25 March 2012

Obama's West Wing Not "Punching Above Its Weight"

Recently,  I had a short  yet civil conversation with an acquaintance from the other side of the aisle.  When the topic of foreign policy arose, I noted the many mis-steps that the Obama Administration has make with the United Kingdom and how we needed to renew the “special relationship” with our principle ally.  My liberal interlocutor dismissed the many gift gaffes and insisted that the world holds President Obama in great esteem.

The Fox News Channel showed the following montage of ham handed handling of foreign dignitaries at the White House, but this evidence would be dismissed by Obamatons because it was a right wing news source.  However, here is the original Danish feature.

Universally well respected-- hardly.  The sarcasm emanating from this reporter about the repetition that all nations are “one of our strongest allies” and “punching above its weight” is palpable.

To bolster friendships with foreign nations, it is understandable to ingratiate your guest by emphasizing their importance.  But using the same tired phrase in the age of videotape and Facebook leaves the Obama West Wing open to mockery.

What is really vexing is the President’s rhetorical crutch for the boxing term “punch above its weight”.  Cynics would snort that Obama is inarticulate without the TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States).   But Presidents have a speech writing staff to draft everything from State of the Union speeches to Presidential remarks in a classroom full of sixth graders.  These joint appearances by leaders are scripted, aside from any question period.  So it seems that the Obama West Wing Protocol personnel as well as the speech writing staff are not “punching below their weight”.  It also reflects poorly on guidance and foreign relations followup coming from Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

As he was  traveling on the Korean Peninsula, President Obama remarked that it was not clear “who was calling the shots in North Korea.”  Such an admission is quite curious considering that the United States just engaged in another round of food for NPRK promises to behave better, which quickly is reneged by Pyongyang.  Why would the US agree to this charade of propping up a regime  when we do not know who is really in charge?  If that is really the case, what was the diplomatic achievement worth.  Moreover, a wise ruler might have been cagey about answering about an unstable regime while virtually on the demilitarized zone with a shakey armistice and a pattern of unstable and provocative behavior by North Korea to prove their points.  The only thing that Mr. Obama missed out on was admitting that due to their nuclear arms, the NPRK “punches above its weight.”

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