President Obama is “doing rather badly” according to Lord Carrington, the only surviving member of Winston Churchill’s government. The 95-year-old former Foreign Secretary made the comments in an interview with the Daily Telegraph to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston’s death.
He said of the American President: ”I think he’s doing rather badly. I said to Henry Kissinger – an old mate of mine – what he thought of him, and he replied: ‘He makes the most wonderful speeches, very thoughtful. The trouble is: he thinks having made the speech, he has solved the problem.’ And I agree.’’
Carrington has been a looming figure on the British landscape for decades, having inherited his seat in the House of Lords aged 21 in 1940. He quickly rose up the ranks and served as Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries during Churchill’s Third Minister from 1951 – 1954. The post was crucial given how close the country was to starvation due to being too small to survive on home grown produce.
He retired from ministerial office in 1984 to become NATO Secretary General, having been marred by being the Foreign Secretary who did not identify the dangers posed to the Falkland Islands by the Argentina. As a member of the House of Lord’s from 1940 he was exempt from military service during most of WWII but fought anyway and was awarded the Military Cross in 1945.
Given his record and his association with Sir Winston Churchill his comments are likely to be taken seriously in Britain, a country that has already expressed serious concerns about President Obama. Early on in his term Obama was widely believed to have ‘snubbed’ Britain by referring to France as America’s “oldest ally” and returning the bust of Churchill from the White House.
Obama had initially been popular in Britain as a result of his charisma, but fears about the damage he has done to the “Special Relationship” have significantly damaged his reputation.