A weakened America is still strong, its president the most powerful leader in the world. So it matters what he does. As Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term, he is still struggling to forge a coherent foreign policy, from Afghanistan to Mali to the Middle East. It’s not all his fault. He has been kept busy cleaning up the economic and geopolitical mess left behind by George W. Bush. He had to protect American self-interest while paying lip service to its ideals. He had to work within the confines of what Congress would let him do. He was balancing his preferred policy goals abroad with his electoral needs at home.