Obama's Asian Shellacking

It turns out being president is a lot harder than Barack Obama thought it was. After the biggest midterm electoral defeat in eighty years, Obama packed up Air Force One and headed out for a political shellacking abroad. You'd be hard-pressed to locate an accurate picture of world opinion regarding Obama's trip from our adoring media, so here are the highlights as reported by the foreign press.

Nothing is more emblematic of the Obama administration's tactful use of "smart power" than the front page of the Drudge Report the other day after Obama delivered his Jakarta speech. As reported by the Israeli press, Obama's comments gained him some strong return fire from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The fallout is all too familiar, and truth be told, Obama needs to make a serious effort to dip lower in Israel's opinion polls. A poll just last September showed that only 4% of Israeli's believed Obama is pro-Israel. Still, Obama's remarks in Jakarta highlight just what might be needed to target his few remaining fans.

It would have been hard to offend India, given the fact that Obama had announced a desire to push the country into the top tier of the U.N.'s Security Council. There were, of course, some eyebrows raised at Obama's teleprompter addiction. However, Indians quickly learned the appalling nature inherent in Obama's off-prompter, meandering banter. According to the Sri Lankan Press:

This disappointment turned to indignation the next morning when he projected Pakistan in what the Indian public opinion regarded as positive terms while answering a question from a student at a Town Hall meeting in Mumbai, who asked him why the US is not declaring Pakistan a terrorist state. In his reply, Obama described Pakistan as an enormous State with enormous potential and as a State which is strategically important not only for the US, but for the world. He expressed his view that a stable Pakistan would be in the interest of India. Indian public opinion was shocked when he described extremism as not uniquely confined to Pakistan, highlighted the casualties being suffered by Pakistan itself at the hands of extremists and explained the difficulties being faced by Pakistan in dealing with the extremists. His reply created an impression that he did not believe that the Pakistani State had any role in the activities of the terrorists.

You would think that this would be enough rebuke for one trip, but Obama effortlessly managed to push the bar lower. During the G-20 conference, Obama caught an earful from Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble. When Obama proposed an economic scheme aimed at boosting U.S. exports in Germany, Merkel shot back, calling the U.S. the "lowest common denominator." Schauble charged that Obama's economic policy is "clueless."

At least Obama showed unwavering high regard to Indonesia while he spoke to throngs of adoring citizens, right? Think again! The Jakarta Post featured a local international relations expert from the University of Indonesia who claimed Obama's speech showed how little respect he had for the nation Obama once called home:

"Obama seems to still view Indonesia as limited to low politics that tend to be possible for discussion only within a multilateral forum," Andi said.

"However, when it comes to dealing with high politics, or sensitive issues, to the US, Indonesia does not count."

Conventional wisdom would have told Obama to quit while he was behind, but instead, he also walked away from South Korea having botched an easy trade deal. With a preferable trade agreement on U.S. trucks already in hand, Obama and Democrats balked at the opportunity to expand U.S. exports and create jobs, jobs, jobs, because Korea's cars are too green. How does this twisted logic compute for a president obsessed with CAFE standards, Chevy Volts, and carbon credits? Nevertheless, President Dude came away empty-handed.

Even Obama's vaunted Japan trip might have had more to do with smoke and mirrors than tangible success. After Obama met with a number of leaders from nations bordering the Pacific in an effort to push forward with a free trade agreement, the White House blog pronounced success in the form of progress -- that is, if Japanese omission from the agreement can be considered a success. Professor Jane Kelsey of New Zealand, speaking on Australian radio, called the attempt a ploy for American national security and declared the so-called softening of Japan a "remote possibility." 

As disastrous as Obama has proven in Asia, the worst part of his trip is yet to come. With no failure left unexplored on the world scene, Obama heads back to the same country so happy to see him leave that his approval rating flipped to positive on the day he left. Perhaps it's a coincidence?  

