Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Shine Is Tarnishing - The True Obama Appears

Well, it seems like it is finally happening. The world community to which Obama pandered during the campaign is starting to realize what many Americans now know (and some of us always did): He's not all he's cracked up to be.

In this article from Spiegel, "Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage", they seem to finally be cluing in:
When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.

There were only a few hours left before Air Force One was scheduled to depart for the flight home. US President Barack Obama trip through Asia had already seen him travel 24,000 kilometers, sit through a dozen state banquets, climb the Great Wall of China and shake hands with Korean children. It was high time to take stock of the trip.

Barack Obama looked tired on Thursday, as he stood in the Blue House in Seoul, the official residence of the South Korean president. He also seemed irritable and even slightly forlorn. The CNN cameras had already been set up. But then Obama decided not to play along, and not to answer the question he had already been asked several times on his trip: what did he plan to take home with him? Instead, he simply said "thank you, guys," and disappeared. David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, fielded the journalists' questions in the hallway of the Blue House instead, telling them that the public's expectations had been "too high."

The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.

The "first Pacific president" - please. Could this man possibly have a more inflated sense of himself?? Not to interrupt myself or anything, but check out what Charles Krauthammer had to say about that false claim:

"First Pacific President," indeed. Please.

Back to the "Emperor Has No Clothes" article:
Lost Some Stature

Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.

In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.

The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences.

Understand this: when the author writes that the "White House did not even stand up for itself..." it means that the White House is not standing up for US, the American people. And Obama doing a press conference when Bush had managed to get out of them - for eight years - shows again how woefully inept and ill-prepared Obama is, even in comparison to Bush.

So, just what did Obama accomplish? Not a whole lot:
Relatively Unsuccessful

A look back in time reveals the differences. When former President Bill Clinton went to China in June 1998, Beijing wanted to impress the Americans. A press conference in the Great Hall of the People, broadcast on television as a 70-minute live discussion, became a sensation the world over. Clinton mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when the government used tanks against protestors. But then President Jiang Zemin defended the tough approach taken by the Chinese Communists. At the end of the exchange, the Chinese president praised the debate and said: "I believe this is democracy!"

Obama visited a new China, an economic power that is now making its own demands. America should clean up its government finances, and the weak dollar is unacceptable, the head of the Chinese banking authority said, just as Obama's plane was about to land.

Obama's new foreign policy has also been relatively unsuccessful elsewhere, with even friends like Israel leaving him high and dry. For the government of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, peace is only conceivable under its terms. Netanyahu has rejected Obama's call for a complete moratorium on the construction of settlements. As a result, Obama has nothing to offer the Palestinians and the Syrians. "We thought we had some leverage," says Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel under the Clinton administration and now an advisor to Obama. "But that proved to be an illusion."

Even the president seems to have lost his faith in a genial foreign policy. The approach that was being used in Afghanistan this spring, with its strong emphasis on civilian reconstruction, is already being changed. "We're searching for an exit strategy," said a staff member with the National Security Council on the sidelines of the Asia trip.

Gee, you mean that whole experience thing about which Hillary Clinton, then John McCain, spoke actually MEANT something?? Good grief. Show of hands of how many of us tried to tell them: Yep, that's what I thought.

There is probably one person on the face of the earth who is going to think this is a good comparison, and you'll know who right now:
'A Lot Like Jimmy Carter'

An end to diplomacy is also taking shape in Washington's policy toward Tehran. It is now up to Iran, Obama said, to convince the world that its nuclear power is peaceful. While in Asia, Obama mentioned "consequences" unless it followed his advice. This puts the president, in his tenth month in office, where Bush began -- with threats. "Time is running out," Obama said in Korea. It was the same phrase Bush used against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, shortly before he sent in the bombers.

There are many indications that the man in charge at the White House will take a tougher stance in the future. Obama's advisors fear a comparison with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, even more than with Bush. Prominent Republicans have already tried to liken Obama to the humanitarian from Georgia, who lost in his bid to win a second term, because voters felt that he was too soft. "Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead," Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, recently said. And then he added: "This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter." (Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan)

Given how much water Jimmy Carter has carried for Oama, even disparaging the BEST Democratic candidate to do so, I just wonder how he will feel when he discovers Obama fears being compared to him more than George W. Bush??? You know I used to love Jimmy Carter until he started to trash Hillary Clinton, and called a bunch of us a bunch of racists. But I bet he didn't see that coming for all the backstabbing he did. Welcome to the "Under The Bus" club, President Carter. It was only a matter of time.

It was also only a matter of time before the shine started to tarnish. But even more than that, this man is supposed to be working on behalf of our nation. The work he is doing is what many of us knew was going to happen from someone so wet behind the ears, so concerned what people thought of HIM rather than being concerned about what he could do for the people. Not only do we know it, but now the world knows it. Even more than that, they know they can do pretty much as they wish since Obama doesn't have the chops to stand up to them. Well, that's just jake, isn't it?

Is it 2012 yet?


Mary Ellen said...

"We thought we had some leverage," says Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel under the Clinton administration and now an advisor to Obama. "But that proved to be an illusion."

Exactly...we all said that everything Obama said on the campaign trail was all an illusion.

Whenever Obama gets his ass in a sling, he calls on the Clinton's to bail him out. Even with the health care mess...he called in Bill Clinton to do some arm twisting on the Hill.

And of course, Obama STILL continues to keep Hillary out of the picture and when she does help him, you never hear him publicly praise her for her work as Bush did when Condi Rice was SOS.

I can understand why Hillary wanted to be SOS, she is doing it because she loves our country and she thinks she can help us with foreign policy issues that are so important these days. But Bill? Why does he knock himself out to step in to clean up Obama's mess with health care? He should just tell him to shove off.

Great post, Amy. ;-)

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

EXCELLENT question, Mary Ellen. I don't know why Bill is doing it, either, after the way Obama himself treated both Bill and Hillary. I know Bill has said that when the president of the United States asks you to do something, you generally do your damndest to do it. But still - it makes me sick the way they carry water for him.

And you are so right abt Hillary - she is doing what she thinks is best for the country, and doing it well. It is STARTLING that a Dem. president treats a SOS with such disregard. Bill Clinton treated Allbright very well, and Bush, as you mentioned treated Rice well. Yet Obama is too petty and small to do likewise. He seems to think if he acknowledges what a great job she is doing, everyone will see what a crappy job HE Is doing. And we know it is ALL abt him...

Great comment, ME!