Free Markets, Free People

The Great Obama European Concert Tour

Now that the dust is beginning to settle, what, really, was accomplished in what Anne Applebaum likens more to a sold out concert tour than a diplomatic tour-de-force.

Well in the latter category it was more of a diplomatic tour-de-farce.

The Obama administration had two goals in two important meetings on the continent. The first was the G20 and the goal was to talk the Europeans into buying into increasing government spending to unprecedented levels, as the US has done, in order to “stimulate” the world’s economy. Epic “fail” in that department. However, the Euros did manage to talk Obama out of another 100 billion for the IMF.

The second goal was associated with NATO, and it was to talk our NATO allies into a large commitment of combat troops for Afghanistan. Again, an epic “fail”. As predicted by those who understand Europe, and thus NATO, that was a non-starter from the beginning. NATO instead offered up 5,000 troops, 3,000 on a temporary basis to help with the election, the rest as trainers for the ANA and ANP. But where troops are needed most – in combat positions – none, nada, zip, zero.

So, although you wouldn’t know it given the adoring media reports and the dutiful reporting of the administration spin on the trip, Obama ends up 0-2 in his first attempt at global diplomacy.

Applebaum notes one thing that struck her as “strange”:

Still, someone has to say it: Although some things went well on this trip, some things went badly. The centerpiece of the visit, Obama’s keynote foreign policy speech in Prague — leaked in advance, billed as a major statement — was, to put it bluntly, peculiar. He used it to call for “a world without nuclear weapons” and a new series of arms control negotiations with Russia. This was not wrong, necessarily, and not evil. But it was strange.

Yet, while Obama mentioned nuclear weapons reduction to Russia, he apparently didn’t mention Iran’s nukes or the fact that Russia’s shipment of the S-300 missile system to Iran is likely to destabilize the region by pushing Israel into finally striking Iran before ths system can be installed.

And then there’s North Korea’s decision to launch its ICBM at the very moment Obama was addressing nuclear weapons reduction. A bit of an in-your-face in diplomatic terms, by Kim Jong Il.

In other words, ridding the world of nuclear weapons would be very nice, but on its own it won’t alter the international balance of power, stop al-Qaeda or prevent large authoritarian states from invading their smaller neighbors.

I’ll be interested to see whether anyone gives a more sober assessment of the trip among the talking heads (as Applebaum did) or whether it will continue to be characterized as something it wasn’t.


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38 Responses to The Great Obama European Concert Tour

  • “The Great Obama European Concert Tour”

    Otherwise known as “Obama’s European Kum-By-Ya

    The only winners on this tour were the Europeans.  Even they know better than to follow Obama down the road of European Socialism – the very same road they are so desperately trying to remove themselves.

  • “a world without nuclear weapons”

    Childlike thinking at it’s worst.

    First, it’s about the same as wishing for huge flocks of unicorns to roam the Great Plains. The secret is long since out of the bottle. It’s too easy to build nukes, and when everyone else lacks such weapons, the incentive to secretly acquire one goes sky-high because once you do there’s no effective deterrence.

    Second, has this empty suit every thought about what it would be like to fight, say, China thirty years hence with no nuclear weapons?” There’s an old Russian joke that could be updated for the situation. It seems Russia got in a war with China. The first day the Russians captured a million Chinese soldiers. The second day, they captured three million. The third day, the Russians surrendered.

    I’ve been saying for years on this site that leftists are often delusional, completely out of touch with the real world. This is the best evidence for that thesis I’ve ever seen come from the mouth of a president.

    • I assume you were as critical of that leftist Reagan who had similar slogans.

      It’s called an aspiration, Billy.  Obama knows it’s not going to happen.   If you really think that Obama believes he can rid the world of nuclear weapons, and if you really take all aspirational talk as literal, then no wonder you have the reaction you have.  But Reagan was very, very similar in his talk, and that was during a nuclear Cold War!

      • When did I ever say Reagan was perfect?

