March 9, 2009

The U.S. Needs a Reset Button for Britain

While President Barack Obama tries to improve U.S. relations with rogue states like Syria and Iran, he might want to ensure ties with our closest ally aren’t strained in the meantime. Damascus and Tehran will remain hostile as long as they’re ruled by Bashar Assad and Ayatollah Khamenei, but Britain has long been a reliable friend no matter who is in charge. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair forged a strong personal friendship despite their ideological differences, yet President Obama is off to an embarrassing start with his Downing Street counterpart.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown felt half snubbed on his visit to the U.S. a few days ago when he didn’t receive the customary press conference and dinner. According to London’s Daily Telegraph, the Obama administration says the president was too tired.

Presidents and prime ministers from all countries are exhausted most of the time. An excuse like that wouldn’t wash if President Manny Mori of Micronesia were blown off. I doubt very much that Prime Minister Brown was slighted on purpose, but an unnamed State Department official quoted in the Telegraph wants the British to believe the cool welcome is all they should have expected.

“There’s nothing special about Britain,” he reportedly said. “You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”

The same as Somalia, Turkmenistan, and North Korea? Good grief. Great Britain is the mother country of the United States of America. School children know it. At least they knew it when I was a child. The “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K. is so well-established it shouldn’t even have to be mentioned. It’s not a Bush administration policy that’s up for review. It has existed longer than Barack Obama has been alive.

Rudeness, unfortunately, isn’t the end of it.

Mr Brown handed over carefully selected gifts, including a pen holder made from the wood of a warship that helped stamp out the slave trade - a sister ship of the vessel from which timbers were taken to build Mr Obama’s Oval Office desk. Mr Obama’s gift in return, a collection of Hollywood film DVDs that could have been bought from any high street store, looked like the kind of thing the White House might hand out to the visiting head of a minor African state.

Somebody needs to be fired. Even the head of Burundi deserves something nicer than what he could get for a dollar at a bootleg store in the market. It hasn’t been that long since Democratic Party support staff assisted the White House when foreign heads of state came to visit. Plenty of people in Washington know how this works. Surely Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows a few of her husband’s former staffers who can find a replacement.

Read the rest in Commentary Magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 9, 2009 10:18 AM
Comments

Yes, it's pretty disheartening. Lots of partisan nonsense is tossed around leveling that there are lots of people out there that didn't vote for the President that are hoping he fails, for whatever reason. While I'm sure there are some, it's a pretty small number. Most people -- even those that were adamantly against Obama being elected -- have fervently wished his time in office well, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Remember that in most cases (not all, though), what's good for the Administration -- whoever happens to be in office -- is good for the country. So, when I see these sorts of rookie mistakes made, it's pretty depressing. At least, I hope that they're rookie mistakes, born out of lack of experience and bad organization. The other possibility is much scarier -- that the Obama Administration, top down, really does look at the world in some messed up way where Britain is on par with Andorra with regard to importance to the United States. Right now, I believe the former, and that this State Department official is a lone (or almost lone) idiot.

Posted by: jasonholliston Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 11:53 AM

You have a ton of material waiting to be written up on Iraq, Lebanon, and.. where was the third one?

And you're writing Page 8 gossip like this instead?

I can't remember saying this before about your work, but this is insultingly trivial. Our relationship with Britain survived the Suez crisis, the Falklands War, the EU, the Kyoto disconnect, and George Bush's personal torpedo to Tony Blair's career. I think it will survive something as motherfu*king pathetic as an low-quality Prime Minister Gift Exchange.

You want to write about damaging the US-UK relationship, how about how we found out a week or two ago that the Bush admin threatened to cut off all intelligence cooperation with Britain if Britain published secret information that showed a terror suspect had been tortured.

http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/index.cfm/page/article/id/12289

That's some motherfuc*ing relationship-damaging hardball. Not this piffle. But that wouldn't suit your audience's ideological biases, would it? Or yours?

