Obama's popularity doesn't mean much abroad

Afghanistan? Mr. Obama asked his European allies to contribute more troops and put them where the fighting is — mainly in the embattled south. This is where the Anglo powers bear the brunt of warfare while the French, Germans and Italians remain happily ensconced in the quieter north. Though Mr. Obama says he received “strong and unanimous support” on Afghanistan from his NATO partners in Strasbourg, he got no additional troop commitments. The Europeans are happy to see the U.S. president add another 19,000 American troops to the 38,000 already there. Why worry, if Mr. Big is willing to carry the load?

How about being nice to former rogue-staters like Kim Jong Il? North Korea has just kicked out the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and vowed to fire up its Yongbyon reactor and resume its nuclear weapons program, which may already have produced several (no one really knows how many) bombs. That, of course, was preceded by the spectacular April 5 launch of an intercontinental missile, which, though it fizzled, was intended to demonstrate North Korea’s growing capacity to deliver a warhead as far away as California.