Patterico's Pontifications

4/3/2009

President Softee

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:50 am



[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama, unable to resist campaign-style events, even in foreign countries, sucks up to a German and French “town hall” audience:

In his opening remarks, he underscored European and American ties and appeared intent on improving the U.S. image abroad, which suffered under George W. Bush. “I’ve come to Europe this week to renew our partnership,” Obama said, bluntly claiming that the relationship between the United States and Europe had gone adrift, with blame on both sides.

“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world,” Obama said.

Instead of celebrating Europe’s dynamic union and seeking to work with you, Obama said, “there have been times where America’s shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

“But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual, but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans chose to blame America for much of what’s bad,” Obama said.

He added: “On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth.”

Obama also encouraged Europe to support his new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy.

Meanwhile, off the faux campaign trail, Europe is providing minimal support for the military mission in Afghanistan.

At Foreign Policy, Peter Feaver sums up Pres. Obama’s Big Adventure:

Not too long ago, America wanted Europe to:

  • adopt more American approaches to addressing the global financial crisis;
  • shoulder more of the military and economic load in Afghanistan; and
  • accept more responsibility for holding the detainees currently at Guantanamo Bay.

And Europe wanted the opposite — for America to:

  • adopt more European approaches to addressing the global financial crisis;
  • shoulder more of the military and economic load in Afghanistan; and
  • accept more responsibility for holding the detainees currently at Guantanamo Bay.

These conflicts of interest have been worked out not with hard power tools of threats and intimidation but with soft power tools of shaming and suasion. And the results so far are:

  • America is going to adopt more European approaches to addressing the global financial crisis;
  • America is going to shoulder more of the military and economic load in Afghanistan; and
  • America is going to accept more responsibility for holding the detainees currently at Guantanamo Bay.

My purpose here is not to critique the results. So far, they are more or less what I expected, and I can imagine far more disastrous foreign policy moves than the ones Obama has made thus far. But we should not miss the opportunity to learn a bit of realism that should be obvious to anyone who served in a position of responsibility in American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Soft power is a useful component of foreign policy, but it is a means to an end, not an end in itself. And if you make “being liked” a centerpiece of your foreign policy, you will find your soft power eroding and the soft power of others growing.

One can only imagine what Andrew Sullivan makes of that last sentence.  In any event, America will quickly learn about Europe’s leading role in the world from the growing evidence that Europe likes Obama, but has as little use for his foreign policy as they did the policy of his predecessor.

–Karl

44 Responses to “President Softee”

  1. there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world

    Maybe that’s because THEY DON’T HAVE ONE?

    Sheesh. Dumberer than a sack of Andrews.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  2. Thank you, EW1.

    JD (d9e595)

  3. Karl:

    but has as little use for his foreign policy as they did the policy of his predecessor.

    Whaddya mean? The Yurpeans don’t have Amerikkka’s best interests at heart?

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  4. I thought that American politics were supposed to stop at the water’s edge. I guess that concept never contemplated the American President bashing America while overseas.

    In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world

    It would have to exist, prior to being recognized.

    Instead of celebrating Europe’s dynamic union and seeking to work with you, Obama said, “there have been times where America’s shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

    Breathtaking. Not the least bit surprising, yet breathtaking.

    JD (d9e595)

  5. Europe’s leading role in the world

    Short Obama: “A leading role you’ll soon have with my full support.”

    Vermont Neighbor (dc9c6c)

  6. Baracky is currenty campaigning for the open position of Supreme Power of All Personkind. He worked longer in the Senate before running for Pressydent.

    JD (d9e595)

  7. An incomplete list of Europe’s leading contributions to the modern world (well, since the beginning of the 20th-Century):
    The application of Marxism into political practice;
    The introduction of Fascism into political practice;
    The Final Solution to the Jewish Problem in Europe;
    World War One;
    World War Two;
    The International Communist Movement;
    an ongoing lack of resolve in the face of existential threats…

    AD - RtR/OS (efb8b3)

  8. #2 JD:

    Thank you, EW1.