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 1:31 PM

Yes, Glasnost, it's relatively trivial, all things considered. But is it alright with you if I write a few short pieces while taking a break from the long pieces?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 1:59 PM

Yes, it's pretty disheartening. Lots of partisan nonsense is tossed around leveling that there are lots of people out there that didn't vote for the President that are hoping he fails, for whatever reason. While I'm sure there are some, it's a pretty small number. Most people -- even those that were adamantly against Obama being elected -- have fervently wished his time in office well, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Remember that in most cases (not all, though), what's good for the Administration -- whoever happens to be in office -- is good for the country.

jasonholliston

Ok, Jason I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and ASSUME that you learned the "I hope he fails." Limbaugh quote from the MSM. It was nothing personal, but about political ideology, the MSM likes to cut off that part of the quote. Mr Obama made a lot of promises and campaigned as a moderate. It is glaringly apparent, he isn't. While not a full blown socialist like Hugo Chavez, he does like the western socialist governments like Germany, France and Britain. He just shoved down the throats of our grandchildren a "porkulous bill" that will cost by CBO estimates $3.5 trillion dollars. Now, he's going to sign a bill with 9,000 earmarks. Are conservatives so supposed support someone that while trying to woo Republicans could only come up with "I won" as an argument to vote for the stimulus bill. Oh, yeah by the way where did you stand when the Senator Reid called President Bush a "loser" and he declared the Iraq War a "failure"? Last I time I checked Mr. Obama's Vice-President and Sec State both voted for the Iraq War.

You keep blogging about whatever you want, Michael. It's obvious Mr Obama's "FOLLOWERS" can't handle their Messi-uh having warts. I'd expect a junior staffer from a congressional Representative to make this kind of mistake, not from the "SMARTEST MAN" to have ever occupied the Office of the President of the United States.

2012 can't get here soon enough, God help us...

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 2:21 PM

I've given Obama credit where he deserves it, and I will criticize him when he deserves it. I will continue this policy at Commentary and wherever else I publish, including on my this Web site. Normally I have other things to cover, but this struck a nerve with me, partly because most of my friends are absolutely convinced that Obama is better at this sort of thing than McCain would have been.

Obama's Lebanon policy is looking pretty good, and I'll say so as I soon as I dig into it more and find something to hang it on.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 2:59 PM

Well, Michael don't feel like the lone ranger. I too have friends that thought was supposed to be better than McCain in many aspects, foreign and domestic. And I'm not impressed... Mr Obama intendeds to send $900 million dollars to Gaza, which most likely some of it will be funneled to Hamas. Until the Palestinians in Gaza are willing to stand up to terrorists, I wouldn't want a dime spent in that hell hole. Just my opinion. Next, Mr Obama administration has approached the ex-KGB czar Putin and begged on bended knee for help with Iran, even though Russia is part of the problem and isn't inclined to help us one damn bit.

Non-confrontation seems to be the order of the day for Mr Obama and his administration. All the old Soviet satellites are on notice, they know they have a man in the White House that is inclined to sell them out. I just wonder if that was part of the equation when Kyrgyzstan decided to kick our extremely important base out of their country.

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 4:29 PM

"Somebody needs to be fired."

Voters can do that. Time will tell how many americans are paying attention. I'm very pessimistic; I see my country circling the drain, to borrow George Carlin's line, and ripe for the taking by those not waiting for a teleprompter to feed them messages. Sad, when I think about what America could be.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 5:08 PM

"most of my friends are absolutely convinced that Obama is better at this sort of thing than McCain would have been."

Not me. Whether you like the guy or not, McCain's long career in politics and his upper crust socialite wife would surely have a pretty good grip on protocol. I agree, somebody really dropped the ball on this one, and I for one find it hard to believe that it was unintentional. There are people whose entire careers are focused on handling state level protocol, and I believe some of them work for multiple administrations.
I think this short article is very prescient, especially following the one on hospitality offered to Americans by the people of the Middle East.

And I for one hope Obama doesn't fail. Like it or not, we are all in this together at this point.

Posted by: Lindsey Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 5:37 PM

Lindsey: I think this short article is very prescient, especially following the one on hospitality offered to Americans by the people of the Middle East.

I am a little more sensitive to this sort of thing after spending so much time in the Middle East. Almost all Western people could learn something about manners from Arabs.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 5:45 PM

I may have overreacted, but it sincerely pisses me off that this exercise in self-creating media hype - referring not to you specifically, but the underlying "story" - got give times the coverage than my link did.

Britain, unlike the US, has had several serious terror plots succeed or almost succeed in the past few years, and we threatened to cut off intel cooperation with them unless they helped the Bush Administration cover their a*ses. You talk about breathtaking indifference for your allies - that was blackmail putting real british citizens at risk of death. Something that might be neccessary in the course of policy, but ideally not used for cover-ups.

I think that made some professionals angrier than some effing DVDs.

When the Commentary audience judges if BO is an improvement over GWB in transatlantic relations, they should have that context. But they won't. Liberal Media at work.