        Since your entire comment is based on a false and stupid premise, it’s not worth further response. Though I take note of the fact that you had nothing to say about the actual arguments presented. (Isn’t that something like the snooty tone you use? Idiot…)

        • I’m simply pointing out a fact:  Obama did something Reagan did too.  Neither is perfect.  Maybe both were wrong in stating that (Reagan even promised to give technology to the Soviets if we perfected missile defense — what would the right do if Obama tried that!) 

          Also I did address the argument: namely to note that Obama clearly understands, as does his foreign policy team (very experienced) that this is an aspiration unlikely to be met any time soon, if ever.  Your claim it was “childlike” was based on a false premise, namely that they were thinking they were going to be able to get it done.  At least, that’s what your comment appeared to suggest when you waxed eloquent about unicorns and the like.

          • You godd*mn liar. You didn’t address squat. The two points were that the whole nuclear weapon free world is impossible and and childlike wish (now or in the foreseeable future) because the (1) the secret is out, and (2) the US would be beyond stupid to give up it’s equalizer against countries that can simply throw bodies at them. You said nothing about either of them.

            I don’t care who thinks it, Reagan, Obama, you or anyone else. It’s childlike. And you have no answer for that because there is none.

  • American President BOWS to King of Saudi Arabia, news at….oh…….never mind.
    American President aids and abets Islamic clowns in Turkey, news at….oh…..never mind.

    But boy does he look Presidential, don’t you think?  And eloquent?  man.  And he’s very popular in the polls.

    What’s next on the Agenda –
    Ah, Americans taken hostage by pirates, hmmmmm, no story there, I’m sure we can pay to get them out, add it to the budget, single line item  (Decatur, Preble, Somers spin on a vertical axis in their hallowed graves) .

    “Millions for tribute, but we need to cut defense spending”, what do you think sound catchy?

    Russia says Iran isn’t a threat to us, and really doesn’t want to punish the NoKo’s any further.

    Camille Paglia admits Obama has no experience for the job, but hey, that’s okay now that he’s IN office, God knows the President of the United States is an ideal venue for On the Job Training, especially now!

    Time for an appearance on Late Night with Fallon maybe? 

  • I am fairly certain that Obama planned to do this “world without nukes” policy from day one, and that Biden was told this, thus the “he will face  a test” comment.  (because Biden is probably not stupid and realized this would cause some reactions.)

    This may not only be a simple leftist thought of Obamas, but possibly something he picked up from family or teachers in Indonesia, where oftentimes they gripe about the USA being allowed to be so powerful, have nukes, etc. Seriously, when I was there one guy was mildly upset that the USA’s country code was +1 while Indonesia was +62….he said “why couldn’t Indonesia be no. 1 for once?”

    I had to explain that it was not some dastardly plan at all…

  • I don’t know that I’d call the NATO decision an “epic fail”.  I’m sure that it wasn’t everything TAO had hoped for, but they DID pony up SOME help.  And let’s face it:

    1.  Europe isn’t exactly a military powerhouse; they don’t have that many troops to send;

    2.  Do we really want NATO to run the mission in A-stan, or even have a large say in how things are done?  This is a continent that’s had “appease” as its default diplomatic position since 1938 (demographic trends being what they are in Europe, this will eventually change to “collaborate” and then to “ally” with islamofascists);

    3.  Why are we asking the French to volunteer for another opportunity to surrender?

    IMO, the real failure in TAO’s Rock Europe Tour ’09 is on the part of his partisans, especially in MiniTru: they ASSURED us during the campaign that TAO, with his messiah-like powers, would make the Euros love us again after they were so rudely and continuously dismissed by Bush (snarl!) with his cowboy, unilateralist diplomacy.  According to lefties and MiniTru, the Euros’ refusals to do everything we asked during the Dark Age of Bush (snarl!) was ENTIRELY due to his bungling, high-handed diplomacy and had absolutely nothing to do with conflicting European desires or worldviews.

