DATELINE: Smallville, Jan 4 – Under President Obama, America’s presence on the world stage has diminished drastically. In some regions, it has practically disappeared. The result is one of the swiftest erosions of world influence ever suffered by a Great Power. This sorry state of affairs is due to a shift in foreign policy both by design and by chaos.

The design part was announced by Obama in the days before he took office and expanded upon during his first year in the White House. Who can forget his 2009 apology tour of three continents? The chaos part has been in evidence since the Arab Spring, with enough examples just this year to choke a very large horse.

Effective foreign policy is the result of visionary leadership. Beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. policy goal has been to protect the American people. Our primary protection strategy has been to provide freedom to those in other regions who desire it. What better hedge against belligerence than having it undermined from within?

Providing freedom has often been done by pure military might. Not that long ago, our allies stood with us. We’ve used other vehicles as well such as those offered by the intelligence community. Foreign aide has also played a role. Providing freedom has its downside, of course. There are freedomless governments friendly to U.S. interests. In those cases, we’ve skipped the liberty gig since the point is to protect our citizens rather than putting them at greater risk.

Along comes Mr. Obama. He doesn’t have a foreign policy vision so much as a vague kumbaya conceit. He speaks and it happens. He builds it and they come. He plays his magical musical pipe and the world follows. Except that reality has a nasty way of intruding as it did this year with Syria, Edward Snowden, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and so forth.

In a 2013 year-end review, the Washington Post rated Obama’s foreign policy performance, not by an objective standard, but by the Administration’s stated goals. I’m not sure of the value of judging someone’s effort only against his own intent except to highlight the failures.

According to the Post, there were plenty of those. On an A – F scale, the handling of six of ten regions reviewed was rated as C or below. Of the six, three (Syria, Russia, the Snowden Affair) were D’s and one (Egypt) was an F. There was no mention of Iraq which is another F unless, of course, ceding the country to Al Qaeda was part of the vision. This is definitely not the report card you want your parents to see.

Shrinking our foreign policy only makes us smaller and those with contrary interests larger. Not much of a sweet deal, honey.