You could have provided a dose of realism, says your relentless quasiconstructive critic, but you missed your shot.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 5:48 PM

But yeah, you can publish any pieces in any order you want, you're not obligated to anyone, obviously including me on that.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 5:50 PM

Glasnost,

Do you have a link that shows what the high court actually said? I'm a bit skeptical about reading a summary in the Guardian that doesn't include one single quote about any threat to cut off intelligence sharing. This story, as written, does not pass the smell test.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 5:57 PM

One has to believe that our friends will be tolerant of our shortcomings. The Brits like to feel superior to us and this probably just confirms what they think anyway, we're always bumbling around needing their steady hand. They're the Greeks and we're the Romans or something like that.

Obama will hopefully figure out very soon that this is his Presidency, not Rahm Emmanuel's or David Axelrod's or Hillary Clinton's, and he's the one who takes the hit when some protocol officer screws up or some nobody in the State Dept. spouts off. He really can't afford to have his administration seen as incompetent. Once that sets in, it's very hard to shake (ask George W. Bush).

Posted by: Bennett Author Profile Page at March 9, 2009 7:41 PM

"But is it alright with you if I write a few short pieces while taking a break from the long pieces?"

glasnost's petulant, hysterical and unhinged reaction shows you struck a nerve, Michael. We're not allowed to say the emperor has no clothes.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 1:29 AM

"But yeah, you can publish any pieces in any order you want, you're not obligated to anyone, obviously including me on that."

I retract my previous post. Michael has been hereby granted Papal Dispensation!

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 1:31 AM

“There’s nothing special about Britain,” he reportedly said. “You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”

WTF?

Nothing special about Britain?

There are plenty of people over at the DOD, CIA, NSA, and State department who will tell him otherwise.

Does Obama know who actually owns a bit of rock on the Indian ocean by the name of Diego Garcia, which would be utterly irrelevant and obscure except for the rather large USAF and USN bases, which are there by the grace of the UK?

Is he completely ignorant of the UKUSA intelligence gathering arrangement that is the foundation of our SIGINT capability?

Does he understand that the UK is the European ally with a spine, which is willing to let us stage the 'controversial' military operations out of airbases in the UK that would otherwise have to stage from the continental US, greatly simplifying logistics?

Is he utterly oblivious to the fact that the UK's diplomatic corps acts as a discreet and trustworthy go-between when a direct contact with the US is undesirable?

Britain does not have to do any of these things. They do it because the UK government regards the US as it's most important ally and a generally positive influence on the world, and because they believe that being seen as the US's foremost ally enhances their own influence.

Poor treatment of the Prime Minister of the UK- even if he isn't particularly popular back home- is pretty close to being the biggest diplomatic mistake an American President can make.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 6:38 AM

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.

This person should be fired immediately. Not only did they screw up bigtime, they were indiscreet about it with a member of the press.

Career State Department employees should know better than to say what they actually think about something to any member of the press.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 7:09 AM

People are loosing their retirement savings, college savings vanish into thin air, Citibank is about to be nationalized, the U.S. manufacturing base's disappearing act is accelerating with the near insolvency of GM, Chrysler and Ford; Pakistan is on the verge of collapse, bombs go off again left and right in Baghdad, the British are pulling out of Iraq for good, Israel is moving to the extreme right and still treating the people of Gaza like prisoners in a concentration camp and I was just reading an article about how Gordon Brown might feel snubbed because the U.S. President had other problems that having an elaborate song-and-dance diner performance with him. Hilarious.

Posted by: Persephone Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 7:23 AM

Persephone, how America treats the UK matters. We need to treat them with respect.

To the one who claimed that America shouldn't give Gaza $900 million because Hamas would benefit . . . we should give Gaza much more than $900 million.

Gazans are caught between Fatah thugs and Hamas thugs. Can't figure out which is worse between them. We need to be on the side of the Gazans.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 9:29 AM

Anand, I do not want ANY of my money going to the "Gazans". If you feel so bad for them, dig into your pocket, not mine.

Ron

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 9:39 AM

"Britain, unlike the US, has had several serious terror plots succeed or almost succeed in the past few years,"

And you know GB is the only one because ...?

"and we threatened to cut off intel cooperation with them unless they helped the Bush Administration cover their a*ses."

Or maybe to cover the ways valuable intelligence is being gathered to make sure those ways can be used time and time again and with continuing success?
Or maybe the very intelligence, which helped to save GB more than once was discovered using torture?

