What is it about Obama and England, Anyhow?

They told Glenn Reynolds that if he voted for John McCain, we’d never have closure with our most trusted allies, and they were right! Or as Nile Gardiner of the London Telegraph reports, “Another slap in the face for Britain: the Obama administration sides with Argentina and Venezuela in OAS declaration on the Falklands:”


President Obama was effusive in his praise for the Special Relationship when he visited London recently, but his administration continues to slap Britain in the face over the highly sensitive Falklands issue. Washington signed on to a “draft declaration on the question of the Malvinas Islands” passed by unanimous consent by the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) at its meeting in San Salvador yesterday, an issue which had been heavily pushed by Argentina. In doing so, the United States sided not only with Buenos Aires, but also with a number of anti-American regimes including Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua.

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Washington backed a similar resolution in June last year, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear in a joint press conference with Cristina Kirchner in Buenos Aires in March 2010 that the Obama administration fully backs Argentina’s calls for negotiations over the Falkands, handing her Argentine counterpart a significant propaganda coup. The State Department has also insultingly referred to the Islands in the past as the Malvinas, the Argentine name for them.

It is hugely disappointing that the Obama administration has chosen once again to side not only with the increasingly authoritarian regime in Argentina, but also with an array of despots in Latin America against British interests. Mrs Clinton should be reminded that 255 brave British servicemen laid down their lives in 1982 for the freedom of the Falkland Islanders, who are overwhelmingly British, following the brutal Argentine invasion.

The sovereignty of the Islands is not a matter for negotiation, and Britain will never give in to threats from Argentina or its tyrannical allies in places such as Venezuela. The White House recently declared that Britain remains America’s most important ally. Now it should live up to its words by supporting Washington’s closest friend and partner on matters of vital British interest, including the future of British subjects living in the South Atlantic, whose only wish is to remain free under the protection of the Union Jack.


Meanwhile, at the Tatler, Obama shafts another longtime ally, Israel: “Palestinians use Obama’s 1967 speech as excuse to dig in their heels: Imagine that — by taking Palestinians’ side against our ally Israel, President Obama has encouraged them to cling bitterly to their genocidal position.”

Are there any allies left from the Cold War-era whom Obama hasn’t alienated yet?

Related: At the Politico, “President Barack Obama vowed to show a different face to the world than George W. Bush — and it turns out to be a far less chummy one when it comes to personal diplomacy.” Unexpectedly:

More than two years into his term, Obama cuts the image of an all-business envoy, seldom going outside normal business hours to turn on the charm with other heads of state. He appears to have built few deep personal bonds with foreign leaders, and his forays into public diplomacy — a burger run last year with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev and a game of Ping-Pong last month with Britain’s David Cameron — are notable for their rarity…

“What is so paradoxical is he is multilateralist. His entire conception of diplomacy is the anti-Lone Ranger,” said Aaron David Miller, a Mideast expert with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former adviser to six secretaries of state. “And he is hard-pressed to develop these types of alliances and close personal ties.”…

Obama’s cool pose on the world stage mirrors his arms-length approach toward leaders at home. He’s just not that into hanging out with Congress, business executives or anybody else in Washington who isn’t part of his family or close-knit circle of friends. And he’s always had little patience for the demands on American politicians to play to the cameras.


I’m not quite sure that last item is entirely true; Obama as a candidate was a much less dour man than he turned out to be as president. The world’s biggest celebrity, to coin a phrase, was than happy to schmooze up the cameras when it suited him. Or to put it another way, “Do You Smell What Barack is Cooking?”


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