Charles Krauthammer and Gerald Warner take up where Jackson Diehl left off in analyzing Barack Obama’s Grand Tour this month. Both men sound warning alarms over Obama’s tendency to surrender large swaths of the American agenda in return for getting nothing at all. And while Krauthammer wonders whether Obama has a sense of his own American identity, Warner wonders whether Obama has any sense at all.
Our president came bearing a basketful of mea culpas. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own people for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness, for genocide, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantanamo and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.
And what did he get for this obsessive denigration of his own country? He wanted more NATO combat troops in Afghanistan to match the surge of 17,000 Americans. He was rudely rebuffed.
He wanted more stimulus spending from Europe. He got nothing.
From Russia, he got no help on Iran. From China, he got the blocking of any action on North Korea.
And what did he get for Guantanamo? France, pop. 64 million, will take one prisoner. One! (Sadly, he’ll have to leave his swim buddy behind.) The Austrians said they would take none. As Interior Minister Maria Fekter explained with impeccable Germanic logic, if they’re not dangerous, why not just keep them in America?
When Austria is mocking you, you’re having a bad week. Yet who can blame Frau Fekter, considering the disdain Obama showed his own country while on foreign soil, acting the philosopher-king who hovers above the fray mediating between his renegade homeland and an otherwise warm and welcoming world?
I thought that would win the Scorn Award for the week, but that’s just a warm-up for Warner. The British columnist for the Telegraph has a new name for Obama — well, two, actually:
So The One retired triumphant, having secured a massive contribution of 5,000 extra troops – all of them non-combatant, of course – which must really have put the wind up the Taliban, at the prospect of 5,000 more infidel cooks and bottle-washers swarming into the less hazardous regions of Afghanistan.
Then came the dramatic bit, the authentic West Wing script, with the President wakened in the middle of the night in Prague to be told that Kim Jong-il had just launched a Taepodong-2 missile. America had Aegis destroyers tracking the missile and could have shot it down. But Uncle Sam had a sterner reprisal in store for l’il ole Kim (as Dame Edna might call him): a multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air. …
President Pantywaist is hopping mad and he has a strategy to cut Kim down to size: he is going to slice $1.4bn off America’s missile defence programme, presumably on the calculation that Kim would feel it unsporting to hit a sitting duck, so that will spoil his fun.
Watch out, France and Co, there is a new surrender monkey on the block and, over the next four years, he will spectacularly sell out the interests of the West with every kind of liberal-delusionist initiative on nuclear disarmament and sitting down to negotiate with any power freak who wants to buy time to get a good ICBM fix on San Francisco, or wherever. If you thought the world was a tad unsafe with Dubya around, just wait until President Pantywaist gets into his stride.
The White House says it will take more than a few days for Obama’s impact to be felt, but I think they’re underestimating their President. Obama’s impact was plain to see. He drew great crowds for his American Humility Tour, and it played well — as bowing and scraping always does to those whom one bows and scrapes. Europe might like the whiff of surrender coming from Obama, but they made it plain that it would result in no movement on the American agenda. Actually, that’s not entirely true; as Diehl points out, Obama mostly neglected to even mention the American agenda.
John Kennedy had the insight to realize that he blew his performance with Nikita Khrushchev in 1961. Newt Gingrich allowed for the possibility that Obama might come to the same realization after this disaster of a foreign tour. Will President Pantywaist recover, a la Kennedy, or wallow in the self-delusional spin his White House provided this week, a la Jimmy Carter? Let’s hope it’s the former, because the world is far too dangerous a place for America to have a President Pantywaist.