"You talk about breathtaking indifference for your allies - that was blackmail putting real british citizens at risk of death."

Please, let's not get overly melodramatic. Just do not uncover our way of getting intel and have all the intel you can digest. See how easy it is?

"I think that made some professionals angrier than some effing DVDs."

Doubtful but even if so none of them represents a state.

"You could have provided a dose of realism, says your relentless quasiconstructive critic, but you missed your shot."

I believe you should've provided dose of realism with your way of questioning information to begin with.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 11:33 AM

"Gazans are caught between Fatah thugs and Hamas thugs. Can't figure out which is worse between them. We need to be on the side of the Gazans."

Except free money is the very thing which prolongs Palestinian suffering.

"Anand, I do not want ANY of my money going to the "Gazans". If you feel so bad for them, dig into your pocket, not mine."

You opponent say the same thing about Israel. So?

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 11:42 AM

Sorry, I should've said

Your opponent can say the same thing about Israel. So?

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 11:53 AM

The Palestinians created, fueled,and applauded Hamas and Fateh for decades. It is up to to them to scrub their territorial toilet clean of the extremist crap they've blessed themselves with. The American taxpayer doesn't owe these people a dime, especially after they publically celebrated 9-11. We have needy at home.

Anand, ask the petro-rich Arabs to help their poor suffering Palestinian brethren. Maybe they can donate some gold plated toilets or something.

Posted by: Boojum Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 12:16 PM

Boojum, I don't think you understand the Palestinian perspective. The Palestinians were treated like dirt by the Ottoman Turks for centuries. {The Jews were considered pro Turkish collaborators . . . which is part of the genesis of the current conflict.}

Later the Brits kicked the Palestinians around. After that the Arab occupation armies did terrible things to the Palestinians between 1948 and 1967. The Arab armies were not on the side of Jewish, Christian or muslim Palestinians. Large numbers of Palestinians were deported from their homes in 1948 (by both the Arab armies and the Israelis.) They fled to Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen, and the Gulf Arab states; all of whom viscerally hate Palestinians. (They are all simultaneously anti Israeli and anti Palestinian.) Do you know that Palestinians who fled to these countries in 1948 and in many cased their children are still not allowed to become citizens of their adopted country, own property in their adopted country, work in their adopted country, or have equal treatment under the law in their adopted country? Do you understand what it is like to be surrounded by people who hate you and yours?

Palestinians are kicked around and treated like dirt in Europe too. Only in Jordan, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and to a lesser degree in Israel itself are Palestinians treated somewhat decently.

To make it worse the Arab enemies of Palestine backed Hamas and Fatah against the Palestinian people. Hamas was backed by Israel too. Israel forced Fatah down Palestine's throat in 1993. Yasser Arafat was put in power by Israel. These horrible thugs have devastated Palestine.

Israel has consistently blocked efforts to train and equip a professional Palestinian security force and civil bureaucracy.

Boojum, you understand that all Palestinian political parties (such as Barghouti) are beaten up by Hamas and Fatah which is why they can't run against them successfully in elections.

Try to understand the plight of the Palestinian people before you blow off against them. Understand what the Palestinian people know too well; the Palestinians don't have any friends (especially not the 6arab neighbors or Israel.)

Leo I agree that Israel is a rich country and that we should faze out all aid to Israel.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 2:20 PM

"Leo I agree that Israel is a rich country and that we should faze out all aid to Israel."

It is not what I wanted to say.
I wanted to say that there are enough Americans among whom one can find those who are equally for one side and are against the other and each could make the argument in question with equal right.

As to your statement, Israel is relatively rich country on local arena but few extra backs never hurt anybody.

As to fazing out help for Israel there are enough reasons why US will not do it any time soon.
Most important one, Israel no longer uses US help for anything else but purchasing military hardware. Obviously it buys it from US while helping the US economy at the same time. Most of the US money given to Israel gets right back to US. Win-win for both.
Another problem, because it pays US can influence Israel in many different ways including to whom Israel sells it military hardware for example. There were cases when US had to apply leverage in order to cancel deals between Israel and China and even between Israel and Russia.
There is more but I think it is enough to get a picture.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 3:48 PM

Leo, America should give Israel for pork barrel American politics feeding socialist industrial policy craziness? I don't follow.

