The Special Relationship … in Storage

 

With the AIPAC Conference going on in Washington through tomorrow — and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House today — all eyes are on the U.S. — Israel relationship this week; a relationship that President Obama hasn’t exactly tended to with enthusiasm.

Against this backdrop, it’s instructive to read Jay Nordlinger’s piece in the newest print edition of National Review, “Cousinhood, Lately”, which looks at how the British have been similarly displeased with the diplomatic neglect bordering on contempt they receive from the White House. One passage in particular, noting President Obama’s decision to return the bust of Winston Churchill that the British government had loaned to the White House (a gift that George W. Bush displayed in the Oval Office), is grimly illuminating:

From the White House, the bust went to the home of the British ambassador in Washington. An experienced Washington hand tells the following story: One night after dinner, the ambassador and an American visitor were looking at the bust. The Ambassador remarked to his visitor, “We are keeping it here for the time being, trusting that your next president, whoever he is, will want it back.” 

In 2012, as in 2008, there will likely be those who make the case for Obama partially on the grounds that he bolsters America’s standing in the world. Perhaps they should consult with the nations that have traditionally been America’s strongest allies, which increasingly seem to regard the Obama presidency like a bout of flu: tolerable only because it is ephemeral. 

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @NickStuart

    Scary. I’m glad they’re keeping it handy.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @TristanAbbey

    Ehhh, the bust incident was in 2009….since then we’ve had a state visit, Libya, etc…

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TroySenik

    We’ve also had the revelation that the U.S. may have given up some valuable British intelligence in order to make a deal with Russia; the undercutting of the British government on the withdrawal timeframe in Afghanistan; and our unhelpful meddling in the Falklands situation. My point is not that Obama hates the British (I don’t believe he does). My point, rather, is that he does not show them respect commensurate with their status as one of our closest allies — despite the profligacy with which he showers such respect on regimes that have done little or nothing to earn it.

    Tristan Abbey: Ehhh, the bust incident was in 2009….since then we’ve had a state visit, Libya, etc… · 4 minutes ago

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @IsraelP
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Perhaps they should consult with the nations that have traditionally been America’s strongest allies, which increasingly seem to regard the Obama presidency like a bout of flu: tolerable only because it is ephemeral.  · · 29 minutes ago

    More like chicken pox that leaves scars.  Or polio that leaves a disability.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Member
    @TristanAbbey
    Troy Senik, Ed.: My point, rather, is that he does not show them respect commensurate with their status as one of our closest allies — despite the profligacy with which he showers such respect on regimes that have done little or nothing to earn it.

    Certainly seems night and day, Bush vs. Obama.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @MelFoil

    It didn’t go with the art photographs.

    Image39.jpg

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @flownover

    Maybe he is looking for better friends in the inspirational EU. So who liberated the EU ? 

    Oh, darn.. well, maybe he is looking for better friends in the inspirational Indonesian archipelago. So who liberated Indonesia ?

    Ok, so maybe he is looking for better friends in the inspirational ….

    oh forget it. He has all the friends he thinks he needs. While his precedecessors had a special relationship, he has discovered that he has a special purpose.  And it is to transform America.

    Let’s take a moment to think about this special purpose …….hey the new phone books are here !!

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @RawPrawn
    Troy Senik, Ed.: We’ve also had the revelation that the U.S. may have given up some valuable British intelligence in order to make a deal with Russia; the undercutting of the British government on the withdrawal timeframe in Afghanistan; and our unhelpful meddling in the Falklands situation. My point is not that Obama hates the British (I don’t believe he does). My point, rather, is that he does not show them respect commensurate with their status as one of our closest allies — despite the profligacy with which he showers such respect on regimes that have done little or nothing to earn it.

    Tristan Abbey: Ehhh, the bust incident was in 2009….since then we’ve had a state visit, Libya, etc… · 4 minutes ago

    4 hours ago

    Do you mean to suggest Obama is more honest than FDR?