    Gracious! Thank you!

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  9. #8 Vermont Neighbor:

    ^ And croissants.

    **cough** Er, my Larousse Gastronomique dates croissants to 1686 in Budapest.

    When the Muslims were besieging the city, a little before teh 20th century.

    It really was a good witticism, though.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  10. #10 EW1: …Turks were besieging

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  11. Comment by EW1(SG) — 4/3/2009 @ 12:54 pm

    Would that be one of those pesky ‘Overseas Contingency Operation’(s)?

    AD - RtR/OS (efb8b3)

  12. I forgot about beignets.

    JD (7642d2)

  13. Comment by JD — 4/3/2009 @ 1:04 pm

    My Grandmother made those, but she was from Napoli.

    AD - RtR/OS (efb8b3)

  14. #12 AD:

    Would that be one of those pesky ‘Overseas Contingency Operation’(s)?

    Oh, noes! Why, it never would have happened at all if it hadn’t for the future BushCo & Halliwhosits!

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  15. Thanks, EW. I figured they might have some hidden origin or unknown beginning. A mysterious fable surrounding the actual truth. The legend of Croissant reminds me of:

    Oh
    Basically
    A
    Messiah
    Allegory

    Vermont Neighbor (dc9c6c)

  16. Well, do the French have anything on the menu that they originated? Besides French toast and french fries, of course. [Curious capitalization divergence notwithstanding.]

    Napoli never fails to push this to the frontal lobes:

    George’s aunt could singa nice!

    allan (0f768c)

  17. Allan, did you write months back you were going to survive this thing with your own plan? Is that gold or what did you mean. If this doesn’t make sense/nevermind.

    Vermont Neighbor (dc9c6c)

  18. So the reign of Carter II continues apace, replete with the asshattery and jackasshattery hand – in – hand. What.a.pompous.narcissistic.self-loathing.POTUS.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  19. VN…so far, so good. And precious metals do enter into the equation. But I am loathe to beat any drums, especially my own. I am but a humble sifter of stats, charts, endless ‘insightful’ essays, and sage advice from wise traders/speculators/investors from multiple eras. Currently, I am learning the art of holding one’s ground very nimbly.

    You know, you don’t comment much, yet you manage to get a lot said.

    allan (0f768c)

  20. “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world,” Obama said.

    I can almost accept that statement from our President if he were to immediately follow it up by adding, “And that is why I call upon our allies in Europe to increase their military presence in Afghanistan.” Of course, this is a gentleman who appears to have refined the art of one-way diplomacy — we make concessions and they ask for even more.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  21. The simple equation is ever thus: Europe provides a few token “peacekeeping forces,” safe from harm’s way, while we shed blood in order to help keep them safe. Europe also never contributes money for our massive military expenditures, while our Treasury’s likewise bled dry. It’s akin to having an adolescent sibling for your entire lifetime, one who always complains and never takes any responsibility for themselves.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  22. Every time the man opens his mouth, he diminishes himself. This is harmless foolery except that our enemies are watching and making calculations. Israel is also watching and feels very much alone. He may yet learn that Israel is not a puppet of ours and will do what is necessary to defend itself. The result of this abandonment may be very unpleasant to us. Such as the end of the Age of Petroleum.

    Or maybe that is his intention.

    Mike K (8df289)

  23. thanks, Allan. I was scanning HuffPo this morning and it was depressing. Not because we don’t all agree, but to see the logic. They’re happy because Obama is s0-0 bright and well-spoken. But Bush only got Cs at two Ivys. And worse, on the shameless legacy entry. Not sure, but it’s alum money that makes AA enrollment possible.

    As for the wind-up wonder, we’re forbidden from seeing grades, papers, topics or any type of entrance papers. I understand why some are anti-war. I don’t get the hatred for Palin, who if anything represents the Dem principle of getting up and out of an ordinary setting. Beyond the fear of her depth, there’s hatred of a principle they supposedly embrace. The DNC rules through nannystate, but at some point they’re going to collide with their own d=mn message. Sarah Palin is the blunt force trauma they could do without.