Japan, Britain, South Korea and India all buy "MORE" US weapons than Israel (we sell similar amounts of weapons to Germany, Canada and Australia as we do to Israel.) They all pay out of hide. In fact, Germany, Japan and South Korea pay America money to keep our troops there. Why can't we charge Israel money for providing our security guarantee to Israel? Just kidding :-)

Does America not have leverage over Japan, South Korea, Britain, Canada, Australia and India because America does not give them money? The idea that America will not have leverage over Israel if we don't give them money is ridiculous.

"Anand, ask the petro-rich Arabs to help their poor suffering Palestinian brethren. Maybe they can donate some gold plated toilets or something." Why would they help Palestine? They never have. Too busy treating Palestinian immigrant workers like dirt.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at March 10, 2009 11:57 PM

Leo, I am stating my opinion about the Pals, who have done nothing to make whatever land in the ME they are in a successful land. To hell with them; they have fostered terrorists, kept voting in venal, corrupt leaders, and are not friends to my country.

Again, my opinion, and I am at least doing what I can politically to leave them to their own devices and not suck up more of U.S. tax dollars. BTW, where are the "friendly" Muslim countries at in supporting the poor Pals?

No ones mind is going to be changed by anyone's comments; they are just comments.

Are Muslims, especially the Arab variety, my friends? Not just no, but Hell no. Though they do have "lovely manners".

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 5:15 AM

Anand;

The Palestinians do nothing to improve their situation, blame all their problems on other people, publically celebrate terrorist acts, steal billions of donated aid dollars, attack the interests of those donor countries because a cartoonist insulted their holy man, destroy the greenhouses left for their economic benefit, turn their young into human bombs and honor them as heroes, etc etc etc

The Tibetans, under the communist Chinese, have endured vastly worse suffering without devolving into the self destructiveness and stagnation typical of the Palestinians. So have many other abused peoples over the course of the last century.

Excusing Palestinian misbehaviour does not help them, Anand. To the contrary

Posted by: Boojum Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 8:11 AM

... free money is the very thing which prolongs Palestinian suffering.

... Pals, who have done nothing to make whatever land in the ME they are in a successful land

Excusing Palestinian misbehavior does not help them. To the contrary

Here is the description of entire Palestinian nakba.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 9:38 AM

PeteDawg: I wasn't talking about Rush, and don't really have time for the MSM very much. There are always factions on the left and on the right that truly, honestly wish that their opponents plans will fail even when it hurts the country. Note that I outlined foreign policy as where most of the President's detractors wished him especially well in his endeavors. Read almost anything in the mainstream conservative media after the election results were in, and this much is clear.

I'll stand by my statement that what is good for the president is usually good for the country. Where the President's opponents disagree with him -- your example of the ridiculous budget he has proposed -- they will say it's NOT good for the country, and will not be good for him, at least in the long run. If the United States is at the beginning of a long trough of a recession that doesn't recover strongly by 2011, they'll be right, and Obama will probably not be re-elected. Not good for the country, and not good for him.

By the way, I love how you (seem to) assume I'm a Democrat and an Obama voter, since I don't want to see him fail spectacularly while in office.

Posted by: jasonholliston Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 10:41 AM

"what is good for the president is usually good for the country. "

Bullshit. I want throwing borrowed money at every bad idea to fail every time, otherwise this will drag on for EIGHT years.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 4:44 PM

To the one who claimed that America shouldn't give Gaza $900 million because Hamas would benefit . . . we should give Gaza much more than $900 million.

Anand

Uh, that would be me PeteDawg. All you had to do was scroll up and read my name. And yes I don't want a dime going to that rat hole. The Palestinians have been abused far more by their Arab brethren than their Israeli cousins. They are willingly letting themselves be used in a broader war against Israel. It is obvious Israel could dominate their neighbors militarily, but they continue to try to keep civilian casualties to a minimum. Benjamin Netanyahu said it the best (paraphrasing) "There will be peace when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate jews."

Until the Palestinians stand up to the terrorists, like the sunnis did in Anbar, I don't want a US dime spent on Gaza. But my candidate lost and the Messi-uh is going to get the world to love America again. Even if it costs the security of Israel and America.

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 4:54 PM

Pete,

Small point in the greater scheme, but I think that was a Golda Meir quote. Well worth repeating though.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 5:08 PM

"I think that was a Golda Meir quote."

Yes, and I wish it wouldn't nave been used as often and as indiscriminately. It is slowly losing its meaning and power. Quantity to quality, so to say.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 5:36 PM

"There will be peace when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate jews."

Or perhaps:

"There will be peace when Palestinians love Jews more than they hate their children."

