Friday, 25 October 2013

The friendless Obama

Germans are sour about the "news" that Barack Obama's NSA has monitored Angela Merkel's phone:

The Democrat, who prefers to spend his evenings with his family or alone in front of his computer, has made it no secret in Washington that he does not want to make new friends. That maxim especially applies to his foreign diplomacy. Unlike his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama is loved by the people of the world, but much less by their heads of government. On the heels of recent revelations that US spy agencies might have monitored Chancellor Merkel's cell phone, the complaints about Merkel's "lost friend" Obama are misplaced. Obama doesn't want to be a friend.--

So much non-diplomacy is new among US presidents. Reagan wooed Margaret Thatcher. George H.W. Bush confided in Helmut Kohl as Bill Clinton did in Tony Blair. George W. Bush, who many thought was an isolationist, could count on a whole team of "buddies," such as the then-prime minister of Spain, José Aznar, and the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. He even entertained them at his ranch in Texas.

Merkel was also invited there, and in return Bush ate a dinner of wild boar in her German electoral district. The chancellor has from time to time said that she values such trans-Atlantic closeness.
That is over. "Coolness has its price," Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl wrote in 2010, adding that Obama appeared to have no genuine friend among world leaders. But what for? He has the NSA.

The fact that the US spies on leaders of other countries should not come as a surprise for Germany, or any other country. That's what intelligence gathering organizations are for.

However, Gregor Peter Schmitz of Der Spiegel is right about the friendless Obama. But what made him think that "Obama is loved by the people of the world"?

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