    Now MiniTru has a choice: either admit that TAO isn’t the god of diplomacy that they made him out to be, or admit that Bush (snarl!), for all his faults, wasn’t the sole reason for European recalcitrance on certain issues.

    I think we’re already seeing them taking what’s behind curtain #1.  

    But hey!  Didn’t Michelle O look just FAB-O while she was dazzling her way around the Continent?  Michelle for president in ’16!

    / sarc

  • Yesterday’s WSJ had a splendid smackdown of Obama’s disarmament speech calling him out for his historical illiteracy:

    Mr. Obama said, “And I had an excellent meeting with President Medvedev of Russia to get started that process of reducing our nuclear stockpiles, which will then give us a greater moral authority to say to Iran, don’t develop a nuclear weapon; to say to North Korea, don’t proliferate nuclear weapons,”  implying that previous American Presidents had lacked such “authority.”

    The President went even further in Prague, noting that “as a nuclear power — as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon — the United States has a moral responsibility to act.” That barely concealed apology for Hiroshima is an insult to the memory of Harry Truman, who saved a million lives by ending World War II without a bloody invasion of Japan. As for the persuasive power of “moral authority,” we should have learned long ago that the concept has no meaning in Pyongyang or Tehran, much less in the rocky hideouts of al Qaeda.

    The truth is that Mr. Obama’s nuclear vision has reality exactly backward. To the extent that the U.S. has maintained a large and credible nuclear arsenal, it has prevented war, defeated the Soviet Union, shored up our alliances and created an umbrella that persuaded other nations that they don’t need a bomb to defend themselves.

    • Yeah, but it’s hard to see the fuzzy unicorns of peace farting happiness gas with nuclear bombs strapped to their backs.    We have to have ‘moral authority’. 

      As defined by, well, not sure, but clearly we just don’t have it.   And darn it if we did, Ahmydinnerjacket and PingPong Ill would just darn well have to see we did and they’d get all emotional and apologize and get rid of their nuclear programs and promise to be nice people forever and ever and the happy farting unicorns of freedom and peace could roam the mountains of Iran and North Korea once again, unfettered by the threat of our nuclear arsenal weighing them down.

  • Obama got another bump in the <a href=””>polls</a> — apparently from his Euro tour.  I get the impression that Americans like it when Obama is doing grand presidential things like slapping around CEOs and making big international speeches.

    However, when Obama goes back to being a work-a-day president pushing through an immense leftist agenda with a staff of questionable competence, his poll soften again. So my guess is that we are going to see a lot of Obama as melodrama.

  • I like how you cherry pick the one or two opinions that reflect your desire to paint Obama as ineffective (and yoou stated clearly that if he got the ‘incompetent’ label then it would stick).  Your strategy is apparent.  But Obama knew he wasn’t going to get Afghan combat troops.  He knew he wasn’t going to get Sarkozy and Merkel to go along with stimulus money.  It’s part of the dance (at the ‘concert of G20) that diplomats and leaders play.  Most of the results were scripted.   So Obama shares Reagan’s view of wanting a world without nukes.   That Reagan and Obama, those naive fools.   Face it, no trip is perfect, but this one was quite a success, especially compared to recent forrays of Presidents abroad — and it’s his first one.  But keep trying to plant the ‘incompetent label’ on Obama.  It makes for entertaining reading.

    • If you know you aren’t getting something ahead of time, you don’t make a speech asking for it so that people can see you didn’t get what you asked for.  You go into it knowing what they’re going to agree to, and that’s what your ask for in your speech, or something close to that. 

      That way you look good.

      As opposed to allowing evil bastards like us being able to say “you asked for X and didn’t get it!”.
      Come on, it’s obvious he’s one faux pas after another Mr. Poly Sci – from the goofy, inappropriate gifts to BOWING, freaking BOWING to the king of a foreign country.    Which part of the President of the US bows to NO foreign ruler don’t you get?

