I have heard all of the hoo ha about the fact that President Obama bowed to the Saudi King during his “World Tour”. I have some thoughts on that particular moment. But I want to at least get a dialogue started about O’prompter’s overall performance on the international escapade he just undertook. I know conservatives have been fairly disgusted with his overall performance and the tone that he took with the world. Some of that was warranted, although I don’t know that all of it was. So I figure to throw my opinion out there for people to discuss and we can see where all of you fall.
I have to say that while I try to be positive when it comes to discussions about these topics, I almost feel as though I need to be critical because the main stream media absolutely will not be. I have listened to a lot of coverage on this already and I am frankly quite tired of listening to the liberal press try to convince Americans of the evils of George Bush and the Republicans. A constant theme running through the reporting on this was that Bush ruined America’s reputation in the world and that this trip was “a first step in restoring the image of America”. To this I say bullshit.
First of all, Bush was not nearly as disliked abroad as the MSM would have you believe. The hatred of Bush is media driven in America. That doesn’t have nearly the same effect internationally. Just another example of Americans making the mistake of not knowing world realities and assuming the world thinks just the same way we do. He did not snub his nose at the world any more (or any less) than any other President over the last 30 years. Most of those that dislike America do so because of our arrogance and our meddling. And if you think that George Bush did that any better or worse than Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, or Carter, then you, my friends are drinking the kool-aid and refusing to allow reality keep your biased perspective in check.
Secondly, that same class warfare game the liberals play here in the states is being played abroad with America playing the part of big corporations. Many who don’t like America do so because, according to their leaders and their media, their miseries “are caused by the corrupt and out of control fat cats at America Inc.”. It doesn’t have much at all to do with which talking head we call President, including George Bush. To be honest I am quickly tiring of this liberal blame game. If the left wants me to hear their side of the story, they have to first stop buying into this line of bullshit. The second that you think the economy, the deregulation, the financial organizations failures, America’s international image, and every other ill we see was caused by just one party, or even that one of the two parties is more responsible than the other, you are fooling yourself. More on that in a future post.
Back to the trip. Let’s start with the G20 Summit in London. He arrived and met with British PM Gordon Brown (I am not sure if he gave him some more DVD’s or not, like maybe a copy of “Shaft” or “Friday”) and the next day met with the Queen. I know people were up in arms that Michelle Obama had the audacity to touch the Queen. I don’t have issue with it. The Queen is just a woman, and she didn’t seem to have issue with it. Come on folks, who cares if Michelle Obama touched the Queen? If you are a Republican and making a big issue out of this, please stop now and slap yourself for being petty.
There has been quite a bit of fervor over the Summit itself. It seems that many people are upset that he “bad-mouthed” the US. I count myself as one of those in some instances and there are others that I don’t care about. I don’t agree with his statements that basically accept all of the blame for the current economic situations that the world faces. He stated to the nations of the world, “It is true, as my Italian friend has said, that the crisis began in the U.S. I take responsibility, even if I wasn’t even president at the time.” Did the US play a part? Sure, but we are not solely to blame. We could find just as much issue with our international partners and their actions over the last several years. Perhaps OPEC and their manipulation of oil pricing also played a part. It is worth noting that the world leaders loved hearing the statement.
On the flip side of this he made some significant recognitions that the global economy cannot be fixed by the US alone. There were many other resolutions made at the G20: Pledges to introduce greater regulation of financial markets, ban tax havens, and grant loans for poorer countries. I guess I could say that some of that is OK with me. I heard one snippet about the sovereignty of the US being sacrificed by the granting of power over our financial systems to the world body. I don’t know enough about it to comment, but if that is true, I am not happy about that. I don’t like the US government having the ability to take over a private enterprise, let alone a “world body”. If someone has more info on this please share! All I found in initial research was a statement from Gordon Brown saying “We will implement new rules on pay and bonuses at a global level that reflect actual performance with no more rewards for failure. We want to encourage corporate responsibility in every part of the world.”
