Shortly after taking office, President Obama visited Europe to explain, “In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world…there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” But lest Americans think that they were arrogant, dismissive and derisive only to America’s allies, Obama emphasized at the Summit of the Americas, “we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms.”
Obama came into office pledging to change all that.
So much for that notion. President Obama has been arrogant, dismissive, even derisive toward our allies; he has “sought to dictate our terms” repeatedly. From Russia to Israel, from Great Britain to Honduras, President Obama has been insulting and nasty, apparently in the belief that passive-aggressive pejoratives can substitute for an actual foreign policy.
Russia: On Tuesday, President Obama stated that Russia was a “regional power” operating out of “weakness” in Crimea. Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Russia of backward behavior – behavior from the 19th century. And of course, Obama slammed Putin back in August 2013, when in a fit of pique over NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s sanctuary in Russia, he stated, “he’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom.”
So far, Obama’s passive-aggressive attitude has prompted an aggressive-aggressive response from Putin.
Great Britain. Forget Obama handing back the Winston Churchill bust. That was just the beginning. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed Argentina in its conflict with Great Britain over the Falklands. The Obama administration didn’t send a serving official to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. The US Ambassador to London, Louis Susman, ripped Britain for not joining the EU. Reportedly, a senior State Department official said in 2009, “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.” And Obama called the French America’s strongest ally. As Nile Gardiner of the UK Daily Telegraph wrote, “to suggest that Paris and not London is Washington’s strongest partner is simply ludicrous.”
France. In November 2011, Obama joked about then-President Nicolas Sarkozy, stating of the birth of Sarkozy’s daughter, “I informed Nicolas on the way in that I am confident that Giulia inherited her mother’s looks rather than her father’s, which I think is an excellent thing.” It caused international consternation. A couple of years earlier, Obama turned down a dinner invite from the Sarkozys.
Poland. When not removing a planned missile shield from Poland and the Czech Republic, Obama has spent his time repeatedly insulting one of America’s chief allies in Eastern Europe. In giving Jan Karski, a Polish resistance hero during World War II, a Medal of Freedom, Obama called a Nazi death camp a “Polish death camp.” The Obama administration had already prevented former Polish President Lech Walesa from accepting the honor on Karski’s behalf. In 2010, Obama played golf instead of attending the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski as well as the First Lady and 94 senior government officials who died in a plane crash.
Israel. President Obama has repeatedly slammed Israel, first sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country to insult it as a human rights backwater (she said Israel lacked “empathy” and “generosity” toward the Palestinians, and likened Israel’s religious buses to Rosa Parks-like segregation), then sending Secretary of State John Kerry to threaten Israel with boycott. Obama stalked out of an early meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, compared Palestinian suffering to the Holocaust, and accused Israel of being the basis of world chaos. Obama then forced Netanyahu to apologize to Turkey for stopping Turkey’s terror flotilla directed toward arming and fostering Hamas in the Gaza Strip. And, of course, Obama himself has suggested that Israel doesn’t understand its own interests in the Middle East.
China. In defending his administration’s National Security Agency’s surveillance policies, Obama stated, “It may seem sometimes that America is being held to a different standard, and the readiness of some to assume the worst motives by our government can be frustrating. No one expects China to have an open debate about their surveillance programs, or Russia to take the privacy concerns of citizens into account.” It’s clear that Obama has attempted to avoid any direct insults, however, with First Lady Michelle Obama swearing off any human rights criticisms during her current trip to China.
Obama has also insulted Honduras (he called their ouster of power-seizing President Zelaya a “coup d’etat”), Norway (he has nominated an ambassador who knows nothing about the country, and cancelled lunch with the King of Norway after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo), India (Obama ripped the country’s protectionism by stating, “in too many sectors, such as retail, India limits foreign investment”), and others.
In other words, the president who vowed to bring together the world around America’s newfound humility has spent the last six years throwing around insulting language and braggadocio. So much for the foreign policy laced with “humility” Obama supposedly wanted. Instead, we have a weak foreign policy that has managed to insult our allies and embolden our enemies.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.