In case no one has noticed, the President is in Europe right now on his first overseas trip (Canada doesn’t count) at attend the G-20 summit in London. His tour will take him to Germany, France and Turkey. Prior to his departure, the media treated us to some of the deep issues to be encountered with the Europeans on this trip. For example, CNN did a fine in-depth analysis of how Michelle Obama would interact with the Queen of England. Answer: The Queen is a “country girl” at heart, so pictures of Michelle Obama tilling the White House garden should create an immediate bond. Of course, Michelle Obama is an Ivy League educated lawyer, hardly a country girl. But I digress…
For his part, the Prez is certain to play well given his earlier European dry run as Candidate Obama with his trusty road crew in tow- all three network anchors. It would seem that Europeans are as, if not more, infatuated with Obama as his fawning American crowds and media. It is sort of like the curiosity and infatuation after Isabella and Ferdinand experienced when Columbus presented them with a native American all those years ago. He is, however, destined to face some opposition from European leaders. For their part, both Sarkozy and Merkel have laid down the gauntlet pointing a huge European finger at Obama’s America for the current financial mess. Without a doubt, Obama will assure them that he inherited this mess because of “the failed policies of the past eight years.” sarkozy, in particular, is pushing for some supranational financial regulatory body where American laws governing American financial institutions would take a back seat. Sorry, Barney Frank, but all that oversight may be for naught. Incidentally, did anyone catch his act on Lou Dobbs on Wednesday night? Is this guy unhinged or what? And what does this say about the folks in Massachusetts that send this guy back to Washington every two years? But, again, I digress…
According to Obama, after one meeting, the US-Chinese relationship is strong as ever. It better be- we need them to fund our debt and they need us to buy their products. But, no mention of human rights abuses, cyber-hacking, Tibetan repression, internet censorship, theft of intellectual property and a growing and menacing military. Aren’t these the very things Bush was bashed for by the left as concerns China? Are they no longer worthy of discussion because Barry has declared Chinese-US relations “strong?” Then there is the Brazilian prime minister- who Obama referred to as “my main man”- who less than two weeks ago became all European and blamed the world’s ills on America, specifically white, blue-eyed Americans.
But an adoring European public will fawn over Obama as he self-flagellates himself and America into humility for all the horrors of “the past eight years and failed policies.” He will tell them that a new era of relations between the America and Europe was ushered in when he was elected President and as he assumes his role as grand Healer of the Planet. The cowboy diplomacy of Bush has been buried, he’ll tell them through “code words.” And his adoring fans in Europe will lap up every minute and word of it.
That is ecause Europeans- even more than Americans- are big suckers for a cult of personality. And if nothing else, Obama is the epitome of a cult of personality. As proof of the European susceptibility, I offer the examples of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Good choice of European leadership there.
This is Obama’s European stadium tour having completed his North American tour. I suspect that given the raving media reviews, Asia and South America are not far behind. The press coverage has been more saccharine than the crowds that show up, other than occasional diplomatic protocol screw-up. Do we really care if Michelle Obama hugs the Queen? I say greet her with a classic Chicago high-five and throw in a hip bump for good measure. Meanwhile, European leaders are pointing fingers at America for everything from global warming to the fleas on their dogs. Obama’s contrition is underwhelming. The man could be bitch slapped in front of the world and the press would report how he commanded the stage and was the story, bitch slaps and all. We would be told that this such a welcome break from the diplomacy of Bush. Adsolutely nothing could be accomplished (a real possibility given the history of these summits), yet the press will declare this trip a a success. It will be “proof” that Obama is the leader America needs- bitch slaps and all.
In 1984, Bruce Springsteen went on tour in Europe and somewhere along the way he returned an American icon. He then went on a wildly successful North American tour and sold out everywhere he went. His shows were legendary. Then something strange happened. He released some really sucky albums and he lost popularity. Apply that to Obama and politics and I suspect the same mechanism will occur here.
And it takes balls for Europe to lecture and critcize the United States. If not for this country, all of Europe would have been either fascist or communist for a vast majority of the 20th century. If Europe is the shining example of a “new world order,” in Gordon Brown’s words, if it is the template for Obama’s socialist vision of an American welfare state epitomized by a stagnant economy, then we are in a lot more trouble than we originally thought on the morning of November 5th, 2008.