Renewing Alliances with the Wrong Leaders

by Sal on March 23, 2009

in Europe,International Relations,Politics

Part of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda is to supposedly “renew alliances” and “strengthen old partnerships.”  Over the weekend, it came to light that by “old” partnerships, Obama apparently meant with former leaders of our allies rather than current leaders. In a diplomatic letter sent to France, Obama said:

I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.

Unfortunately, Obama sent this letter to the former President of France, Jacques Chirac, rather than its current President, Nicolas Sarkozy.  At the same time, the Obama administration has been ignoring requests from President Sarkozy for a sit-down meeting since election day.  This letter to Chirac coupled with the lack of outreach to Sarkozy could mean one of two things:

  1. Obama is a complete dolt, and is so incompetent that he mistakenly still believes that Jacques Chirac is still the President of France.
  2. Obama intended to snub Sarkozy and prop up Chirac, as Obama and Chirac are on a similar ideological wavelength regarding foreign policy matters, and Sarkozy is a fierce supporter of the mission in Iraq and the War on Terror.

Either way, it is yet another in a long list of diplomatic blunders made by an administration that had pledged to restore our reputation in the world.  Ace has compiled a list of those blunders (keep in mind, we are only 60 days into the Obama administration). Obama has already racked up more foreign policy mistakes in 60 days than Bush did in 8 years.  If by restoring our image, he means making the U.S. administration a laughing-stock on the world stage, he is experiencing profound success.  What troubles me, however, is that at some point, Obama’s missteps on the world stage are going to have very real consequences which will make the vast majority of Americans wish that Geroge W. Bush were still President.

Update: To add to the debate, the Christian Science Monitor has published an explanation highlighting the fact that Obama was responding to a letter written to him by Chirac on behalf of his foundation, the Jacques Chirac Foundation.  Another blogger, Fausta, has written a response to the Christian Science Monitor piece, outlining why the letter, regardless of the circumstances, was still a diplomatic faux pas.  I’m not so sure, but the CS Monitor is not a news source that I would necessarily take at face value, although the fact that the sourcing on this is thin and the details sketchy lead me to reserve judgement.  That’s one questionable foreign policy faux pas.  That still leaves the eight other foreign policy faux pas of this administration listed by Ace in the link above.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Russell March 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Obama is driven by idealogy and not by practicality. But more important, he is an absolute fool, a complete idiot. I use to think he was a great snake-oil salesman who had fooled the masses with his great speeches and oratory. But I have finally seen the other side of this “great leader”. Without his trusty “totus” his “TeleprOmpTer of the U S” the man is nothing. Each time he steps from behind his friend, totus, he becomes a babbling idiot. Bush was not a great speaker, however he could speak off the cuff, this fool puts his foot in his mouth each time he tries to speak without “totus”. I’m not trying to promote my blog here, but simply stating what I failed to see before. His handlers are running the show and pulling the strings on this puppet.


Moogie P March 23, 2009 at 1:48 pm

It’s very simple. Foreign policy has nothing to do with education, healthcare reform, or energy reform. Repeat after me: education, healthcare reform, energy reform; education, healthcare reform, energy reform. First things first, (second and third).

Foreign policy is for Arab nations, not the French (nor, apparently, the Brits).


MAS1916 March 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

White House staff is developing a portable teleprompter that the Chosen One is to wear around his neck.

Unfortunately, this is the same staff that came up with the idea of giving Gordon Brown 20 year old ABBA CDs (that wouldn’t even play in the UK) as a gift when the British PM gave him piece of history carved from the wood of a British warship.

Obama is indeed a complete dolt. That is why Sarkozy is expanding the French roles and duties in NATO. There has to be some voice of reason in NATO for the next three years. Sarkozy doesn’t really care about Obama, but he understands that for western civilization to survive, there can’t be an idiot leading it.


Sal March 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Bush made the gaffe here and there, but he was never as bad as Obama is. His 60 minutes interview last night was downright embarrassing. If it weren’t for the fact that no one watches SeeBS, Obama would be dropping to the low-to-mid 40s in the polls.

I am leaning towards the fact that it was a calculated snub of Sarkozy. Obama has shown that he has no class, as evinced by the Brown DVDs, the Russian “reset” button, and now the diss of Sarkozy.

Again, it has only been 60 days. It’s going to be a long 4 years.


Mike March 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm


Are you saying that Obama’s response to a letter from Chirac should have been sent to Sarkozy? Or are you saying that fake but accurate is now an acceptable explanation?



Sal March 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

I think I didn’t make myself sufficiently clear in the update. I am saying specifically that the CSM piece cast doubt on the story, but the CSM is also a news source that I do not completely trust. Since we are dealing with French publications and there is very little sourcing on the story to begin with, I was reserving judgment on the story until I learned more (i.e. I became skeptical of both sides).

It seems that there were conflicting reports on the matter from the French publications that are now resolved. I never suggested that Obama should have sent a response to Chirac to Sarkozy, nor did I imply that fake but accurate is an acceptable explanation. What I said (rather inarticulately in retrospect) was that with this foreign policy gaffe now somewhat questionable in it’s sourcing (and now sufficiently debunked), there are still many other gaffes that prove the point of Obama’s foreign policy problems, and this one inaccurate story does not change that fact. It is interesting to note, though, how believable the story was in the wake of the British DVD episode and the Russian “reset” button. Just so there is no ambiguity, however, let me be clear: the story about Obama snubbing Sarkozy with this letter has been debunked.


Mike March 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Thank God. I was afraid you were turning into a conservative version of how liberals were under Bush. Thank you for clarifying that.

And yes, Obama is clearly a gaffe machine.


MB March 24, 2009 at 10:41 am

Why can’t people just admit that they read a story that was FALSE, but very negative toward Obama and they ran with it? This story has been debunked. End of story.

And what’s with this whole “teleprompter” outrage? You all are aware that EVERY president who gives any sort of major speech uses one, right? Many also use notecards too, right? The man has given PLENTY of interviews and town halls where there are no teleprompters and he’s able to form complete sentences (yes, I notice the “umms” and “ahhs”, but I fail to see how that’s worse than “is our children learning?”, or “strategery”, or “misunderestimated”). Be happy our current president isn’t slaughtering the english language unlike our last one.


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