Obama's European tour: Arrogance, ineptness and an abdication of leadership
By Frank Salvato
web posted April 13, 2009
Many observations have been made regarding President Barack Obama's recent trip overseas. Most of them have been quite severe and rightly so. His many "appearances" bore a striking resemblance to his nauseatingly long campaign for the presidency; a campaign devoid of specifics and substance and rich with swagger and rhetoric. Note to President Obama: The campaign is over and – as you like to throw in the faces of the Republican opposition in Washington DC – you won. It's time to lead.
Perhaps the most disappointing element of President Obama's overseas failure was the fact that his handlers kept redefining what a successful trip would be. Initially, touting his "superior powers of oratory persuasion," his handlers claimed that Mr. Obama would acquire more military assistance for the efforts in Afghanistan and now Pakistan, persuade a now fiscally conservative EU to inject more funds into stimulating the world economy and engage world leaders in a way that would reclaim the United States' esteem in the world. Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Obama's spin doctors claimed a successful trip because, "...well, gee, everyone liked the president and, well, that's what it's all about, isn't it?...being liked?"
The truth of the matter is that while the European and Middle Eastern leaders smiled and patted Mr. Obama on the back, they gave him nothing. Pledges of military support for Afghanistan and Pakistan were minimal and excluded any battlefield contributions. Germany and France rejected any notion of infusing more capital into the world economy, instead demanding more oversight and regulation. And, as Mr. Obama pledged to deplete the US nuclear arsenal in his meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia and China refused to endorse any action against North Korea on hearing that the Communist nation had illegally test launched an intercontinental missile.
With regard to protocol, the trip can only be rated a disaster. That Mr. Obama's staff and advisors either ignored international protocols as they pertain to the interaction with world leaders and potentates or disregarded them as unnecessary, should stand in testimony to both their arrogance and ineptness. Mr. Obama's staff and advisors – his handlers – placed the Obama's in the precarious position of having insulted our closest allies, the British, when First Lady Michelle Obama touched the Queen of England on the back during a photo opportunity. And more alarmingly, Mr. Obama was not counseled by his handlers on the message that would be sent to not only the Arab states but the entire world with his bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. In the Arab culture, bowing is considered an act of subservience. That the President of the United States would bow to the King of Saudi Arabia is to send the message that our nation is lesser in importance and stature than Saudi Arabia. It is for this very reason that official protocol for the President of the United States calls for the president to bow to no world leaders. And no, the American people are not stupid enough to accept the pathetic excuse provided by the now untrustworthy White House spin core that Mr. Obama was simply trying to shake the hand of a man much shorter than he.
Then there was the message he delivered via his "superior oratory skills," calling the nation that elected him to office "arrogant." With this statement Mr. Obama insulted the citizens of his nation and created an embarrassing situation for pro-American allies all over the world. How are world leaders who have stood by the United States, not only in the global war against radical Islam but on the economic crisis, supposed to justify their support of US policies when the President of the United States is apologizing for actions taken by the US in the world? The visionlessness of his need to apologize for fictitious wrongs perpetrated at the hands of US policy is stunning.
Mr. Obama continued to stumble his way across Europe when he told a crowd in Turkey that the United States of America "is not and never will be at war with Islam." Setting aside the fact that Mr. Obama is a human and not gifted with the ability to see into the future, the fact remains that the United States, along with several other countries, are already at war with a well-defined faction of the Islamic religion, the jihadi fundamentalists of Islam. It would seem that Mr. Obama, his advisors and handlers want to disregard the fact that fundamentalist Islamists use a strict interpretation of their Islamic faith to justify not only violence against the West – against the infidel – but violence in pursuit of the conquest of the world in the establishment of a global Caliphate. These assertions are not the musings of the Islamophobic but the recounting of myriad statements made by radically fundamentalist Islamic leaders the likes of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mashud, Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal & Ismail Haniyah, and al Qaeda's Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, to name but a few. Mr. Obama's statement, meant to ingratiate the US to the Arab nations, served as testimony to his ignorance, his dedication to appeasement, complicity or all three.
