Smart Power or Disrespect.
September 7, 2016 2 Comments
When I first read about the arrival of Barack Obama at Beijing, sadly I chuckled, because it felt like something so many of us would like to do. Then I remembered when the President is piped on board a navy ship, he is announced as “The United States, arriving”. That is ceremonially, and in large part effectively, he is the United States, and when he is disrespected, so is the country. And so my chuckle was short lived.
Paul Mirengoff wrote on this the other day
It was, as the New York Times acknowledged, “bruising even by Chinese standards.”
It was also unsurprising, Susan Rice’s statement that “they did things that weren’t anticipated” notwithstanding. Obama has earned China’s contempt.
The administration’s “pivot to Asia” was not, objectively, terribly meaningful. But to the extent it had meaning, the Chinese reasonably perceived it as an attempt to counteract China’s large and growing influence in the region. Subjectively, the pivot was full of meaning for China.
Obama hoped through his “pivot” to forge stronger alliances with our traditional friends in the region and make new allies out of nations like Vietnam and Burma that feel threatened by China. However, as William Wan of the Washington Post observes, “the very Asian allies the pivot was meant to reassure had their doubts” about Obama’s seriousness. “Many wondered how much of the pivot was empty rhetoric and how much it would be backed by economic and military substance.”
As a result, the “pivot” was counterproductive. China became more belligerent while the nations that were supposed to help us curb Chinese belligerence wanted little part of it.
And it’s certainly not just the Chinese, John Hinderaker adds this
In contrast, Obama had to cancel his scheduled meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Détente after that leader blasted Obama for criticizing his government’s war against Philippine drug dealers.
President Obama canceled a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Monday, after the Filipino leader publicly swore while warning him not to raise questions about alleged death squad operations in his country against suspected drug dealers.
Earlier in the day, during a news conference before leaving the Philippines for Laos, where both men are to attend a summit of Southeast Asian leaders, Duterte had said that if Obama were to raise the issue during their scheduled meeting, “son of a bitch, I will swear at you.”
I haven’t heard the original Spanish, but other news sources say that Duterte said “son of a whore.”
He is a leader of a sovereign country and is answerable only to the Filipino people, Duterte said, and Obama must be respectful.
At the G20, Obama seemed determined to offend everyone, including his least favorite nation, Great Britain. He repeated his threat that Britain, having voted to leave the EU, would go to the back of the line when it comes to trade agreements with the U.S. But Brexit leaders weren’t buying it.
[A]t the G20 conference in China [Obama] appeared with the new Prime Minister Theresa May, and openly said that the 17 million who backed Brexit were wrong.
But Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said of Mr Obama’s comments: “Who cares what he says? He’s going. Bye bye.”
He told The Sun: “All the congressmen and senators I’ve spoken to have all said ‘When you’re ready to do a trade deal, we’ll step up to the plate’. We’re both free traders, it will take one or two years.
“The only trade deal the US has in train at the moment is TTIP, and everyone is saying that is dead. Congress won’t ratify it as they would have to make too many compromises to please the EU.
“It’s [Obama’s] vanity project. The truth is, no one really cares what he says.”
And Jacob Rees-Mogg, another Eurosceptic Tory MP, added: “Fortunately, he is yesterday’s man and will no longer be President early next year.
“The US is the UK’s single most important partner, and as far as I can see the EU-US trade deal is dead in the water.
“He’s putting a corpse ahead of the United States’ most loyal ally.
“These comments tell us all we need to know about how President Obama has never been a friend of ours.”
The “corpse” would be the EU.
As Streiff said on RedState,
He [Obama] was wrong then, he’s wrong now. He is confusing people being unafraid of us with people liking and respecting us. They don’t. They’ve witnessed the slow motion freight train wreck that has been America’s foreign policy under the morons Obama has appointed and hired. China should be thanked for showing the next president the low esteem in which China holds the United States.
Whoever the next president is, they’ve got a hell of a lot of rebuilding to do. Or we may as well go gentle into the night, for dark, it will certainly be.