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at March 11, 2009 7:18 PM

PeteDawg: I wasn't talking about Rush, and don't really have time for the MSM very much. There are always factions on the left and on the right that truly, honestly wish that their opponents plans will fail even when it hurts the country.

jasonholliston

Oh, sorry so you weren't talking about, Rush. I guess it's just a coincidence that ever since the Obama White House has targeted Rush and proclaimed him the leader of the Republican Party his "I want him to fail." quote has just been mischaracterized and demagogued to death on EVERY media outlet, not just the MSM. Fine, I'll conceded the point to you. It was a one in a million chance. What luck I have...

Saying you want a President to succeed is an empty mindless platitude. It's like saying "I'm for breathing", but hell at that particular moment someone could have let loose the STINKIEST fart in the world and I guarantee you wouldn't want to breathe it in. Mr Obama is doubling down with our grandchildren's future. Even with the rosiest scenarios, if the federal government spends at the pace Mr Obama is growing the budget, the CBO estimates by 2019 the national debt will double to $23 trillion. So yeah he might SUCCEED in passing all the entitlement and job killing wacko environmentalist bills he wants, the country will lose, either way.

But let's not stop on the domestic side, how about on the foreign? Mr Obama might succeed shutting down Gitmo, but how does that help us succeed on the GWOT? By the way I'm so glad that our European allies are stepping up to the plate and helping us take these sub-humans off our hands. NOT! Or another success Mr Obama might achieve is a "false" peace with new dictator of Russia Putin. All we have to do is withdraw the proposed shield that would have protected eastern Europe from a missile from Iran and basically back stab all those allies that helped us fight in Iraq. Yeah, hurrah... the Obama has succeed, but what has the US won?

Lastly, as far as me accusing you of being a democrat, read my posts again. I didn't do such a thing. All I wanted was consistency. NO CURRENTLY ELECTED REPUBLICAN HAS PUBLICLY SAID THEY WANT THIS PRESIDENT TO FAIL, let alone a Republican leader in Congress. But a democrat leader called President Bush a "loser" and called the Iraq War a "failure", while our soldiers were still fighting. I just don't remember many MODERATES or liberals ringing their hands over such stupid statements. And I still don't know where you stand, because you chose not to share your views. Which only leads me to speculate why you didn't???

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at March 12, 2009 12:20 AM

There’s nothing special about Britain,” he reportedly said. “You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”

Speaking as a BO supporter, if true, that is mind-numbingly stupid and crass.

We have a lot of allies, and while I personally have no heritage or lineage to either country, Great Britain and Canada in particular I consider dear friends...hell, almost family, and it even insults me to read something like that.

Posted by: jon r Author Profile Page at March 12, 2009 12:39 AM

Jason, if you think there are only a small number of people that want Pres. Erckle to fail, I believe that you are mistaken. One needs to defince "fail", and my perception of that definition is BHO's attempt to move us towards Socialism. MHO

Please, no pedantic remarks on what "Socialism" means. Have the intelligence to look at a few dictionary definitions and use the average definition. There is no "definitive" or "scientific" definition of Socialism. Not quite like, say, gravity or the half-life of lead.

Regards,

Ron

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at March 12, 2009 5:05 AM

"Please, no pedantic remarks on what "Socialism" means. Have the intelligence to look at a few dictionary definitions and use the average definition. There is no "definitive" or "scientific" definition of Socialism. Not quite like, say, gravity or the half-life of lead."

I do not see the need for excuses. Just recall Obama vs. Joe the Plumber affair.

Great equalizer - taking from the rich and giving to the poor - is the main concept of socialism.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 12, 2009 5:41 AM

In these times of hope and change it is critical that we maintain proper deference to the person of the President at all times. Clearly we are not under the stresses or provided with the understanding of the people in charge of the decisions of the country going forward. We must at all times believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are moving forward.

Even in these troubled times the current administration took the time and made the effort to promote the advancement of people with special needs. It is not for us to judge if the most effective place to start boldly breaking new grounds for the cognitively handi-capable was the State Department.

Please try to keep perspective in these troubled times and remember nightly in your prayers to Thank God that Sarah Palin, with her lack of Ivy League credentials, has no place in the current administration. This administration has the highest level of support of the people who give credentials, and the credentials must certainly see us through any problems that arise.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell Author Profile Page at March 12, 2009 8:41 AM

That's some motherfuc*ing relationship-damaging hardball. Not this piffle.

