a President McCain or President Romney. Most agree that there is not a unifying, unilateral military response and that instead solutions require multilateral diplomacy.
Often, effective diplomacy depends on the perception of a country’s values and interests. Accordingly, a nation’s international image — its brand — isn’t an esoteric concern, but a diplomatic asset or deficit.
“The filter or the lens by which actions are judged is what you generally believe the intent, the brand, the image of that state to be,” said William Martel, associate professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
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