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November 16, 2009

NYT: Europe Whines That Obama's a Distant and Cold Boyfriend

I don't know what is more appalling: The way Europe continues to whine for attention, or the fact that Obama is giving the back of the hand to still-somewhat-serious nations.

The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy, but an enemy that's fun to quote.

Now, Denis MacShane, a former British minister for Europe, who met with other Atlanticists at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Edinburgh over the weekend, describes the circumstances this way: “There’s a growing worry everywhere in Europe that we have the first U.S. president since 1945 to show no interest in what’s happening on this side of the relationship.”


;The Administration's attitude is] not what you’d call an embrace. It’s reinforcement for the idea that the president over his first year in office has shunned, or taken for granted, Europe’s initial burst of affection for him. The fallout — either attributed to the private comments of European leaders, or reflected in major editorial voices — is an expression of skepticism about Mr. Obama’s capabilities and the depth of the change he claims to represent.

In Germany, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a newspaper that knows Chancellor Angela Merkel well, has written ironically of how little has changed, outside atmospherics, from the Bush to Obama administrations in attitudes toward Germany.....

In France, the tone has been harsher. Olivier Debouzy, a lawyer and former French Foreign Ministry official, wrote last week that foreign governments were “opaque” for Mr. Obama because he projected his own notion of American rationality on them. Mr. Debouzy asserted that the president also showed a sense of his and America’s superiority to foreign leaders.

“He expresses this by holding himself at a distance from them, which is unusual for an American political figure,” Mr. Debouzy wrote. “It makes personal relations with him complicated, a fact attested to by more than one European chief of state or government.”

The current issue of Le Canard Enchaîné, the controversy-loving French political weekly, which specializes in putting direct quotes into the mouths of French politicians — regarded with interest here although not as verbatim scripture — has President Nicolas Sarkozy saying:

“The truth is that Bush was more interested in Europe than Obama. Obama is very disappointing in terms of foreign policy. It’s not only with me that relations are difficult. It’s the same with Merkel and Brown. The words have changed. The hand was extended. But no one has grasped it.”

The French, it's noted, view Obama as "stalling" on Iran and "dithering" on Afghanistan.

Well, they sure hated the hip-shootin' cowboy from Texas, didn't they? They got what they said they wanted and they hate that even more.

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posted by Ace at 03:31 PM

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