Remember all those polls during the Presidential Campaign, how Europe desperately wanted Barack Obama to win. How the European leadership fawned over Obama when he made his summer tour tour around the world? One of the President’s campaign promises was that he was going to “repair” our relationship with Europe (as if they needed to be repaired).
Ever since he was inaugurated, President Obama has done his best to diss our allies in Europe. There was that famous “non joint press conference” when Gordon Brown came to visit, refusing Nicolas Sarkozy offer to share a meal when Obama was a guest in the country and his economic battles with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Last week the German magazine Der Spiegel wrote an article wondering if Merkel and Obama were frienemies.
Almost six month into the Obama Presidency, our “relationship repairer-in-chief” has done more to increase the divide between Europe and the US than to bring us together:
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By RALPH PETERS
WHEN Europeans wish upon a star, they get an American president with a huge Third World chip on his shoulder.
Those “sophisticated” Europeans dismissed “cowboy” Bush as a rube beneath their contempt. If the continent’s opinion-makers could’ve changed their voter registrations, they would’ve flown to Chicago to vote for Barack Obama last fall.
They got what they wanted. But it isn’t what they expected.
President Obama may be the least Europe-friendly occupant of the White House since James Monroe (the guy who put up a “Keep Out!” sign on our hemisphere). Bam clearly doesn’t like Europeans.
A big chill has hit the trans-Atlantic atmosphere. Beyond the perfunctory grip-and-grins at Saturday’s D-Day commemoration, there was no bonhomie between European leaders and our celebrity prez.
Nor can the somber setting — or even the raw sea breeze — be blamed for the dour mood in Normandy. The president and first lady maintained their own self-absorbed bubble, enchanted with being the Obamas. President George W. Bush may have been inarticulate, but the Obamas were ungracious.
The new ice age was also evident during Bam’s stop in Germany. Walking or standing side by side, he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel looked like a couple going through a brutal divorce who got caught in the same elevator on the way to meet their lawyers.
In France, Obama brushed off Nicolas Sarkozy, the most pro-American president to occupy the Elysée Palace in my lifetime. Sarkozy had to beg for a meeting.
And Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been treated as though the British just burned the White House — or a Kenyan village — last week.
One of the left’s high-pitched battle cries during last year’s election was: “Restore our good relations with Europe!” Welcome to reality.
The Obamas remain celebrities among some European populations. But “Old Europe’s” elected leaders are the canaries in the coal mine. And their beaks look ashen.
Even in his blame-us Cairo speech, Obama’s mention of women’s rights was aimed not at Middle Eastern savagery, but at France — where headscarves can’t be worn in public schools.
That’s rich. Our president praised the “wisdom” of King Abdullah, ignoring Saudi Arabia’s hideous treatment of women, but whacked Europeans for insisting that heads — and identities — should go uncovered in free societies.
If scarves, hijabs and chadors are so great, why didn’t our first lady go to Saudi Arabia and give us a fashion show?
Our president also noted that European imperialism did great harm to the Middle East. He neglected to mention that Muslim imperialism butchered Balkan Christians up to the eve of World War I.
Anyway, Bush’s problems weren’t really with Europe — only with Germany and France, both of which had been profiting hugely from business deals with Saddam. Most of Europe stood with us. France and Germany then voted in conservative governments.
Where are the complaints about Obama slighting Europe? He’s stiff-armed every major European leader except Russia’s new czar, Vladimir Putin — the one quasi-European figure the administration hastened to embrace.
Our relations with Europe were better in Bush’s second term than today. The Obama administration bullies allies on economic policy, favors Muslim immigrants in internal disputes, insists (against the wishes of Europe’s voters) that Turkey be admitted to the European Union and excludes traditional partners from foreign-policy initiatives.
In the past, our policy often has been too Euro-centric. But we need a useful balance, not a trans-Atlantic Cold War.
Obama just seems to have it in for Europe on a personal level.
Much of our president’s youth was spent in the Third World; his closest relatives viewed events through a wacky leftist lens — and he sat for decades in a church whose pastor ranted against Jews, “racist” America and our foreign policy. It would be astonishing if Obama hadn’t internalized such views by sheer osmosis.
The evidence of our president’s preferences is on the video record: Compare his upbeat body language and smiles as he embraces Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez or the Saudi king with the scowls he offers European leaders.
Our president not only identifies with the Third World, but with a romanticized Third World whose failings are all the West’s fault. It’s the typical view of an undergraduate leftist — in 1979.
Europe is going to miss George W. Bush.