I believe that I have established a pattern. In an earlier post I quoted from Helene Cooper's December 2011 piece in the New York Times. Here is from the same:
To many in Washington — including those, of course, who crave presidential face time — Mr. Obama's seeming aloofness is risky. He is the nation's politician in chief, and the presidency has always been first and foremost about politics.
"It's about building relationships," said Gerald Rafshoon, a television producer who was President Jimmy Carter's communications director. "Some people are saying he's a recluse. You don't want that reputation. He needs to show that he likes people." Mr. Rafshoon's old boss, an outsider to Washington when he became president, recently wrote in his book "White House Diary" that he did not socialize enough when he was the chief executive.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans say they rarely hear from the president, and members of his own party complain that Mr. Obama and his top aides are handicapping themselves by not reaching out enough.
"When you have relationships with individual members, you can call them up and ask a favor, and a lot of times, if it's not objectionable, you can get things done," said Representative Dennis A. Cardoza, Democrat of California.
It is a big part of the President's job to "build relationships" with members of both parties. That makes it possible for him to bring the two sides together and help to broker a deal. The President has never had any interest in building relationships.
When the Supercommittee was trying to broker a budget deal, they told the President to back off. Apparently, Harry Reid actually asked him to leave the room. Why? No one in the room knew him well enough to have any idea how to work with him.
It comes as no surprise that he is no more interested in getting to know the leaders of foreign nations. Helen Cooper weighs in again in the New York Times:
Mr. Obama's staunch defense of democracy protesters in Egypt last year soon drew him into an upheaval that would test his judgment, his nerve and his diplomatic skill. Even as the uprisings spread to Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, the president's sympathy for the protesters infuriated America's allies in the conservative and oil-rich Gulf states. In mid-March, the Saudis moved decisively to crush the democracy protests in Bahrain, sending a convoy of tanks and heavy artillery across the 16-mile King Fahd Causeway between the two countries.
That blunt show of force confronted Mr. Obama with the limits of his ability, or his willingness, to midwife democratic change. Despite a global outcry over the shooting and tear-gassing of peaceful protesters in Bahrain, the president largely turned a blind eye. His realism and reluctance to be drawn into foreign quagmires has held sway ever since, notably in Syria, where many critics continue to call for a more aggressive American response to the brutality of Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Mr. Obama's journey from Cairo to the Causeway took just 44 days. In part, it reflected the different circumstances in the countries where protests broke out, despite their common origins and slogans. But his handling of the uprisings also demonstrates the gap between the two poles of his political persona: his sense of himself as a historic bridge-builder who could redeem America's image abroad, and his more cautious adherence to long-term American interests in security and cheap oil.
To some, the stark difference between the outcomes in Cairo and Bahrain illustrates something else, too: his impatience with old-fashioned back-room diplomacy, and his corresponding failure to build close personal relationships with foreign leaders that can, especially in the Middle East, help the White House to influence decisions made abroad.
There is a lot in there to chew on. I am not inclined to blame the President for inconsistency in his foreign policy. There may be very good reasons treating Egypt differently from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, though one might wish for a clear explanation of those differences. Don't hold your breath.
The second from the last paragraph is especially chewy. The President clearly took office with a "sense of himself as a historic bridge-builder" who could repair America's relationship with the rest of the world and especially reconcile America with the Muslim world. This was sheer fantasy, as is now obvious. His "more cautious adherence to long-term American interests in security and cheap oil" represents not a separate pole of his personality, as Cooper puts it; instead it represents the collision of narcissism with reality.
That last paragraph is the money shot. The President is impatient with "old-fashioned back-room diplomacy". Why? Precisely because that requires building close relationships with foreign leaders. If the President is utterly incapable for building a relationship with the leaders of Congress, would you expect him to get to know the Saudi leaders or Benjamin Netanyahu or anyone else that he ought to be dealing with?
No wonder that the President doesn't bother to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel when that nation is contemplating a military strike against Iran. He may know that Israel is an ally of the US, even if he isn't sure that Egypt is. Actually sitting down and talking to important people is just not something the President is interested in.
No wonder that the President gives a big speech at the UN summit but doesn't bother to meet with a single leader. He doesn't like meeting with anybody. He doesn't like meeting with his Presidential Daily Briefing committee. He apparently doesn't like actually talking to his own inner staff, preferring instead to make executive decisions by checking boxes on briefing papers, alone, late at night.
In the constitutional order, the President is expected to play a number of roles. One of those is Chief of State. Barack Obama is good at that one. He is also supposed to be Chief Legislator and Chief Diplomat. It is doubtful that anyone has ever occupied the office (if "occupied" is the applicable term) who was less temperamentally suited for those jobs.