It has been a long slow process. It started about halfway through President GHW Bush's term as President and has been sliding ever since. The speed of the decline of the influence that the United States has in the world has increased in speed since President Obama has taken office in my opinion.
Every once in a while history brings together two forces that totally change the landscape of how history is lived out. This is what has happened in the world today. Barrack Obama and Vladimir Putin have landed on the world scene more or less at the same time and the result is that the course of history is changing dramatically.
Obama came on the scene with very little experience in governing and without any plans on what to do if certain situations came up. He has shown repeatedly over the years that he does not understand foreign policy, which should be the main thrust of the main carrying the title of President. President Obama is a campaigner. That is what he is and he is very good at it. He tells people what they want to hear and then does nothing about it or tries to push through something without thinking of the overall consequences. The current President of the United States does not have a clue on how to deal with foreign leaders in the world and has come to be disgusted by several of them. Chancellor Merkel of Germany is one such leader. She has no use for Obama and has pretty much said so several times in public remarks. She sees the United States as weak with out leadership.
Meanwhile, Mr. Putin is raising the Russian state back up towards it's previous position of power. He has done so very carefully and deliberative. He is a strong leader with a strong mind. He holds his ground and leads his people, and those of countries around Russia to his goals. When an international crisis breaks on the scene, Putin will be there leading the way towards a resolution for both sides while Obama sits in the White House or wanders a golf course not taking any action at all in order to show some back bone or leadership.
The reason why Obama has no leadership or back bone is simple. He has absolutely no grasp of what these situations can mean and personally, I think he is a little afraid to make a decision thinking it could be the wrong one and things would not work out the way he thought they should.
Putin on the other hand has shown stability and quick decision making over the years. He has shown a complete understanding about how the world interacts and what decisions can mean to certain situations. He has shown a remarkable ability to even get the European Union to sit up and take notice, to listen to what his thoughts are and to take him seriously. Meanwhile those same countries look at Obama as a big talker that can't be trusted by his words. He seldom follows through on his word and sits around trying to make a decision while the crisis is being solved by ... that's right, Mr. Putin.
Putin is not afraid of offending someone, he just says what he thinks and says it with authority. Putin has placed himself up on the stage of international politics and has taken further steps to push Obama from center stage to take it for himself and Obama is too week to stop Putin from doing such.
What the Obama administration has given us is a new leader of the civilized world. For the first time since Franklin Roosevelt, the President of the United States is not seen as the leader of the world. The reigns of power have been transferred to Putin and he is using those reign very wisely and with a strength that is getting difficult to ignore, much less stop.
Putin has become such a powerful figure that with his strong leadership and determination to make a decision quickly and to see it through, Russia has become the country that people keep an eye on to see where the world of politics is heading.
I dare say, that is Putin were to run against Obama for the presidency of the United States, I would be hard pressed not to vote for Mr. Putin.
Thanks to President Obama, Putin has now delegated the United States to a second rate power. One must respect Putin for what he has accomplished, even if you don't agree with his philosophy. He has done what no other leader has been able to do since 1941. He has single handily made the American President just another head of another country.