You have to have a lot of sympathy for President Obama. The hand he was dealt was a bad one. He has had to deal with some of history’s worst natural disasters, ruinous wars and conflicts, massive acts of violence and terrorism, as well as calamitous economic crises. His European trip embodies the enormity of the challenges he faces and miserable tools he has been given to meet them. It also showed him again as one of America’s most articulate, well briefed, stirring, and careful leaders of the last two decades.
THE IRISH VISIT
The “best enjoyable” part of the President’s trip must have been the visit to his family’s ancestral home in Ballymoney. The pints of Guinness, slaps on the back, Irish jokes and talks with government leaders gave him some measure of Irish hospitality and devilish humor. Even a President must have some fun!
LONDON VISIT AND DEFINING THE US-EUROPE RELATIONSHIP
Obama quashed most of British criticism that he was not interested in Europe and cooperating with Europe. The special relationship became also the “indispensable relationship.” Not mentioned was the new government’s leaders churlish statements that their relationship with the US would be “solid but not slavish.” He stayed in Buckingham Palace and there was a formal dinner in London with the Queen which must have been more fun than his meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, who is conducting a “slash and burn” economic strategy against his own people. Cameron must have pressed Obama to do more in Libya, as did President Sarkozy. Obama seems to have made clear that he expected NATO to remain in the lead. Continue reading