Obama's troubled personal relations with foreign leaders
Carrie Budoff Brown writes in Politico that President Obama has very poor personal relations with most world leaders. Even worse, the one leader whom he "respect[s] and admire[s] is anti-American and anti-Semitic:
Obama's demeanor on the international stage may be more appealing to Europeans and others irritated by Bush's cowboy persona, but in terms of the one-on-one relationship building that can be a potent diplomatic lever for any president, the Democrat is practically an introvert compared with his world-class schmoozing predecessor....
More than two years into his term, Obama cuts the image of an all-business envoy, seldom going outside normal business hours to turn on the charm with other heads of state. He appears to have built few deep personal bonds with foreign leaders, and his forays into public diplomacy -- a burger run last year with Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and a game of Ping-Pong last month with Britain's David Cameron -- are notable for their rarity....
Obama rarely takes his meetings with members of the world leaders club into the casual settings favored by so many of his predecessors.
George H.W. Bush strolled the beaches of Kennebunkport with heads of state. Bill Clinton made a habit of escaping the White House bubble with foreign leaders, playing saxophone in Prague, Czech Republic, dining on filet mignon in Pittsburgh and gorging on pasta in Georgetown.
Obama has yet to invite any foreign leaders -- or domestic, for that matter -- to Camp David.
The column points out that the president is hard-pressed to develop alliances and close personal ties with world leaders. He and the First Lady rarely do "double dates" with other world leaders and their spouses, for example, as have other Presidents. These personal relationships can help bring about international cooperation and help promote American interests.
Americans should not be too surprised. After all, he has treated the leaders of several of our closest allies with disdain -- including the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and, of course, Israeli's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- having him enter the White House through an obscure doorway and later rudely walking out of a meeting with him so he could have dinner with the First Lady. The Dalai Lama was also all but ignored during a visit to the White House.
Whom does Barack Obama favor of all the world's leaders?
There's Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- an unlikely ally whom the administration highlighted, saying they "seem to respect and admire one another."
Obama has spoken or met with Erdogan about 15 times, more often than with Sarkozy or Merkel, at least according to official White House releases, which do not cover every contact between the president and foreign leaders. The Turkish and U.S. governments have clashed during the past two years over Israel, Iran and unflattering WikiLeaks cables, but the relationship between Erdogan and Obama has helped them weather those bumps, an administration official said.
Erdogan has been a thorn in the side to America and our ally, Israel, over the last few years. That does not seem to have affected Barack Obama, who the administration itself says respects and admires him. But Erdogan has been much more than a thorn in the side. He is also an anti-Semite who has promoted the anti-Semitism that is sweeping through Turkey-once a stalwart NATO ally and Israel's best friend in the region.
Michael Rubin comments at Commentary Contentions that Erdogan has been blaming the Jews for bad media coverage (stoking the anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews controlling the media):
During Erdoğan's tenure, Mein Kampf again became a best-seller in Turkey, books hit the market promoting wacky conspiracy theories delegitimizing Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, on the grounds that he was a secret Jew, and Erdoğan's own wife endorsed Valley of the Wolves, a crude piece of propaganda suggesting Jews were exploiting the Iraq war to sell the organs of Muslims to Israel. When I was in Turkey this past November, I found copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in every bookstore I visited. Erdoğan's media and education system has inculcated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories into a generation of Turkish school children and civil servants.
This is the one foreign leader that Obama "respect[s] and admire[s]": a promoter of anti-Semitism. Perhaps, Barack Obama is missing being in the pews and listening to his inspiration and mentor, Jeremiah Wright.