Jewish World Review April 23, 2012/ 1 Iyar, 5772
Obama the loser: His arrogance, ignorance and laziness have led to failed policies
By Jack Kelly
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At the Summit of the Americas in Colombia Monday, President Barack Obama called for dialogue between Britain and Argentina over "the Maldives or the Falklands, whatever your preferred term."
The Maldives are islands off the east coast of Africa. The islands in the South Atlantic over which Britain and Argentina fought a war in 1982 are called the Malvinas by the Argentines and the Falklands by the British.
"Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic error, more akin to those of his predecessor George W. Bush, by referring to the Falkland Islands as the Maldives," said the London Telegraph. This was wrong on both counts.
The error was by no means uncharacteristic of Mr. Obama:
• Last November, the president condemned the assault by Iranian thugs on the "English" embassy. Since 1707, when England, Scotland and Wales formed the United Kingdom, it's been the British embassy.
• Mexicans were among those here "long before America was even an idea," Mr. Obama said in September 2010. Mexico declared its independence in 1810; the United States in 1776.
• The president told a NATO summit in Strasbourg, France, in April 2009 that he didn't speak "Austrian." Austrians speak German.
• He'd call "the president of Canada" to try to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Obama said at an AFL-CIO forum in Chicago in 2007. Canada has a prime minister.
George W. Bush was famous for his fractured syntax. But neither he nor any other modern president has displayed such ignorance of history and geography.
A Danish newsman noted that Mr. Obama uses the same canned phrases in his news conferences with foreign leaders. Denmark, Norway, Holland, Ireland and the Philippines all "punch above their weight." Holland, Australia, Poland, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea all are "one of our closest and strongest allies."
Speaking to Democratic donors in California last September, Mr. Obama placed much of the blame for America's continuing economic troubles on how Europe has handled its debt crisis. His lecture was "overbearing, arrogant and absurd," said the German newsmagazine Das Bild (The Picture). "The president's scolding is a pathetic attempt to distract attention from his own failures. How embarrassing."
The worst part of Mr. Obama's gaffe in Colombia was that he showed no preference between calling the islands off Argentina the Falklands or the Malvinas.
The Falklands are a British Overseas Territory. Ninety percent of its residents are descendants of the original British settlers, who first arrived in 1765. They want nothing to do with Argentina, whose claim has little support in international law.
"Obama is 'neutral' over the sovereignty of islands that British troops, with American support, fought and died for at a time when British troops are fighting and dying alongside their American comrades in Afghanistan," wrote Toby Harnden in the London Daily Mail. "What a way to treat the foremost ally of the United States."
Betraying our friends has been the theme of Mr. Obama's foreign policy. Relations with Israel are the worst ever. The Poles remember vividly the viciousness of the Russian bear. They were concerned when the president cancelled installation of missile defenses in Poland and alarmed when he indicated to Russia's president last month he'll make further concessions if he is re-elected. He canceled the missile program on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, by the way, which added insult to injury.
U.S. interests have suffered almost everywhere. Canada is miffed by cancellation of the Keystone pipeline; Mexico by the ATF gun scandal. More Americans have been killed in Afghanistan during Mr. Obama's term than in Mr. Bush's two -- apparently for nothing. Relations with both India and Pakistan have soured, which is remarkable, since they hate each other. Islamists are about to seize power in Egypt and in Libya, where last year the president waged a war of dubious legality. The situation in Iran is so terrifying it rates a column of its own.
President Obama's failed policies, and his arrogance, ignorance and laziness have dimmed respect for him abroad. As Nile Gardiner of the London Telegraph put it: "Bush looks increasingly like a Kissinger or Metternich on foreign affairs when compared to the gaffe-prone Barack Obama."
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.
© 2011, Jack Kelly