World Agenda: Nicolas Sarkozy puts Barack Obama in the doghouse.
FROM: THE LONDON TIMES ON LINE
French President Sarkozy is pouring cold water on President Obama’s efforts to recast American leadership on the world stage, depicting them as unoriginal, unsubstantial and overrated. Behind leaks and briefings from the Elysée Palace lies Mr Sarkozy’s irritation at the rock-star welcome that Europe gave Mr Obama on his Europan tour earlier this month.
The American President’s call “to free the world of the menace of a nuclear nightmare” was hot air, Mr Sarkozy’s diplomatic staff told him in a report. “It was rhetoric – not a speech on American security policy but an export model aimed at improving the image of the United States,” they said. Most of Mr Obama’s proposals had already been made by the Bush administration and Washington was dragging its feet on disarmament and treaties against nuclear proliferation, the leaked report said.
“The French President is annoyed by what he sees as the naivety and the herd mentality of the media,” said a journalist who is privy to Elysée thinking.
The French president described the NATO meeting this way, “at the Nato summit in Strasbourg, Mr Obama was meekly yielding to Turkey’s refusal to endorse Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the alliance’s new Secretary-General. It took pressure from Mr Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel of Germany to stiffen him up and change his mind.”
Mr Obama’s favour for Ankara has irked but also helped Mr Sarkozy as his Union for a Popular Movement campaigns for European Parliament elections in June. Mr Sarkozy slapped down the US President on French TV after he publicly called for Turkish entry to the European Union.
Mr Sarkozy’s Europe Minister, accused Washington of backing the northern and eastern EU members by wanting to turn the union into a mere free-trade zone. France and Germany are sticking to their vision of the “political” Europe.
Leave Turkey’s bid to join EU to us, Nicolas Sarkozy warns Barack Obama
The love-in between Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama proved short-lived after the French President warned his US counterpart yesterday to keep his nose out of the issue of Turkey’s membership of the European Union.
President Obama used his first EU-US summit, on the eve of his visit to Turkey, to encourage European leaders to embrace the Muslim country and “anchor it in Europe”. However, Mr Sarkozy, a long-standing opponent of full membership for Turkey, rebuffed the US leader in language that seemed to sour the revival of Franco-US relations.
Barack Obama fails to win Nato troops he wants for Afghanistan
Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to America’s allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, warning that failure to do so would leave Europe vulnerable to more terrorist atrocities.
The Continent’s leaders turned their backs on the US President.
Britian’s Gordon Brown was the only one to offer help. He offered to send several hundred extra British soldiers to provide security during the August election, but even that fell short of the thousands of combat troops that the US was hoping to prise from the Prime Minister. The British move is a temporary one, intended to allow Obama to “save face” and limit his embarassment over being rebuffed. “The plan is to withdraw them once the election is over.” Mr Brown said. “That the extra troops were only supposed to provide a temporary uplift.”
The derisory response threatened to tarnish Mr Obama’s European tour.
Obama’s presidential charm offensive failed to move fellow Nato countries.
Obama’s G20 dream fades amid European hostility
Hopes of leading the world out of recession at next month’s pivotal summit in London were undermined yesterday when European leaders flatly rejected calls for a further massive stimulus package.
The London meeting risks being overshadowed by a dispute between Europe and the US over public spending. A series of leaders at an EU summit led by Angela Merkel, the Germany Chancellor, refused yesterday to go along with American calls for greater borrowing and spending by Europe.
“We are doing enough,” said Mirek Topolanek, the Czech Prime Minister, whose country holds the EU presidency.
Merkel, the Germany Chancellor stated, ““It is not time to look at more growth measures. I disagree with this idea completely. The existing measures must work. They must be allowed to develop,” she said.
The Obama Administration was further embarassed by the timing of the North Korean Missle Launch, while the President was in Prague to meet with NATO leaders.
As the Chicago Tribune reported: PRAGUE — President Barack Obama, condemning North Korea’s missile launch, today called for a strong international response to deter future advancement of its nuclear program.
“They, I think, have taken a provocative action,” Obama said before heading into a scheduled meeting with the president of the European Union in Prague. “It creates instability in their region, around the world.” “North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long range missiles,” Obama said in his speech. “”Words must mean something . . . The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons.”
He didn’t really say, “Words must mean something”, did he. The Obama Administration was proven impotent in this regard. Despite the “huffing and puffing” the Obama Administration could not even get the United Nations to convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council to “reprimand” North Korea for its actions.
“The United Nations Security Council met in a hastily called session to consider official condemnation of the launch, but ended the meeting with no immediate action”. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-north-korea-main6-2009apr06,0,6990607.story
After three hours of talks Sunday afternoon, the Security Council issued a brief statement saying members would spend the next couple of days discussing how to respond to the North Korean launch. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-north-korea-main6-2009apr06,0,6990607.story
An additional “face saving device” for Obama was attempted. “The United States reportedly has floated the idea of a new resolution that would toughen the travel ban and asset freezes on officials involved in the North Korean missile program. But no draft resolutions were being circulated.” The Chinese and Russian envoys are said to have resisted, with at least one member balking at a statement that would even express “concern” over the launch, according to a Western diplomat. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-north-korea-main6-2009apr06,0,6990607.story
In a last attempt at “face saving” the Obama Administration stated that they would rely on future “6 party talks”. “The administration wants to continue the six-party talks and, “through the process, have them [North Korea] come to understand it’s in their interest” to follow the rules, said the official, who requested anonymity.” http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-north-korea-main6-2009apr06,0,6990607.story
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program. There has been a series of meetings with six participating states: the People’s Republic of China; the Republic of Korea (South Korea); the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea); the United States of America; the Russian Federation; and Japan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-party_talks
Eight days later, long after the NATO meeting had ended, the Security Council met. The statement that was issued was “The statement was a weaker response than a U.N. resolution, which was sought by and the United States but was opposed by China and Russia.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-un-un-nkorea-missile,0,2139015.story
North Korea’s response?
North Korea says it will boycott 6-party talks, restore nuclear facilities
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea vowed Tuesday to restore its nuclear facilities and boycott international talks on its atomic weapons program to protest the U.N. Security Council’s condemnation of the country’s rocket launch.
Obama’s european tour? All show, no substance.
Reminds me of a friend’s recent outing to hear an internationally famous Band. The friend shelled out over a $2,000 for two primo seats. The following Monday I asked him over coffee, “so how was the sound system at the concert?”. His love of the band is based on the bands music, specifically the lyrics. In his younger years, my friend dabbled as a lead singer in a band with some regional success. My friend’s response, “the pyrotechnics were unbelievable”. I asked again, “and how was the sound system”. His response, “it really sucked”. Now, my friend knew the venue had bad acoustics to begin with, still his response was, “it sucked”.
All show, no substance.
Obama knew his “venue” in europe, his visit was all show. America needs substance.