Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Obama: So Much for Wooing Europeans

Remember when liberals bemoaned the fact that George Bush had insulted Europe during his tenure in office, and that Obama would repair that relationship with his superior diplomacy and charm? Well he isn’t off to a very good start. First they had a leak that exposed an offer to Russia to not proceed in implementing a missile shield in Eastern Europe in exchange for Russia’s help with preventing Iran from developing weapons. Not only did Russia reject the offer, it exposed a willingness in the Obama administration to abandon some of our closest allies in Europe. I wrote previously on the commitments Poland has made to America in recent years, and that their willingness to work with the United States in such a steadfast manner was something we should not take lightly. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has recently shown signs of frustration with the new American administration, telling reporters "I will definitely tell Vice President Biden we are ready to participate in this [missile shield] project, a U.S. project. When we agree something with our ally, we keep our promise." The last bit of emphasis is mine, and I bet it was those words he would have stressed when speaking to American government officials, as this was not the first affront to Poland since Obama took office.

Charles Krauthammer had less than glowing words for Obama’s East Europe plan. He stated:
This is smart diplomacy? This is a debacle. The Russians dismissed it contemptuously.

Look, if we could get the Iranian nuclear program stopped with Russian's helping us in return for selling out the Poles and the Czechs on missile defense, I'm enough of a cynic and a realist to say we would do it the same way that Kissinger agreed to delegitimize and de-recognize Taiwan in return for a large strategic opening with China.

But Kissinger had it done. He had it wired. What happened here is it was leaked. The Russians have dismissed it. We end up being humiliated. We look weak in front of the Iranians, and we have left the Poles and Czechs out to dry in return for nothing.

The Czechs and the Poles went out on a limb, exposed themselves to Russian pressure, and we have shown that Eastern Europe is not as sovereign as it appears if the Russian influence is there, and we will acquiesce in what they consider their own sphere of influence.

This administration has prided itself, flattered itself on deploying smart diplomacy. "Smart diplomacy" is a meaningless idea, but if it has any meaning at all, it is not ever doing something as humiliating, amateurish, and stupid as this
.”
John Bolton, unsurprisingly, found this sad play by Obama to be disgraceful as well.


Now comes Obama’s slight to Britain, one of America’s strongest allies. Apparently the President was just too tired to go through the proper motions on Gordon Brown’s recent visit. Michael Totten writes:
“Presidents and prime ministers from all countries are exhausted most of the time. An excuse like that wouldn’t wash if President Manny Mori of Micronesia were blown off. I doubt very much that Prime Minister Brown was slighted on purpose, but an unnamed State Department official quoted in the Telegraph wants the British to believe the cool welcome is all they should have expected.

“There’s nothing special about Britain,” he reportedly said. “You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”
The same as Somalia, Turkmenistan, and North Korea? Good grief. Great Britain is the mother country of the United States of America. School children know it. At least they knew it when I was a child. The “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K. is so well-established it shouldn’t even have to be mentioned. It’s not a Bush administration policy that’s up for review. It has existed longer than Barack Obama has been alive.

Barack Obama campaigned as the worldly and sophisticated diplomacy candidate after President George W. Bush was castigated for “alienating” our allies. I wasn’t happy about strained ties between the U.S., France, and Germany during the Bush administration’s first term, but those relationships were repaired when the congenitally anti-American French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder were replaced by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Chirac and Schroeder weren’t just opposed to American policies, which of course was their right. They campaigned on anti-American platforms. (Imagine an American candidate for president bashing the French on the stump.) President Bush had his work cut out for him with those two, and it said something about who was mostly at fault when voters in France and Germany corrected the problem before he left office.”
So now that Obama has already offered up our close allies in Eastern Europe and insulted the Prime Minister of another strong European friend, I hope some of that super diplomacy Obama kept talking about during his campaign starts to show up in the Old Country, because right now it looks like a pitiful mess.

Update:

What the hell is going on in the Obama administration?
"Sir Gus O'Donnell, Britain's most senior civil servant, exposed transatlantic tension when he protested that Downing Street was finding it "unbelievably difficult" to plan for next month's G20 summit in London because of problems tracking down senior figures in the US administration. "There is nobody there. You cannot believe how difficult it is," the Cabinet Secretary told a civil service conference in Gateshead."

Solidarity with our poultry brethren


Santa Cruz “radicals” continue to show their astuteness, forward thinking, and commitment to social justice by attacking the greatest threat mankind has ever faced: a local KFC restaurant. From their own keyboards:
Caught between our fleeting mortal lives and the fleeting "freedoms" allowed to us by the state, we have felt strong sorrow and disgust at the state of the world and our society. Last night, we decided to make tangible our despair.

Last night, we attacked the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Mission St. We think it's new, we're not entirely sure, but either way the sight of it bores us to death. Two stones cracked two windows and we melted back into the shadows. Property will never be worth more than the lives of living things. Solidarity with our poultry brethren; we may not be the same species, but we breath the same poison air.
I would usually write something snarky to follow up such nonsense, but it really isn’t necessary in this case. I will say that this is what you get when student anarchists read too many Dungeons and Dragons guides.

Made my Day


From the Times:
"A convoy led by the maverick MP George Galloway carrying supplies for Gaza has been attacked in Egypt, apparently injuring several people travelling in his party.

The convoy, carrying aid worth £1 million, was pelted with stones and vandalised with anti-Hamas slogans after it stopped overnight in El-Arish, a small town around 28 miles from the Rafah border crossing with Gaza."

Update:

Gene at Harry's Place reminds us just where all that aid Galloway is bringing is going to end up.
"Speaking to the adoring masses after crossing into Gaza, George Galloway announced:

'We have brought with us many vehicles, much equipment, much medicine, everything we could carry. And we will hand it to Ismail Haniyeh, the elected prime minister of Palestine.'

That would be Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Hamas regime in Gaza. And that would be Hamas, which in January raided some 100 aid trucks that Israel had allowed into Gaza, stole their contents and sold them to the highest bidders; and which in February stole hundreds of tons of aid from the UN’s Relief and Works Agency, causing UNRWA to suspend shipments to Gaza."