Tuesday, June 2, 2009

They're at it again!

I will be the first to admit that as a forty-something, I am too prone to "senior moments" for my liking. But I think I remember hearing something about then-Sen. Barack Obama wanting to "raise America's standing in the world," particularly with her allies. And I am certainly sentient enough to gather that - like other promises - this was one that Obama broke almost as soon as he made it.

As discussed elsewhere, Obama's foreign policy is remarkable in that it seeks to placate the Chavez-Ahmedinejad-Castro genre of world leaders, while rebuffing longstanding allies like Great Britain. We recall Obama's thoughtless treatment of Prime Minister Gordon Brown during Brown's visit to Washington earlier this year (i.e.: DVD-gate), as well as the return of the Winston Churchill bust that was loaned to the White House by the British after 9/11.

The kicker - at least up to that point - was a comment attributed to an unnamed State Department official when asked by a reporter from Britain's Sunday Telegraph why the White House reception of Brown was so "low-key."

The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment."
These and similar snubs of other allies now put to lie the notion that the Obama administration would breathe new life into our relations with other countries.

They're at it again.

As recently as last week, the Obamabots were dissing the British press. According to Politico, Press Secretary Robert "I'm in over my head" Gibbs responded to a press query about a report in the Telegraph suggesting that there exist "photos of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners that include images of rape and sexual abuse" thusly:
"I want to speak generally about some reports I've witnessed over the past few years in the British media," Gibbs said. "In some ways, I'm surprised it filtered down."

"Let's just say if I wanted to look up, if I wanted to read a write-up of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I might open up a British newspaper," he continued. "If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be the first pack of clips I'd pick up.
As you might imagine, the British press, particularly the Telegraph, is fit to be tied.

Can you imagine Gibbs making these remarks about The New York Times or The Washington Post, or NBC, ABC or CBS? This would never happen. The British press, especially the Telegraph, has been singled out because they frequently publish articles critical of the Obama administration and are not afraid to take on the status quo in Washington. Increasingly, millions of Americans are turning to online UK news websites for cutting edge reports on American politics and U.S. foreign policy that the mainstream media refuses to cover in the States, especially if it is unflattering to the Obama White House.

Robert Gibbs' completely unwarranted rant against the British press is an absolute disgrace, and the President should disown his views. An unreserved apology by Gibbs is also in order.

For all its talk of "raising America's standing" in the world after the Bush years, the Obama administration is doing a spectacularly bad job of reaching out to its allies. Unfortunately this is the new face of America's public diplomacy, which will only serve to alienate public opinion across the Atlantic. (Emphasis added.)
It makes some sense that Mr. Gibbs would be a bit perturbed with the denizens of Fleet Street. The unanswered question is what lies behind Obama's singular obsession with alienating longstanding stawlarts of the United States, be they across the pond or situated elsewhere. His administration's ham-handed treatment of Benjamin Netanyahu
is now a threat to the stability of the Israeli government and represents another glaring example of this fixation with stiffing old friends. One would be forgiven for suspecting that Obama's rush to throw out the Bush administration's bathwater will lead to the loss of more than a few friendly babies.

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