    It’s not good sailing ahead. Gold, guns, cash, Idaho. There’s so much homework to do.

    Vermont Neighbor (dc9c6c)

  24. Every time the man opens his mouth, it costs us a trillion dollars.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  25. Paticia – Pretty soon you’ll be talking about real money, or not so much once hyper inflation sets in.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  26. What could be more arrogant dismissive, and even derisive, not to mention plain stupid, than to claim to love peace and yet refer to the work product of peacemakers as a distraction efforts .

    Terry Gain (6de19d)

  27. Only
    Bullshit
    And
    Mendacious
    Aphorisms

    Terry Gain (6de19d)

  28. […] Obama criticizes America overseas. (Hat Tip: Patterico.) […]

    The Shakedown Administration - adamsweb’s blog - RedState (796605)

  29. Just a tad bitter, are you Karl?
    It shows. In fact, it smells.
    What’s that smell?
    L-O-S-E-R
    What’s that spell? Duh.

    Wanna talk teleprompter? Check the O-response to the question about “American exceptionalism.” And try, just try, doing so with the context in mind. That would be following in the swath (not footsteps) of a doofus trust-fund-cowboy who had been getting over familiar to the point of giving unsolicited/unwanted backrubs to G20 leaders and always saying “I delegate” with “my gut” etc. when asked really tough questions about really tough issues.
    Obama just might be trying a bit of diplomacy where ham-fisted jingoism has poisoned the well. He used something W probably would probably say is a small town in France: nuance.

    Larry Reilly (45e7a4)

  30. Yeah, Larry, let’s check out Obama’s responses to questions … which are so incoherent that even left-wing papers in the UK are ridiculing.

    You really are quite a clueless one.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  31. Obama just might be trying a bit of diplomacy where ham-fisted jingoism has poisoned the well.

    Well, we all seem to replay the tapes in our head. I replay the ones where I left home at 18 and made my way in the world without help. Obama, and Larry, replay the ones where they were supported and encouraged by leftist activists who were more concerned with race or politics than with actual accomplishment.

    I can understand that. Some, who have made their own way in the world, might have more trouble.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  32. Yeah, Obama’s brilliant diplomacy talked the French into giving us 300 flics for Afghanistan.

    Great. Having Afghanistan police trained by French gendarmes. That ought to make the Afghans hate us for the next century.

    Larry really is quite the comedian.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. “He used something W probably would probably say is a small town in France: nuance.”

    Larry – Did he say it in Austrian?

    “At a news conference afterward, Obama said his debut on the international stage had convinced him that “political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate,” where he served before entering the White House.

    “There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austrian — wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics,” he said in response to an Austrian reporter’s question.”

    What a dorkwad compared to Bush.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  34. daleyrocks, Larry isn’t going to get it.

    “Austrian” … hehe.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. Ya know, the Austrian language is less complex to learn than the Swiss language.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  36. John – Austrian does have fewer variations than Swiss.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  37. Is it like like Australian or more like Canadian?

    The sneaky Mediterranean nk (fb48f8)

  38. Well, nk, the first three letters each share would suggest the former …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  39. […] is that our allies are equally taking advantage of the Obama doctrine. On issues as diverse as the global recession, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Europe and NATO have almost entirely rejected Obama’s […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Pres. Obama’s fantasy foreign policy (e2f069)

  40. […] his efforts to date. On issues as diverse as the global recession, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Europe and NATO have almost entirely rejected Obama’s agenda. Israel is at loggerheads with the current […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Democrats close national security gap, follow evil Bush policies (e2f069)

  41. […] is that our allies are equally taking advantage of the Obama doctrine. On issues as diverse as the global recession, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Europe and NATO have almost entirely rejected Obama’s […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Pres. Obama’s fantasy foreign policy (e4ab32)

  42. […] is nice that the WaPo has noted this, though the failure of Pres. Obama’s “soft power” approach has been failing for some time already. Despite the prospect of arms races in Asia and the […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Obama: I, sir, am no Jack Kennedy (e2f069)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2714 secs.