Obama called the G20 deal “a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery.” The plan calls for reform of the international banking system and the injection of more than $1 trillion into the world financial system, as well as measures clamping down on tax havens and a commitment to build a green and sustainable economy.. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown heralded the emergence of a “new world order” Thursday following the release of what he called an “unprecedented” package of measures to tackle the crisis (OK I will admit that the phrase new world order frightens me a bit). Obama said: “We owe it to all of our citizens to act and to act with urgency. We have agreed upon a series of unprecedented steps to restore growth and prevent a crisis like this from happening again. We have rejected the protectionism that could deepen this crisis. … This cooperation between the world’s leading economies signals our support for open markets. Second, we are committed to comprehensive reform of a failed regulatory system. We can rebuild our global prosperity if we act with the sense of common purpose, persistence, and optimism that our moment demands.”
He spent some time in Turkey. He held a town hall style meeting there with Turkish students that included the statement, “I want you to know that I am personally committed to a new chapter of American engagement. We cannot afford to talk past one another, to focus only on our differences, or to let the walls of mistrust go up around us.” That was a good statement to make so bravo Mr. President.
From the podium of the National Assembly in Ankara, he spoke not only to Turks, but to the entire Muslim world and he carved out an image of a global statesman. He stated, “The United States is not and never will be at war with Islam” and that ” America’s relationship cannot and will not be based on opposition to Al Qaeda.” I am sure that resonated throughout the middle east. He drew generous applause by stating, “The United States has been enriched by its Muslim Americans” and that “many other Americans have Muslims in their families or they have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know,” he said, “because I am one of them.” The president pledged to support Turkey’s admission to the European Union. He urged dialogue with the Republic of Armenia and by inference with Greek Cypriots to bring peace and stability to what until now has been the divided island of Cyprus. He cited Turkey’s friendly relations with Israel. All good things.
However, At a press conference in Turkey, President Obama casually rebuked the old chestnut that the United States is a Judeo-Christian nation. “One of the great strengths of the United States,” the President said, “is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.” Personally I think he overstepped his bounds a bit here. First in speaking for 300 million people saying that we don’t consider the US a christian nation (because I think we DO consider ourselves a Christian nation). I think this was one of his bigger missteps on the trip.
And then there was this whole business of him bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia. Let me say first that, much like the Michelle touching the Queen thing, that this is a really petty thing for conservatives to get upset about. I don’t care if he bowed to the King or not. When meeting another world leader, I think politeness and courtesy are important. I know some people have this thing in their head that “America doesn’t bow to anyone!” so they feel this bow was disrespectful to the American people. I disagree. I think that this kind of arrogance, believing that the US is a higher power than other sovereign nations, is the exact reason why the people in the world who don’t like us feel the way they do. Because we think we are better than them. And we aren’t. I wouldn’t trade being an American for anything. And I love my country, I think you all know that. But they all deserve to feel the same way about theirs. So I don’t have any problem with the fact that he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia.
But make no mistake about it…. He DID bow to the King of Saudi Arabia. And this is where I am a bit peeved with the Obama administration. Instead of just saying “yes we did” or this is “change we can believe in” in terms of foreign relations, they had the audacity to tell us he didn’t bow. Press Secretary Gibbs (who may be one of the worst Press Secretaries in history) came out and told us that he was simply taller than the King and was reaching downward to shake his hand with both hands. First of all if this had been true we could call him on the fact that it is not considered polite to shake with both hands in Arab countries. But I submit that you look at that picture. Does it look like he is reaching down or bowing to you? He was bowing. And I continue to be insulted by the way this administration keeps just lying to my face. The whole Democratic party seems to be doing a lot of that lately. Blaming everything on Bush for example, when us thinking folks know better. I tired of being treated like I am stupid by politicians.
So there are some quick hits on the President’s first significant international trip. Overall I give him a B. He did a lot of the right things. He said some things I didn’t like, but what can you expect? I don’t like his entire platform for the direction he is moving the country, so certainly I am not going to like some of what he does.
But now I want to hear from all of you. What did you think of his trip? Do you care if he bowed? What did you think of the G20 statements and decisions? What other parts of the trip stood out to you? There were stops in France and Germany that I didn’t even touch here. I know it isn’t quite the argumentative post we have had for the last week or so, but hey, a night of lighter fare every couple days is a good thing. Believe me, the two part piece for tomorrow and Monday will be plenty argumentative enough as we tackle the moves towards socialism….