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @user_83937

    Letting somebody know you have their back is just another way of leading from behind.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Percival
    flownover: Maybe he is looking for better friends in the inspirational EU. So who liberated the EU ? 

    Oh, darn.. well, maybe he is looking for better friends in the inspirational Indonesian archipelago. So who liberated Indonesia ?

    Ok, so maybe he is looking for better friends in the inspirational ….

    oh forget it. He has all the friends he thinks he needs. While his precedecessors had a special relationship, he has discovered that he has a special purpose.  And it is to transform America.

    Let’s take a moment to think about this special purpose …….hey the new phone books are here !! · 3 hours ago

    Edited 3 hours ago

    BHO doesn’t have friends — just people he hasn’t used and thrown away yet.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @EThompson

    But he dared to be great.

    What an absolutely perfect summary of the man!

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @KCMulville

    I’d love to see a political ad which quotes Obama, filled with clips where he …

    • honors our foreign allies
    • promises to close Guantanamo
    • change the tone in Washington
    • keep unemployment below 8%
    • protect the Hyde Amendment

    … then compare those to reality. Then finish with whatever promise Obama is making lately.

    The man has  a record. Hoist him on it.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller
    Troy Senik, Ed.: We’ve also had the revelation that the U.S. may have given up some valuable British intelligence in order to make a deal with Russia ….

    Intel doesn’t magically disappear when a new political leader is sworn into office. Even if we elect a Republican President this November and he seems trustworthy, America’s allies will not trust us with information that might be compromised by a Democrat in 2016.

    That said, our allies won’t be worth much in 2016 anyway. They are on their own paths to self-destruction.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @tabularasa

    Thanks for posting this,  Troy. Like many other Ricochetians, I love Churchill, warts and all.  He combined sparkling humor, a towering intellect, and dead seriousness about the problems of his world. He made strategic mistakes. Unlike our “leader from behind,” Churchill’s mistakes tended to be from biting off more than could be chewed. But he dared to be great.

    We all have our Obama moment, the point in time when we realized that this man should not be president: mine came when he returned the Churchill bust. I suppose, when one is as small as the real Obama has turned out to be, Churchill’s bust would be a continual reminder that the shoes he was trying to fill (world leader) are way too big.

    The first act of our new president-elect should be to ask the British embassy to deliver the Churchill bust to the White House on January 20.  Then have the bust sitting beside him when he signs the repeal of Obamacare.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @SteveS

    Why shouldn’t our allies be subjected to the same contempt from the president we americans suffer through constantly.

    NOTE: Hearing an excerpt from his speech today pertaining to Israel/American relations the president claimed to “have Israel’s back.” Is it just me or is that statement about as un-presidential as it gets.

    You don’t have an allies” back”, you express your support as a statesman  would by pledging your unfailing support to their safety and well being and respect for their individual soveirgnty.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @SteveS
    tabula rasa: 

    The first act of our new president-elect should be to ask the British embassy to deliver the Churchill bust to the White House on January 20.  Then have the bust sitting beside him when he signs the repeal of Obamacare. · 17 minutes ago

    It should be marched back through the streets of Washington by a squad of Marines just as Pelosi did with her gavel  making sure to have it captured on video so as not to miss the expletives sure to come raining down. Not to be divisive but fair and balanced.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TroySenik

    I agree, Stephen. Unfortunately, the unbroken trend in recent American political rhetoric has been towards the demotic. The downside is a debased lexicon. The upside is that we get to hear our presidents sing Al Green! Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have plopped down $1,500 for a ticket to a Democratic-Republican fundraiser back in the day if you knew that Jefferson was going to do a few bars of “Tired of Being Alone.”

    Stephen Spicer: 

    NOTE: Hearing an excerpt from his speech today pertaining to Israel/American relations the president claimed to “have Israel’s back.” Is it just me or is that statement about as un-presidential as it gets.

    You don’t have an allies” back”, you express your support as a statesman  would by pledging your unfailing support to their safety and well being and respect for their individual soveirgnty. · 1 minute ago

    • #17

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