Barack Obama puts winning votes ahead of solving Middle East crisis

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Barack Obama poses with Angela Merkel and some of the G20 world leaders
Barack Obama poses with Angela Merkel and some of the G20 world leaders Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

This President has a reasonable foreign policy record. Mr Obama was right to try and reset relations with Russia, Iran and the Arab World early in his first term, even if his hand of friendship has been rejected by many.

But now that he's at the end of his four years in the Oval Office, the President is getting this week's diplomacy all wrong.

His critics are calling it drive-through diplomacy. That's charitable. The fact is that President Obama is putting victory in Ohio above trying to solve the Syria puzzle.

This is the week of the UN General Assembly. Over 100 world leaders are here in New York, including many of the chief regional actors in the Syrian crisis. It is a valuable opportunity for President Obama to exchange ideas, brainstorm possible diplomatic moves, and urge others to put pressure on President Assad in Damascus.

So how much time is President Obama spending at the United Nations? A few hours.

How many bilateral meetings is he holding with Middle East leaders? Zero. In fact he's got no one-on-one meetings at all.

The Republicans are attacking the President for refusing to meet Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But it seems to me even more disappointing he has no time to meet Arab leaders.

Where is leadership when we need it?

Instead the President will be back in Ohio by Wednesday. He is signalling his priority to the world: Winning votes in Middle America is more important than saving lives in the Middle East.

So when President Obama takes to the podium at the UN and promises to work hard for world peace we should be sceptical.

The world must wait until the US election is over before it has the attention of the US President. If you're a Syrian civilian desperate for help, hold on until November 6th. The President of the United States and the winner of the Nobel Peace prize is busy.