In the Wall Street Journal today, John Vinocur describes in excruciating prose how Barack Obama has essentially lost Europe for the US:
Back in 2011, when the United States killed Osama bin Laden in the middle of the Pakistani night, Barack Obama said that “as a nation, there is nothing we can’t do.” Mr. Obama told the world that America would be “relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.”
Two and a half years later, the Obama Administration doesn’t seem to be relentless in defense of anything beyond its direct domestic political interests—with the exception of its undiscerning spying operations on countries that pass as extended family.
What’s novel here is that in Europe, doubts about America’s wisdom, strength and resolve are increasingly focused on the person of the president. Beyond the espionage, think of Mr. Obama’s hesitations on Iran and turnabouts concerning Syria—or his role in lengthening the U.S. budget shutdown, or in providing America with a new but crippled national health program.
These days, and to varying degrees, the governments of France, Britain and Germany regard Mr. Obama as a problem. No longer expressed only in private, the notion represents a decline in the reflexive acceptance and respect that had cushioned European attitudes about his historic presidency.
In Germany, Die Welt, a consistently pro-American newspaper, regretted things were now at a point where it appeared the U.S. was trying to confirm every prejudice against it. This was happening, the paper’s publisher wrote in a front-page editorial last month, “under an American president who was once longed for in Europe like the Messiah, and whom Old Europeans finally saw as one—a president who didn’t arrive wearing Texas cowboy boots, and instead tucked his copy of Kant under his pillow. But that was fiction.”
The president who promised that his coming to power would cause the world to love us hasn’t been able to keep that promise either. US foreign relations is in tatters. To give you an example of the depth of the growing rift:
In ” Angela Merkel : The Chancellor and Her World,” a biography by veteran journalist Stefan Kornelius that was published in Germany in July, Mrs. Merkel is described as regarding the president as inscrutable. According to the book, the chancellor has exchanged expressions of discomfort with Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown about why Mr. Obama is “so peculiar, so unapproachable, so lacking in warmth” (my translation).
The book goes on to describe contact with the president as “revealing another Obama than the public image would let you suspect.” According to the book’s account of the chancellor’s thinking, she has diminishing confidence that Mr. Obama’s politically “dysfunctional” America is capable of understanding itself. And she is irritated by stereotypes like “Obama, the Angel of Peace.”
It comes as no surprise that they’ve discovered under all the hype there’s essentially an empty suit. What’s more disturbing though is it took years for that to finally dawn on them apparently.
But, if foreign relations weren’t bad enough via the president, how about hiring a Secretary of State that is even worse than he is. Jonathan Tobin comments:
In just the last week, Kerry has personally exacerbated tensions between Israel and the Palestinians that were already complicated by his lust for a peace deal that no one else thought possible. He stabbed both Israel and the moderate Arab states in the back by publicly accepting the terms of a weak nuclear deal with Iran that would have likely started the collapse of sanctions against Tehran and put in motion a process that would have made it possible for the Islamist state to reach their nuclear goal. He then added to that folly by rushing to Geneva to sign that agreement only to be embarrassed by the insistence of the French—of all countries—that there at least be a fig leaf of accountability for the arrangement. That blew up the P5+1 talks and left Kerry trying to explain both his appeasement and the failure while also obviously fibbing about the last-minute conditions being his idea rather than the brainchild of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. It must be admitted that to have done so much damage to American interests in so little time is quite an accomplishment. Though he has plenty of competition for the title, John Kerry may have already become America’s worst secretary of state in history.
Yes, folks, that’s your international “one-two punch”, the two who represent our best interests as a nation abroad. I remember being told if the GOP stayed in control, we’d suffer a diminishing in the world. Another myth shattered. When we finally rid ourselves of this administration, there’s going to be one heck of a lot of fence rebuilding necessary in the world, and it is going to take years, if not decades, to recover from this 8 year debacle in foreign policy.
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