Monday, March 09, 2009

The Obama disgrace

President Obama treats the staunchest enemies of the US with more respect than he does our greatest ally. Obama has treated the British worse than any American president since Andrew Jackson (then a general) won the Battle of New Orleans.

And the Brits have noticed. After all, this is not a good policy prescription, as Iain Martin noted (see link): "the next time you need something doing, something which impinges on your national security, then try calling the French, or the Japanese, or best of all the Germans. The French will be able to offer you first rate support from their catering corps but beyond that you'll be on your own."

Seriously disgraceful, and thoughtless, as Mark Steyn (title link) noted:

British prime minister Gordon Brown thought long and hard about what gift to bring on his visit to the White House last week. Barack Obama is the first African-American president, so the prime minister gave him an ornamental desk-pen holder hewn from the timbers of one of the Royal Navy’s anti-slaving ships of the 19th century, HMS Gannet. Even more appropriate, in 1909 the Gannet was renamed HMS President.

The president’s guest also presented him with the framed commission for HMS Resolute, the lost British ship retrieved from the Arctic and returned by America to London, and whose timbers were used for a thank-you gift Queen Victoria sent to Rutherford Hayes: the handsome desk that now sits in the Oval Office.

And, just to round things out, as a little stocking stuffer, Gordon Brown gave President Obama a first edition of Sir Martin Gilbert’s seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill.

In return, America’s head of state gave the prime minister 25 DVDs of “classic American movies.”

And as Steyn pointed out, but so few others covering the story did, US DVDs don't work on UK DVD players -- they have different codes. So Obama gave Brown 25 unreadable discs. Nice.

Now I have a great deal of faith that our 20-month-old-to-be son can repair the special relationship when we visit London next month just by wandering around and flirting at the English ladies (he looks like his momma, so he's preternaturally cute). But this attitude, which seems to be the Obama Administration's view of the UK, is intolerable and reprehensible:

The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event 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."

If Britain is the same as NKor, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Cuba, who should the free world turn to for leadership now that the US has abandoned its post?

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