Damaging America's relations
Combine the above cartoon by Mr. Ramirez with this editorial by Michael Barone and the table is set to show that Barry is either too inept to be handling our foreign relations, or is simply aloof:
Barack Obama's decision to postpone his trip to Indonesia and Australia — to a democracy with the world's largest Muslim population and to the only nation that has fought alongside us in all the wars of the last century — is of a piece with his foreign policy generally: Attack America's friends and kowtow to our enemies.
Examples run from Britain to Israel. Early in his administration, Obama returned a bust of Churchill that the British government had loaned the White House after 9/11. Then Obama gave Prime Minister Gordon Brown a set of DVDs that don't work on British machines and that Brown, who has impaired vision, would have trouble watching anyway.
More recently, Obama summoned Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, permitted no photographs, laid down non-negotiable demands and went off to dinner.
Some may attribute these slights to biases inherited from the men who supplied the titles of Obama's two books. Perhaps like Barack Obama Sr., he regards the British as evil colonialists. Or perhaps like his preacher for 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he regards Israel as an evil oppressor.
But the list of American friends Obama has slighted is long. It includes Poland and the Czech Republic (anti-missile program canceled), Honduras (backing the constitutionally ousted president), Georgia (no support against Russia), and Colombia and South Korea (no action on pending free-trade agreements).
In the meantime, Obama sends yearly greetings to (as he puts it) the Islamic Republic of Iran, exchanges friendly greetings with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, caves to Russian demands on arms control and sends a new ambassador to Syria.
What we're seeing, I think, is a president who shares a view, long held by some on the American left, that the real danger to America often comes from America's allies.
His view on foreign policy has as many Americans ticked at him as are upset with him over the new health care/health insurance law. Since 1979 we haven't had any sort of amicable or friendly relations with Iran. After taking over our embassy, and holding over 50 hostages for 444 days, we ceased all diplomatic relations with the nation of Iran. Kim Jong-Il has been a constant thorn in our side, including reneging on agreed promises not to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Putin, as president of Russia, and now prime minister, has consistently tested our relations, including the incursion into Georgia back in 2008.
For some odd reason, as Mr. Barone points out, he's purposefully snubbing our allies. His treatment of Gordon Brown was written about extensively by pundits, including his insult of handing over 25 DVDs to him as a "gift" that only one in the ghetto would truly appreciate. I mean, it's not like Mr. Brown gave him anything special, right?
The Prime Minister gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet.
The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.
Mr Brown also handed over a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.
His blowing off of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of America's second-best ally, was deplorable. The snub can be traced back to Mr. Netanyahu's refusal to kowtow to Barry's wishes to stop the building of settlements. Not in the West Bank, mind you, but in Jerusalem! That's Israel's capital, and the Israelis have every right to do with it as they see fit. Our president has no right to demand that Israel bow to his wishes. If he wanted to do something like that, he should emigrate to Israel, and run to be their prime minister.
The fact remains that Barry seems to think that if we extend a hand, talk nice, and make concessions to our adversaries that everything will be crimson and closer with them. they'll give up their tyrannical, evil ways, and we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. That's not how things work. We have enemies in this world that would love nothing more than to see this great republic fall, regardless of the shock waves it would send cascading across the globe.
Barry is either clueless on our foreign policy, or he's deliberately acting in a belligerent fashion towards our allies. Poland and the Czech Republic weren't happy to see how Barry handled the invasion of Georgia, nor were they pleased to see Barry renege on a promise made by President Bush for a missile defense system. The betrayal was due to Putin's demands that we not install the system in either nation; he deemed it to be a threat to the Russian Federation. (We were protecting them, preemptively, from the possibility of Iranian nuclear strikes on Eastern Europe.) He demands that Israel give away the store in peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by the terrorist organization Hamas. (In February of 2009, the Omnibus Appropriations bill proposed $900 million in foreign aid to Gaza. That appropriations bill passed, and we, in effect, were supplying monetary assistance to a terrorist group.)
Barry doesn't get it. His worldview is extremely skewed. It's fine to try and negotiate sensible, secure relations with these nations in an effort to change our relations. But it's clear these adversarial nations care little for the carrots we extend to them even as we reassure them there is no stick coming when they bite us. And in the meantime he's taking a stick to our allies because, apparently, he does believe they are our problem.
Strange world we live in, no?