On the other side of the Pond they look at these things differently. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds we get a link to an expert filleting by Walter Russell Mead of the Obama foreign policy.
The health care win has given the President his mojo back at home, but things overseas are still looking grim. We are neglecting or quarreling with our friends and reaching out to our enemies — but neither policy is yielding much in the way of results.Actually, I am not at all sure about that mojo back home. The popularity ratings say otherwise and the fact that the Democrats are spending their time shrilly and viciously attacking the Obamacare opponents instead of explaining what a wonderful development it is do not make one feel that the mojo is at all well. But when it comes to foreign relations Walter Russell Mead is spot on as even our own Boy-king of our own Conservative Party has noticed.
The latest case is Canada; on a visit to Ottawa to discuss Arctic policy with Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly criticized the Canadians for failing to invite all eight members of the Arctic Council to the consultation. Iceland, Finland and Sweden were miffed at being excluded. This was all very well and no doubt deserved; the next day, however, the Canadian Foreign Minister rejected Secretary Clinton’s pleas and announced that Canada will be ending its Afghan mission next year.
I don’t blame any American diplomat for seizing the opportunity to criticize Canada for its lack of sensitivity and inclusiveness; they do it to us all the time and I don’t see why the Canadians should have all the fun. Let’s criticize them for riding roughshod over the rights of small countries and native peoples now and then just to let them know how pointless and infuriating that kind of self-righteous and empty posturing can be. Even so, lecturing one day and begging in vain on the morrow isn’t the most dignified diplomatic posture an American secretary of state can assume. And the pattern of poor relations with close allies is disturbing. Currently embroiled in a quarrel with Israel over Jewish housing construction in East Jerusalem, the administration recently angered the EU by refusing to attend a summit in Madrid, embarrassed Britain by seeming to side with Argentina over negotiations over the Falklands Islands, canceled an invitation to Afghanistan’s President Karzai, and cheesed off Brazil when President Obama made his last minute, ill-fated dash to Copenhagen to snatch the 2016 Olympics from Rio. And where the administration hasn’t figured out a way to insult an old ally, Congress steps in — this time by passing another version of the Armenian genocide resolution through a key House committee.
As Professor Reynolds says:
Where’s that “smart diplomacy” we were promised?Indeed. As the rest of the Mead blog explains, Obama is ending up with many of Bush's old policies as far as Iran, China and Cuba are concerned. One day he might return to Bush's policies towards America's friends as well.