      If he can’t get something as simple as the protocols right, why am I supposed to believe he’s got the important shit correct? Your say so?  (bwaaahahahahahahaha).  He’s an amateur, and an inexperienced one at that, working with a team of amateurs.  Even the left (Salon) is starting to notice because they’re working on the excuses for the obvious fumbles.

      • Oh, I see, it wasn’t a bow you know, it’s because he’s taller and he used both hands that he had to reach way down to get the king’s hand.  Who cares what the photos and videos show.

        Now we can add the noun liar to the adjective clueless to describe him.

    • Of course Erb knows what Obama is thinking because they both think alike. The voices have told him so.

    • Obama and the MSM ran his campaign telling the American people he could get allies to work better with us than Bush. Now, you are saying he knew he could not do that. Are you saying they lied to us?

  • One of the ways to deal with Obama is to pay attention to what he does, and what he is saying, of course, but not to watch him doing or saying it, ever, or at least very rarely.

    I can’t remember for certain, but I do believe that I watched a lot of Bill Clinton early in his presidency. I could still actually listen to him as late as, I believe, 1998, when he gave a State of the Union speech after which I dubbed him “The Soviet Santa Claus” because no one was getting out of his store without at least a toaster.

    But Obama, I can’t watch him. Honestly, I find him to be the single most revolting political personality of my lifetime, which includes the aforesaid Clinton (and the wife, even worse), Dick Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, John Kerry, a truly revolting line-up in national politics, to which I should quickly add Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. But all of these are only mildly revolting next to Obama, which is quite a thing for me to say about a group that includes both Clintons.

    I just don’t buy a single word out of Obama’s mouth, I don’t buy the ersatz planetary personality schtick, don’t find him particularly smart and not even a bit wise, and the cult of personality backstory makes it even more revolting. And his wife, well, it’s not for nothin’ that they kept her well under wraps as the campaign progressed. A small dose of her lasts for a very long time; I think I’m good for the next four years on that score.

    So I only take it in as news, and absolutely refuse to watch the endless speeches, town hall nonsense, or the press conferences. And I expect that to be how I’ll handle it straight through. It cuts right through the grease.

    As far as respecting the office of the Presidency, I think that I have way more respect for the office than Obama does. He seems to have a contempt for the office equal to the contempt he has for the United States.

    Like Erb says, finally a president who thinks they way he does.

    • Obama’s tough for me too.

      Truth to tell, I also couldn’t listen to Bush 43 for the longest time.  George Bush has a style and an accent that will drive just about any blue coaster like me crazy. But he eventually won me over.  In part because he got better at speaking and presentation; but mostly because I watched him long enough to sense that hard honest guy trying to drain the swamp no matter what without making excuses.

      Obama, however, chills me to the bone. He reminds me of my stepfather who was a con man and outright psychopath. Yet most people loved my stepfather, even people who were close enough to know better.  I don’t think Obama is anywhere near as sick as my stepfather, but in a similar way I sense that there is something deeply wrong with Obama.

      • Bush 43 was often annoying, and I could understand how people who didn’t agree with him could take his transient problems with articulation and conclude from those problems that he was a dope. He wasn’t a dope, and far from it, but after eight years you can get tired of anyone.  I was a big fan of Reagan, but unlike a lot of people, I didn’t take that well to his personality. I actually took to his policies and found him personally annoying for much of the first term. Eventually I found him quite endearing, as I understood him better.
        Obama is not a psychopath. Bill Clinton is a psychopath (and such a classic example of one that you could put his picture next to the word in the dictionary). What Obama shares with Clinton is narcissism, but that narcissism took Obama in a different direction than Clinton, and it’s a direction that’s far more dangerous. Obama is a revolutionary.
        The body counts around psychopaths can be counted on fingers; sometimes you need to go to toes. The body counts around revolutionaries require calculators.

        • No, given the stature of psychopaths like Hitler, Stalin, and Ted Bundy, Bill Clinton is not in the same league nor should he have his image inset next to the term psychopath  in the dictionary.

