I've held off writing about my various misgivings about President Obama and his team of super-competent staffers and cabinet members for many reasons, but I've been considering his "outreach" efforts to the rest of the world and I'm finding myself embarrassed. Remember during the campaign how, it was argued, Obama would restore our place in the world, healing the rifts made between us and our closest allies? All it seems, lately, is that Obama is better at alienating them than anything else.
He's been in office two months, and let's look at the record:
1. First, there's Hilary Clinton's gag gift which she gave to the Russian Foreign Minister. It was a "reset button" in a box, to indicate that we wanted to "reset" our relationship with Russia (As an aside, can these people spend five minutes not criticizing the previous administration?). Considering how symbolic a gift this was supposed to be, you'd think that someone in her department would have at least been able to get the Russian translation of "reset" correct.
2. Obama scheduled a meeting with the Brazilian president on St. Patrick's Day, then rescheduled the meeting because he somehow forgot that he already had plans with the Irish Prime Minister. Oops. What happened afterwards is icing on the cake, so to speak.
3. The Japanese Prime Minister was the first foreign dignitary to visit President Obama after his election, and apparently couldn't be bothered to even let him stay in the White House guest house, much less treat it like it was an important visit. What kind of diplomacy is it to make the Japanese PM rent a room at the Best Western?
4. The biggie, the one you probably already know about: Britain's Prime Minister comes to visit, and he comes bearing gifts of great significance. How does Obama relate to our oldest ally? Not only does he treat the visit with the same lack of pomp and circumstance as he did with the Japanese PM's visit, but he gives PM Brown a rather insulting gift: A DVD box set! Twenty-five classic American films . . . what a delight. On top of all that, the DVDs are region-specific, and don't even work in British DVD players!
If someone wants to say, "Hey, inexperienced politicians have growing pains," fine. Not that there weren't ample arguments about how inexperienced and unprepared this guy was when he started running for office, but whatever. Still, this guy was supposed to be the one who healed our relationships with the rest of the world, and this is how he treats the people who like us?
Gracious, are there any adults in charge in the White House?
Geez man, if you can't even play nice with the French, who can you play nice with?