Monday, March 16, 2009

Special U.S.-British relationship in jeopardy

Obama the candidate promised to restore American diplomacy and our international standing around the world, yet in his first few months in office, his administration managed to singlehandedly botch the century-intact Anglo-American relationship with our staunch ally, Great Britain. The first blow: Obama announced in January he was returning the bust of Winston Churchill back to the British, a gift and sign of solidarity from our ally acrross the pond that has remained in the Oval Office since 9/11. British diplomats were bewildered by this and reiterated that the gift belonged to the American people, but Obama insisted on rejecting it, while providing no explanation.

Blow #2: As he arrives in the U.S. for his first official state visit with Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is told Obama will not be attending the joint press conference that is planned, leaving the British scrambling to arrange a solo act for PM Brown.

Blow #3: The leaders exchange gifts--a customary tradition that should include thought and consideration as to the relationship between the two nations. Gordon Brown gives Obama a pen holder carved from the H.M.S. Resolute, a British naval ship commissioned in 1880 that carries great significance and sympolism for the presidency, as the famed "Resolute Desk" in the Oval Office was carved of the same wood and given to President Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880. Brown also gave Obama the framed certificate for the ship and a seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill.

Obama's sole gift to Brown? A DVD box set of some American movies, a set sold in big-box retailers, chain stores, and even gas stations across America. Even more embarassing, Obama does not seem to realize that Brown cannot watch the films in the UK, as U.S. DVDs are formatted for "Region One" format and will not play on UK DVD players, which are formatted for "Region 2."

The embarrassing faux paus extended to the exchange of gifts for the children between the leaders' wives. Brown's wife bought the Obama girls outfits from one of Britain's most trendy and upsale clothing retailers. In return, Michelle Obama had a staffer run down to the White House gift shop to buy a few toy helicopters for the prime minister's sons.

Adding insult to injury, when an Obama administration official was asked by a British reporter about this series of slights towards our most reliable democratic ally, the official responded:
There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment."

This astounding and outrageous response, while verifying typical liberal disdain for western democracies and the moral relativist view that Britain is equal to Iran morally, should have been the topic of discussion by political pundits on cable news and should have even made local newscasts for the stir it caused across the Atlantic. But alas, you can hear crickets chirping--no coverage on this side of the pond.

Naturally, the British are miffed and the British press has reported thoroughly on this, while the U.S. press has conveniently ignored the story.

And just this week, unnamed British officials say the PM's office cannot get through to the White House in their attempts to coordinate the upcoming G8 summit. Their calls are unreturned and unanswered.

Don't believe me? You can read about it here and across the pond in these publications: here and here.

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