Monday, December 21, 2009

The song remains the same 

During the 2008 campaign, one of the more nonsensical ideas that was floated was the concept that if only we could put an African-American face on international relations, everybody would love us again, especially developing countries. Democratic 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry said as much:

I don't recall the candidate Barack Obama saying anything similar, nor do I recall his campaign doing anything to discourage this theme. As a factual matter, the theme ignored or minimized the profiles of the Secretaries of State under President Bush.

Now that we're nearly a year into the Obama presidency, it is clear that the song remains the same (with apologies to Led Zeppelin). Countries that didn't like the U.S. under the Bush administration still don't like the U.S. and its leadership. This has less to do with President Obama and more to do with the political interests of foreign leaders.

AP reports today on the comments of Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba's foreign minister, as well as earlier comments by the Castro brothers:

Cuba's foreign minister called President Barack Obama an "imperial and arrogant" liar Monday for his conduct at the U.N. climate conference, a reflection of the communist island's increasingly fiery verbal attacks on the U.S. government.

Bruno Rodriguez spent an hour and a half lambasting Obama's behavior in Copenhagen, telling a news conference, "at this summit, there was only imperial, arrogant Obama, who does not listen, who imposes his positions and even threatens developing countries."

He called the summit "a fallacy, a farce" and said Washington used back-room deals and strong-arm tactics to foist on the world a deal that he labeled "undemocratic" and "suicidal" because it urges — but does not require — major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts...

"The United States won't quit trying to destroy the revolution," Castro said, referring to the armed rebellion that brought his brother Fidel to power on New Year's Day 1959...

Rodriguez's comments Monday echoed remarks by former President Fidel Castro, who in a weekend opinion column called Obama's speech in Copenhagen "deceitful, demagogic and full of ambiguities."

Last week, the elder Castro, who stepped down as head of state in February 2008, wrote that Washington is looking to solidify its control over Latin America and that Obama's "friendly smile and African-American face" hide his government's sinister true intentions for the region.
If you haven't yet seen Fausta's translation of Hugo Chavez speaking in Copenhagen last week, it's worth taking a look, and "smelling the sulfur," using the same olfactory implication that targeted Bush.
…That’s why we thank the president for giving President Morales and me a chance to speak.

It would have been regrettable if they had attempted to veto us in this meeting. I don’t even want to think about it, no, nor suspect it.

As Lula already said, the Kyoto Protocol can not be declared dead or extinguished, which is what the US pretends to do.

Which is why Evo tells a great truth: If Obama, Nobel War Prize, said here, by the way, it smells of sulfur here.

It smells of sulfur. It keeps smelling of sulfur in this world.

The Nobel War Prize has just said here that he came to act. Well, then show it, sir, don’t leave by the back door, eh?

Do everything you need to do for the US to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, and let’s respect Kyoto, and empower Kyoto, and respond to the world in a transparent fashion.
(Full disclosure: my favorite comment under the related video at the link is "FYI to Chavez. He who smelt it, dealt it." Heh.)

Kudos to Fausta for having the translation picked up by ABC's Jake Tapper.

There are other examples outside of the Western Hemisphere, but dictatorial regimes and their leaders are no more positively predisposed to the United States than was the case a year or two ago. In this area, President Obama makes little difference, and it was silly during 2008 to think that it would matter one whit.


By Blogger JPMcT, at Mon Dec 21, 06:54:00 PM:

Mr. Obama has yet to convince me that he is a patriot (at least for the US). He seems to share in the disenchantment with US history and recent US geopolitics.

I suspect he hoped to forge new alliences in this common ground that he shares with many around the world.

Sadly for Obama...those who hate the US and what it stands for continue to hate us more than they like Obama.

He is tolerated only because his weakness is an opportunity.

A useful idiot, from their perspective.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Mon Dec 21, 07:21:00 PM:

Relations with Britain, Honduras, Israel, Afghanistan, and France have fallen.

Relations with Germany, India, and China have merely stagnated.

I'm sure they think they've patched things up with the Russians, simply because they're too inexperienced and infatuated with their own genius to understand that Medvedev and Putins' smiles are because they've paid so much for the rope with which to hang themselves.

I'm unsure what to think about Iraq and Pakistan.

"He is tolerated only because his weakness is an opportunity."

Can you imagine the Iranians daring to seize an Iraqi oil well when President Bush was in office?  

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