And so, a little more than 18 months after Election Day, the American right’s favorite British conservative finally sees the light. This is the flip side of Joan Walsh’s piece today in Salon lamenting the fact that The One hasn’t been the socialist warrior she dreamed of. As Walsh acknowledges, Obama won by convincing lefties that he’d be a super-lefty and everyone else that he’d be anything but. Hannan, like David Brooks, is a member of the latter group, someone who assumed that The One’s pragmatist instincts (heh) would resist statist drift. Eighteen months later, with a new federal health-care entitlement added to our $130 trillion (no typo) national debt, here we are.
The most interesting thing about Hannan’s piece? He’s known for being a rock-ribbed fiscal conservative, but not until he starts hammering Obama on foreign policy does he really start to bite.
His fondness for the EU is matched by his disdain for the United Kingdom. It’s not the diplomatic snubs that bother me: the dissing of Gordon Brown, the insulting gifts, the sending back of Winston Churchill’s bust. It’s not even the faux-anger towards the company he insists on calling “British” Petroleum. (No such firm has existed since the merger of BP and Amoco nine years ago. Thirty-nine per cent of BP shares are American-owned, and 40 per cent British-owned. The stricken rig in the Gulf is owned by Transocean, and the drilling was carried out by Halliburton, yet Obama isn’t demanding compensation from either of these American corporations.)
All these things are minor irritants compared to the way the Obama administration is backing Peronist Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands – or, as Obama’s people call them, “the Malvinas”. British troops were the only sizeable contingent to support the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have fought alongside America in most of the conflicts of the past hundred years. Yet, when the chips are down, Obama lines up with Hugo Chávez and Daniel Ortega against us.
Not that we should feel singled out. The Obama administration has scorned America’s other established friends. It has betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic, whose Atlanticist governments had agreed to accept the American missile defence system at immense political cost, only to find the project cancelled. It has alienated Israel and India. It has even managed to fall out with Canada over its “Buy American” rules and its decision to drill in disputed Arctic waters. Never has there been a worse time to be a US ally.
He’s in the confessional here, so go read the whole thing and grant him absolution. Exit quotation: “Not that Obama is without his good points, obviously. His commitment to school choice is unfeigned.” Huh?