Had Europe been able to vote last November’s presidential elections, Obama would have swept into office with a vote above 95%. Over there, they loved him. He was the antithesis of the ugly American who rode into town and imposed law. This was a guy who would be kind and gentle, and extremely deferential to their European-ish-ness.
Today, though, a year after the election, all is not good in Europe-land. Sensible people are realizing that Obama is leaving them exposed to some pretty nasty dangers centered in Russia and Iran. And the European Left, just like the Left at home, is deeply disappointed that he is both less radical and less effective than their dream politician:
For a host of reasons however, President Obama is increasingly viewed by his natural allies in Europe- the left-wing intelligentsia in particular – as a mounting disappointment, whether it is dithering over attending the climate change summit in Copenhagen, supposedly ignoring the momentous changes within the European Union, making little progress with the Middle East peace process, adopting protectionist trade policies, a lack of commitment to human rights, the list goes on.
Significantly, there have even been some attacks from the left on Obama’s failure of leadership on Afghanistan. No matter how hard Obama tries to appease his supporters in Europe by presenting American power in a softer light, the president of the United States is still going to let down those who backed him most strongly.
It’s bad enough being berated from across the Atlantic by the President of France for being a big softy and failing to stand up to the Iranian nuclear threat. But being taken to task by European intellectuals is even more humbling for a US leader who attaches just as much importance to how he is perceived on the world stage, as he does to domestic popularity.
Even worse, unlike Bush, who tried to boss Europe around, Obama is ignoring Europe:
I was particularly struck by an interesting Guardian piece written by arch Euro-federalist historian Timothy Garton Ash last month, which actually claimed that while Obama “is the most European president” there has ever been, he is also “the least European president of the United States that there has ever been” – less European even than George W. Bush, according to the Oxford don. As Garton Ash eloquently put it:
“Unlike during the cold war, the United States is not focused on Europe and does not regard helping to build a strong, united Europe as being among its own vital interests. Europeans may continue to feel that Obama is “one of us”; and in one way he is, but in another way he isn’t – and he certainly won’t do our work for us. If we Europeans want to get our act together, we must get our act together.”
You can read more about Europe’s Obama woes here.
As Sadie, who sent me this link, said, “President Bush might not have been loved in Europe, but at least he was feared by his enemies and strategic competitors and respected by US allies.”
My friend Don Quixote also had an interesting comment when I told him about the above article: “Couldn’t they have seen this coming? It was so obvious during the campaign?” Because he’s been a lifelong conservative, and is anything but an ideologue, Don Quixote truly doesn’t understand what was going on. I do understanding. For Europe to have seen “this” (meaning the Obama meltdown) coming, would have meant that Europeans would actually have had to think about Obama, his ideas and his values. For knee-jerk liberals (and even Europe’s self-styled intellectuals are knee-jerk in their liberalism), thought has nothing to do with it. We anoint someone, and we worship at their liberal altar. There is no intelletualization involved.
I know that liberalism means faith first, thought after, because I always voted for and championed Democrats without having the slightest idea what they stood for. It was enough that I was a Democrat and so were they. What horrified me, and what I ran from for so many years was the fact that, when I actually thought about an issue, I invariably came out on the conservative side of the equation. This was untenable and, rather than re-examining my politics, I stopped thinking.
Well, I’m thinking now and I hope that other Americans — presented with the spectacle of the worst unemployment in 26 years (and Obama owns this economy now), with rising aggression from Russia and Iran, with political correctness run amok, and with a guy who giggles at the unemployed and does friendly shout-outs before addressing the death and injury of dozens under his command — might start thinking themselves and stop hiding from all the horrible fallacies inherent in modern liberalism.