          What I am saying is that I think is that there something fundamentally ‘off’  about Obama. He is another level of wounded, compared even to Bill Clinton, and it doesn’t mean he’s a psychopath, but he is one bizarre breed of cat.  Here’s an excerpt of a poem for the communist Frank Marshall Davis who was Obama’s father figure in his teenage years.

          … Pop takes another shot, neat,
          Points out the same amber
          Stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine, and
          Makes me smell his smell, coming
          From me; he switches channels, recites an old poem
          He wrote before his mother died,
          Stands, shouts, and asks
          For a hug, as I shrink, my
          Arms barely reaching around
          His thick, oily neck, and his broad back; ’cause
          I see my face, framed within
          Pop’s black-framed glasses
          And know he’s laughing too.

          Pop, a poem by Barack Obama

          • Hitler and Stalin were both revolutionaries, not simple individual psychopaths. Hitler had his own variant on an idealized future that was an idealized past and a populist revolutionary fervor with a racialist format. Stalin and Mao were revolutionary Marxist-Leninists. None of them were simple psychopaths.

            Bill Clinton, however, was and is a simple, and perfect, psychopath: a narcissist, no conscience, interested primarily in himself (i.e., not revolution), no empathy (though he sold himself as Mr. Empathy), lied even when it wasn’t necessary, master blame-shifter, fixed people in his presence with his gaze, said to be absolutely charming and irresistable (not that I ever got that part), and at the end of the day his followers, betrayed a thousand times over, still adorded him. (See: Without Conscience by Robert D. Hare, the developer of the Psychopathy Checklist; the book would make a better biography of Clinton than any that has or will be written.)

            Ted Bundy, by the way, is no typical psychopath. Psychopaths are not generally serial killers, although serial killers are certainly a form of psychopath. I call them Psychopaths Deluxe, with complications.

            Obama is a revolutionary, and the evidence for that has been discussed many times here. From Frank Marshall Davis (CPUSA), who was his early mentor, to the postmodern cultural Marxism at Columbia, to the Alinsky training, to the choice of a black liberation theology church and preacher, to the friendship with Ayers and Dohrn, the association with ACORN, this guy must be taken as he presents. These things must not be discounted simply because he was elected President of the United States. That does not absolve him of his background, which was not even lightly vetted during the campaign.  And the background is ghastly and serious revolutionary business. The black theology alone is screwier than anything Hitler believed. And it takes revolutionary violence as a given, by the way.

            And recall that the choice of the black liberation theology church comes after much prior revolutionary indoctrination, so Obama was not developing immunity to that disease. He was craving it.

          • And just to be more clear about Frank Marshall Davis, he wasn’t just a communist in the generic sense. He was a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), which was not just a folksy collection of political oddballs as it is often portrayed. It was serious business for serious Communists and it was that because it was controlled from Moscow. Many were the fellow travelers in the U.S., few were those who were allowed to join the Party.

  • The thing that really bugs me every time I think of it is that bow to  king Abdullah.  I never thought I would see an American President bend a knee to some two-bit tyrant, unelected ruler of a country that wouldn’t exist but for the US, and one who continues to bite the hand that protects it. The sooner we use up their oil the better, then they can go back to whatever it was they were doing before they could afford to buy some of the appearance of civilization.  

    • I haven’t seen the bow yet. I just heard O’Reilly calling it a “gaffe.”

      What are the chances that it was intentionally submissive and meant to be seen throughout the Muslim world as precisely that? Would something like that be too much to attribute to a man already apologizing to the world for America, while on foreign soil, in but his third month in office?

      That’s what I’ll be looking for when I finally see it.

  • There is a video here;

    At about 0:54  Abdullah holds out his right hand at almost shoulder height, which Obama grasps as he bows.  Perhaps I am mistaken though, and this is some new form of the dap. I am not as conversant with these things as I once was.

    • That was a bow, intentional and unequivocal. Presidents get protocol briefings, so that they handle these things properly. That wasn’t just an attempt to get down at the Abdullah’s eye level. Obama showed submission. It was unmistakeable. He bowed at the waist, the way a gentleman might bow to a lady at the dance floor. Doing that in front of a Saudi King conveys a different meaning. This is another in a succession of distinct abrogations of the standing and dignity of the Presidency.

