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.


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."


The Contentious Centrist said...

I would be very curious to learn what Zbigniew Brzezinski, who "has called on the world community to isolate Russia in protest over its campaign in the Caucasus, likening its tactics to those of "Hitler or Stalin" had to say about Obama's initiative to renege on American promises to Poland in return for Russian cooperation on Iran.

Anonymous said...

Why should America give a rat’s ass about Poland or any other country for that matter? We should be spending money on America and Americans only.

Roland Dodds said...

I would also be interested to hear what Zbigniew had to say about these recent developments, TCC.

As for “anonymous,” America is only as good as the morals and pledges it stands by. I have gone into what I think to be the ‘real’ American national identity in the past, and because I believe we are a nation built on an ideology and not an ethnic identity, I find it to be of vital importance that we stand with people who share our commitment to those ideals. Moreover, Poland has sacrificed a great deal and worked with us extensively, and I don’t believe those commitments should be disregarded.

TNC said...

"Why should America give a rat’s ass about Poland or any other country for that matter? We should be spending money on America and Americans only."

I wonder how much assistance (as a percentage of GDP) we provide to Poland? I suspect it is quite small.

Anon, most Americans abandoned isolationism a long time ago. It survives today on the fringes of American politics (Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan come to mind) but these people have no real influence on foreign policy.

Thank goodness for that.