September 24, 2009
Obama insults PM Brown again
Relationships between President Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown seem to be on a downward spiral.
Much was written about Obama's behavior towards Brown earlier this year when the Prime Minister visited Washington. There was no joint press conference between the two heads of government, nor was there a state dinner to honor Brown. As is typical, the two leaders exchanged gifts. Brown presented the type of custom made item normally presented at state visits. In a move widely reported in the United Kingdom, Obama gave the nearly blind PM a boxed DVD set that was not only readily available on line but which was in a format that was not compatible with British DVD players.
Once again, Obama has sent the message that he has no time for America's long-standing ally.
British officials made five attempts to secure official talks with the US President and even agreed to a policy change in an attempt to land a joint appearance between the two leaders, said diplomatic sources.But the White House rebuffed the offers and Mr Brown, who had hoped to increase his popularity by appearing on his own with Mr Obama, had to settle instead for a snatched conversation with the President in a New York kitchen
While there are many who think that Brown deserves such treatment for his performance while in office, David Hughes notes that the story of Obama's continuing disrespect towards Brown shared the British headlines with the death of a recipient of the Military Cross for gallantry, killed this week in Afghanistan.
What are we to make of this? This country has proved, through the bravery of men like Acting Sgt Lockett, America's staunchest ally in Afghanistan. In return, the American President treats the British Prime Minister with casual contempt. The President's graceless behaviour is unforgivable. As most members of the Cabinet would confirm, it's not a barrel of laughs having to sit down for a chat with Gordon Brown. But that's not the point. Mr Obama owes this country a great deal for its unflinching commitment to the American-led war in Afghanistan but seems incapable of acknowledging the fact.
Maybe Brown can meet with New York governor David Paterson while he is visiting America. The two men can discuss Obama's penchant for public acts of disrespect towards blind political allies who are behind in the polls.