      • To clarify: when I write that president’s get protocol briefings so that they handle these thing properly, I don’t mean that they are coached on how to bow. There is no protocol for a president to bow to a foreign leader. Obama would have been told exactly how to greet Abdullah, and he certainly is free to add this or that friendly gesture, but the bow is not a friendly gesture. It’s an act of submission. Later in the video he passes in front of Queen Elizabeth who has taken a seat in the front row and he might have said hellow to her and nodded (I couldn’t tell; I’ll have to watch it again), but he makes no gesture comparable to a bow. He only did that with the Muslim King, the one who rules Mecca.

      • If there’s a doubt, watch Abdullah, his gaze goes from looking up as the President approaches, to DOWN during the handshake.

        If Abdullah’s that much shorter (and he is) why is it he’s looking down to, presumably, continue to look at the President who ‘isn’t bowing’.  If we had Sara Palin or even the Hildebeast as Prez, I’d understand why he might be looking down at their chests.  What’s the excuse with Obama, thatAbdullah wanted to see the American Flag Pin the President had on his lapel?

  • The absurdity is amazing.  The world is full of real problems and some people get all bent over backwards because it looked like the President might have bowed slightly.   Uh, OK.  I’ll focus on REAL problems and let you guys get emotional over perceived (though not necessarily real) symbolic acts of, oh, what would it be, politeness?

    • The symbols of state protocol are very important, Erb. The message sent is very important. The way the message is received is very important. Are you suddenly uninterested in the message sent and how that message is received between, for instance, the President of the United States and the Islamic world?

      And your inability to walk and chew gum at the same time is your problem.

      But you don’t do well with any issues, even when you take them one at a time. Your approaches are superficial. Your effort lazy. You don’t understand economics, the military, or your own field, political science. As best as I can see there are about twenty or thirty people at this blog alone who have been telling you that for a couple few years now.

      But you just keep repeating yourself. Did you get a short pack of flash cards, maybe?

      Maybe what needs to happen is a blog about you, aimed directly at UMF students, your colleagues at UMF, and the taxpayers of Maine. Instead of wasting the time and space at a blog like this one endlessly repeating for you the reasons why your analysis, ideas, and attitude are inadequate and half-formed, anyone who wanted to could take it right to the “Who is Scott Erb?” blog and try to get, first, your own students to focus on the problem of you.

      How does that idea strike you?

  • Infreakingcredible. Bozo claims to have studied political science and international relations and yet does not understand that symbolism has political consequences, domestic and international.

    • Don’t be silly, timactual.  You know I’m talking about the hunch/alleged bow.  It’s meaningless.  It’s not noticed by most people, it’s right wing talk show fodder to last a day or two.  The Berlin Wall — that was meaningful symbolism.  Not this.

      • To say again that you are an idiot, Scott, only takes the conversation back to the beginning, although it’s also certain to be where the conversation will end as well.

        To a Muslim, you miserable idiot, the President of the United States bowing to the Prince of political Islam has far more meaning than the fall of the Berlin Wall.

        It was also not an “alleged” bow, at least not to anyone whose very mind isn’t capable of airbrushing the image out of it. It is a direct, submissive, unmistakeable bow.

        While its full meaning is not yet clear, I’m sure that it eventually will be. It is already obvious that this President does indeed “think like” you, which is something to be apprehended with fear and loathing.

        See you at the “Who Is Scott Erb?” blog.

      • Meaningless symbolism – yes yes, of course, that’s why kings for centuries have required bows and that sort of thing.  Because it’s MEANINGLESS.  
        And it was meaningless and that’s why they had to make sure they told us all it was NOT a bow.

        Poly Sic professor?  Really?  Really?  Come on, I call Bull Shit, it’s all a joke right?  You’ve been Ott Scerb all along, right?