Sam Foster is a freelance conservative writer who blogs at Left Coast Rebel.
It turns out being president is a lot harder than Barack Obama thought it was. After the biggest midterm electoral defeat in eighty years, Obama packed up Air Force One and headed out for a political shellacking abroad. You'd be hard-pressed to locate an accurate picture of world opinion regarding Obama's trip from our adoring media, so here are the highlights as reported by the foreign press.

Nothing is more emblematic of the Obama administration's tactful use of "smart power" than the front page of the Drudge Report the other day after Obama delivered his Jakarta speech. As reported by the Israeli press, Obama's comments gained him some strong return fire from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The fallout is all too familiar, and truth be told, Obama needs to make a serious effort to dip lower in Israel's opinion polls. A poll just last September showed that only 4% of Israeli's believed Obama is pro-Israel. Still, Obama's remarks in Jakarta highlight just what might be needed to target his few remaining fans.

It would have been hard to offend India, given the fact that Obama had announced a desire to push the country into the top tier of the U.N.'s Security Council. There were, of course, some eyebrows raised at Obama's teleprompter addiction. However, Indians quickly learned the appalling nature inherent in Obama's off-prompter, meandering banter. According to the Sri Lankan Press:

This disappointment turned to indignation the next morning when he projected Pakistan in what the Indian public opinion regarded as positive terms while answering a question from a student at a Town Hall meeting in Mumbai, who asked him why the US is not declaring Pakistan a terrorist state. In his reply, Obama described Pakistan as an enormous State with enormous potential and as a State which is strategically important not only for the US, but for the world. He expressed his view that a stable Pakistan would be in the interest of India. Indian public opinion was shocked when he described extremism as not uniquely confined to Pakistan, highlighted the casualties being suffered by Pakistan itself at the hands of extremists and explained the difficulties being faced by Pakistan in dealing with the extremists. His reply created an impression that he did not believe that the Pakistani State had any role in the activities of the terrorists.

You would think that this would be enough rebuke for one trip, but Obama effortlessly managed to push the bar lower. During the G-20 conference, Obama caught an earful from Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble. When Obama proposed an economic scheme aimed at boosting U.S. exports in Germany, Merkel shot back, calling the U.S. the "lowest common denominator." Schauble charged that Obama's economic policy is "clueless."

At least Obama showed unwavering high regard to Indonesia while he spoke to throngs of adoring citizens, right? Think again! The Jakarta Post featured a local international relations expert from the University of Indonesia who claimed Obama's speech showed how little respect he had for the nation Obama once called home:

"Obama seems to still view Indonesia as limited to low politics that tend to be possible for discussion only within a multilateral forum," Andi said.

"However, when it comes to dealing with high politics, or sensitive issues, to the US, Indonesia does not count."

Conventional wisdom would have told Obama to quit while he was behind, but instead, he also walked away from South Korea having botched an easy trade deal. With a preferable trade agreement on U.S. trucks already in hand, Obama and Democrats balked at the opportunity to expand U.S. exports and create jobs, jobs, jobs, because Korea's cars are too green. How does this twisted logic compute for a president obsessed with CAFE standards, Chevy Volts, and carbon credits? Nevertheless, President Dude came away empty-handed.

Even Obama's vaunted Japan trip might have had more to do with smoke and mirrors than tangible success. After Obama met with a number of leaders from nations bordering the Pacific in an effort to push forward with a free trade agreement, the White House blog pronounced success in the form of progress -- that is, if Japanese omission from the agreement can be considered a success. Professor Jane Kelsey of New Zealand, speaking on Australian radio, called the attempt a ploy for American national security and declared the so-called softening of Japan a "remote possibility." 

As disastrous as Obama has proven in Asia, the worst part of his trip is yet to come. With no failure left unexplored on the world scene, Obama heads back to the same country so happy to see him leave that his approval rating flipped to positive on the day he left. Perhaps it's a coincidence?  

Sam Foster is a freelance conservative writer who blogs at Left Coast Rebel.

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