How about when the BBC runs dozens of stories falsely and explicitly accusing the US military of war crimes in Iraq, glasnost? Or implying that an American Administration is guilty of crimes against humanity? Is that at all damaging? No? Well, how about when British politicians publicly ridicule their American counterparts? Nobody notices? Well, I do. And I bet a lot of other Americans do too. The BBC is on American television screens, and it is also on the world wide web. Maybe the British should be the ones looking for a reset button, because nobody in America is running down the UK. Why do they feel the need to do it to us? Is that how allies behave? Really!? If it happened once or twice over some particularly controversial issue, maybe we could look the other way but its a pattern of behavior that has been going on for YEARS.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at March 12, 2009 11:27 AM

In their effort to cash in on the Islamic banking market, and to benefit from Gulf oil tick generosity, Britain has become more of an ally to the UAE and Saudi Arabia than they are to us. When Britain's economy faltered, Gordon Brown accused Iceland of being a terrorist state and then turned around and begged the hub of world terrorism, Saudi Arabia, for a loan. The BBC and the ‘conservative’ Economist are more pro-Wahhabi than al Jazeera.

Our CIA has noted that Britain has become a 'swamp' of Jihadis. For decades, diplomats from Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and other countries have complained about Britain’s willingness to offer shelter and welfare benefits to the worst extremists. The British government caters to the "moderate" extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood in a failed effort to combat the "real" extremists (who are allied with the Muslim Brotherhood and wealthy Gulf State benefactors). Brown and co. are also planning to meet with and legitimize Hezbollah. The British people are disgusted with Brown for many reasons, and he's extremely unpopular.

That said, the purpose of these diplomatic meetings is to put on a good, pleasant, mannered show for the citizens of both nations. Grinning through these excruciating gatherings is part of the job. This halfhearted attempt is lame.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at March 12, 2009 11:49 AM

I totally agree with your sentiment. Every day the Obama administration announces dialogue with another rogue regime... is that all they do? Britain is one of a half dozen countries in the world that share a deep tradition of liberalism and democracy similar to the United States. The State Department needs to remember who our friends are.

Posted by: jachapin Author Profile Page at March 14, 2009 1:38 AM

"I'm very pessimistic; I see my country circling the drain"

Yeah, Obama is merely trying to put the drain plug back in. The drain plug that George Bush and his cronies pulled out.

This story is a complete non-issue. Britain will be allied with the US as long as mutual interest still exist and I don't see that changing any time soon. Britain is more reliant on the US than most people think. They are among the top three holders of US Treasury bonds and a faux paus over a gift exchange isn't going to change that.

Posted by: Graham Author Profile Page at March 15, 2009 6:23 PM

Britain is more reliant on the US than most people think.

It's too bad the British don't see it that way. I sometimes wonder where they think their future lies? Continental Europe? Could be, but historically the Anglo/English speaking world that they created 9as MJT pointed out) has been a better and more reliable friend to them. The timing is REALLY BAD for the UK to decide it wants to put its relationship with the US on the back burner, because they may find the feeling to be mutual. For the first time in our history, most Americans do not have a European background, and coincidentally for the first time in our history we have a president who does not have a European background. MJT pointed out that Great Britain (England) is the mother-country of the US. That's increasingly like claiming that the UK is the mother country of India.

They are among the top three holders of US Treasury bonds and a faux paus over a gift exchange isn't going to change that.

What's that got to do with anything?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at March 16, 2009 12:42 PM

"Britain is more reliant on the US than most people think."

Do you mean to say this is the reason Obama dumped on it?

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 16, 2009 8:39 PM

Excellent article as usual Michael.... too bad about your comments section.

Wow.

Posted by: dclydew Author Profile Page at March 17, 2009 12:46 PM

This issue just gets better and better. Mark Steyn's on the case:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MWQzMWQ5NGE4OWJiODAzZDE0Y2JhODMzOGEzZWUxOTM=

To sum up, that box set of DVD's that our President gave the leader of our most important and reliable security partner? Won't work on DVD players in Britain. Wrong region.

Wow.

Where are the training wheels for this Administration?

Posted by: jasonholliston Author Profile Page at March 20, 2009 9:19 AM

Well I read Micheal's post with interest, especially as I am English and living in the UK. Some of the comments that followed the article were actually laughable. Great Britain has been a fantastic ally to the US over the years, as you all well know. We take our relationships with our overseas friends very seriously. Our leaders spend an awful lot of time taking part in public relations excersises and trips abroad to keep our foreign relationships running smoothly.