Mr. Obama persisted in his blunderfest in stating:
"We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."
Any child who has paid attention in Social Studies class understands that the "values and ideals" set forth in the Charters of Freedom by our Founders and Framers were directly derived from Judeo-Christian ethics and Natural Law. Therefore, while our nation is fortunate enough to exist (at least for the time being) under the protective authority of the First Amendment in that we have no established State religion; we most certainly are a nation whose society is based on Judeo-Christian doctrine. Mr. Obama was correct, however, in saying that we are not a Muslim nation.
But perhaps the most insulting, the most unnecessary and the most infuriating moment came when Mr. Obama refused – refused – to pay his respects to the fallen US soldiers of World War II at Normandy, France, doing so under the pathetic guise of not wanting to "offend" Britain and Germany. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had literally bent-over-backwards to facilitate the trip and homage but Mr. Obama and his handlers felt it more important to advance a "feel good," politically correct, strategy of one-world placation. The question begs to be asked: How in the world does paying your respects to fallen US soldiers have anything to do with offending foreign leaders? Mr. Obama's handlers have since scrambled to spin the damage away by issuing a statement that President Obama has tentatively scheduled a trip to France for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings...that is if nothing pressing like a primetime press conference or another government corporate takeover emergency arises.
President Obama's "Insult & Apology Tour 2009" did shed the spotlight on one thing. President Obama seems to not want to lead; it appears that Mr. Obama is more comfortable "campaigning" than he is leading.
▪ Mr. Obama abdicated his leadership role with regard to the so-called "Stimulus Bill" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He allowed Pelosi to craft the legislation behind closed doors and with little-to-no input from the opposition party. Then Pelosi and Reid twisted arms and threatened isolation on the House and Senate floors to achieve enough votes to pass the most outrageous raid on the US Treasury in the history of our country.
▪ Mr. Obama abdicated his leadership role with regard to the TARP initiative and the government corporate raider takeovers of financial institutions and private companies to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. It is Geithner, not Obama, who is manhandling banks and automakers. It was Geithner who strong-armed healthy financial institutions into taking unneeded TARP money and who refuses to allow healthy financial institutions to pay back the money they were forced to take. It was Geithner who coerced automakers into changing corporate leadership and aligning with specific foreign automakers under threat of the only alternative, bankruptcy.
▪ Mr. Obama, on his recent trip to the G20 and NATO summits, repeatedly and continuously tried to remove the presidency and the United States from the role of leadership on the world stage, instead opting for an "equal" position as a member of the pack; a pack that has individually and collectively, over the history of our nation, appealed for aid and assistance in achieving their survival in the face of despotism, tyranny and conquest.
In a world that sees a European community reaping the devastating by-product of the failed ideology of Socialist multiculturalism, presenting in the demise of their national identities via cultural infiltration, why would the American people want to be an "equal" in a "pack" whose very existence is "circling the drain?"
Our country – and the world – needs a strong leader: a leader with enough vision to see a future of freedom and liberty for all; a leader with enough vision to understand evil and opportunism when he or she sees it; a leader who doesn't aspire to be "one of the crowd." Mr. Obama is not that leader. In fact, he is not a leader at all. He is a campaigner, manufactured by political operatives and marketed by media spin doctors who was foisted upon the American Electorate as the "great hyped hope." In fact, he is simply another opportunistic Chicago Democrat politician attempting to set-up a behemoth special interest patronage system that will assure his second term in office. He's just an over-glorified community organizer and one who is unmercifully out of his league in his station as the President of the United States.
Mr. Obama has proven with this first foreign trip that he is not the leader the world needs. He has proven, through his abdication of leadership with regard to domestic initiatives that he is not the leader our country needs. It is time that the wishful thinkers and the Obama "just give him a chance" apologists face reality: Obama was the wrong choice.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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