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Trouble abroad: Obama accused of timidity overseas... Fear and anger among allies...

(by Geoff Dyer, FT.com) -- When President Barack Obama ran for re-election in 2012, he pulled off what for Democrats was a remarkable feat – he took foreign policy off the table as a campaign issue.

Ever since Harry Truman was accused of “losing China”, Republicans have sought to cast their Democratic opponents as weak in the face of foreign challenges. Yet fresh from his risky but successful military operation to kill Osama bin Laden, Mr Obama side-stepped the usual assault during his re-election campaign. His challenger Mitt Romney hardly brought up foreign policy.

Eighteen months later, the political ground is shifting rapidly beneath Mr Obama’s feet. As he prepares to give an important address on foreign policy at West Point on Wednesday, the president finds himself under attack over what critics charge is a record of indecisive leadership.

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