George W Bush was not himself consistent in foreign policy. As I've written before, he pursued something resembling neoconservatism in Iraq and then realpolitik in Pakistan, multilateralism in Iran and traditional appeasement towards Saudi Arabia. These strategic approaches - particularly in Iraq - were not always pursued competently. Nonetheless, when Obama beat McCain, one of the big messages taken by the world was that the 'war party' (the Republicans) had lost to the 'peace party' (the Democrats).
Since the victory of 'the peace party' anti-Americanism has gone into reverse in most parts of the world. The decline of anti-Americanism has not, however, translated into tangible benefits for America. Europe has not given more troops to the Afghan campaign. Russia has not signed up to sanctions against Iran. Scotland released the Lockerbie bomber, ignoring Hillary Clinton's objections. And, less seriously, the IOC did not give Chicago the Olympics despite Obama's best efforts.
A year since Obama was elected it is possible to see a consistent pattern in his foreign policy. Individual decisions may be justifiable but, added up, they send a message that the world's policeman has largely disarmed:
On Afghanistan, the President has delayed and delayed deciding what to do in response to a report submitted to him by his own commander-on-the-ground, General Stanley McChrystal. Sources in the British government are worried that the "dithering" is now hurting the mission. The people of Afghanistan will not co-operate with NATO troops so long as they think the commitment is weak but will tie their fortunes to "the strong horse" of anti-western militants.
On Iraq, Obama accelerated George W Bush's more gradual troop withdrawal.
On Iran, Obama hesitated to support the peoples' protests against the widely-questioned re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Within the last week he hesitated again to back pro-democracy protestors in Tehran. A decision condemned inside the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
The White House cancelled George W Bush's missile defend shield for the Czech Republic and Poland in the hope that Moscow would help force Tehran to end its nuclear programme. The concession was made to Russia but to no effect.
Barack Obama declined to meet the Dalai Lama for fear of offending Beijing.
Rather than isolating the government of Sudan for its genocidal abuses in Darfur, the Obama administration has proposed a mix of “incentives and pressure” in future relations. Even the New York Times gasped: "We have difficulty accepting the idea of any outreach to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for directing the genocide in Darfur."
The biggest sign of disarmanent has been in the new respect for the United Nations. The UN is a great talking shop with a terrible track record of confronting evil regimes or threats to security.
Obama has apologised for America on many occasions - particularly to the Muslim world.
The Wall Street Journal's overall view is that America has been more keen to truck with America's enemies than its friends:
"His Administration has sought warmer ties with Iran, Burma, North Korea, Russia and even Venezuela. But it has picked trade fights with Canada and Mexico, sat on trade treaties with Colombia and South Korea, battled Israel over West Bank settlements, ignored Japan in deciding to talk with North Korea, and sanctioned Honduras for its sin of resisting the encroachments of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez."
Is the world more dangerous today than a year ago? Not noticeably but there is a real danger that under Obama's disarming watch the forces that grew during the equally disarming Clinton years will grow again. The final word to Mayor of London, Boris Johnson:
"It was one of the very greatest American presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, who said the duty of America abroad was to "speak softly but carry a big stick". George Bush forgot the "speak softly" bit. But Obama needs to remember the vital importance of continuing to carry a big stick. That is because the job of America is still pretty much what it was when Fleming wrote Goldfinger in 1959 - to take on the bad guys in a way that no other country is able or willing to do."