As far as Gordon Brown is concerned, you have to remember that he was NOT elected. As a result of that alone he is not well liked but some, but of course I can't speak for everybody.

YOU in the US have just had an election though and you chose to elect Obama. From what we can see over here, he seems like a decent enough bloke, but only time will tell. You are stuck with him now though for the next four years, regardless of what happens next. Which means WE are stuck with him too. Lets face it, anyone has to be better than Bush!

"Britain, unlike the US, has had several serious terror plots succeed or almost succeed in the past few years" This post, by Glasnost, is the one I find most offensive. Honestly, do you LIVE here? No. Have you forgotten the 9/11?? Great Britain was one of the first nations to offer up aid and support to you after that and we saw the events unfolding live on TV in glorious technicolour - I still have nightmares about that now. The only terror plot that has actually succeeded here recently was the 7/7 London bombings. The DAY after this, we were back up and running. Terrorists will NOT succeed in bringing this country to its knees and that is something we are very proud of.

Honestly, you are stuck with Obama and we are stuck with Brown - for now. I think we should just leave them to it and at least try to get along!

Oh and one last thing....Our news coverage both here and of events worldwide is uncensored - its a shame the same can't be said of the US news. And yes, I have been there and several other countries worldwide unlike most Americans who still don't even own a passport and will never leave the US....Weird......

Posted by: Karen2205 Author Profile Page at July 23, 2009 7:09 AM

Well let me start with this opening line, I am English (a British citizen) and it amazes me how the average American knows very little regarding how important the United Kingdom, Great Britain however you like to refer us as, actually is not only to U.S culture and politics but to the world in general.

Britain has been the most influential nation to American culture and politics including influences such as language, military, musical, scientific, medical etc just to name a few. You can thank the British Empire (the largest in history) for this. Yes the British Empire is no more but as one of the founding permanent members of NATO and the head of the Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, powerful democratic nations themselves) Britain is also a founding member of the G-5 (world leading nations) I could go on.

The facts I have listed make Great Britain politically and historically one of the most respected nations in world politics today along with the United States. U.S politics and military strategies can be traced back to and are based on British ingenuity. The British Armed Forces are regarded second to the United States Military when on the topic of “Force Projection” a military term which means “The ability of a nation to apply all or some of its elements of national power - political, economic, intelligence, military - to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to respond to a crisis whether its humanitarian or conflict, to contribute to a deterrence, and to enhance regional stability” basically in Lehman’s terms the ability to police this chaotic world we live in. Something Britain and America do more than any other nation. We are cousins, related through a family tree of world history you could say. No other country supports the United States as much as Britain does. It’s not a legal obligation but an act of friendship and respect.

it’s such a shame that some narrow-minded, uneducated Americans who could even be of British or Irish descent, like to view Britain as its poodle or “puppet state” when the fact is if it comes to an ally the things America would look for in a nation would be: a nation who share common values and interests of international security, a nation experienced enough to solve problems not just through military force but also through political power, so in other words a nation who has the respect and support from others when making tough decisions on foreign policy (because its not always about U.S foreign policy), oh! And if that nation just so happens to speak the same language then that would be an added bonus.

People tend to forget that Britain with its empire before WW2 was considered if you like a kind of “Superpower” even though that term was introduced after 1945 and given to an emerging Soviet Union and to the United States (with its atom bomb technology) and its mainland and economy still intact. But even in 1939 there was no other nation in Europe with the military capabilities to defend as well as take the fight to Nazi Germany except Britain (Russia temporarily sided with Germany so Britain was alone).
Now you might think I am heading off topic slightly but it still ties into what I am trying to explain. America’s military and politics will always be forever associated with one another. America’s C.I.A and Britain’s MI5, MI6 are the most advanced and experienced intelligence agencies on earth and as we speak are working together dealing with today’s terrorist threat to both our nations. So it’s interesting to see a state department official (someone you would think should be clued up on world past and current affairs) being quoted as 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.” Ok so the 50,000 troops we sent to Iraq and the Special Forces we sent to Afghanistan to find Osama Bin Laden after 9/11 makes Britain the same as the other 190 countries??? Does the film and music industry which are filled with mainly American and British actors and artists makes Britain no better than Senegal??

Anyway I will leave on lighter note and say “it’s a good job Madonna isn’t the President of the United States and Guy Ritchie isn’t the Prime Minister of Great Britain because if that was the case then things would definitely get ugly”.

Posted by: Steve Heppell Author Profile Page at October 14, 2009 2:05 AM
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