Streetwise Professor

November 23, 2014

Obama’s FOF Foreign Policy

Filed under: Energy,Military,Politics — The Professor @ 12:36 pm

The Marines have a saying: “No better friend. No worse enemy.” Obama is hell-bent on reversing that formulation.

One leg of his foreign policy could be dubbed FOF: F’ Our Friends. I’ve discussed one example of that recently: Obama’s inveterate opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, and his fact free defense of his indefensible position. In adhering to this position, Obama is giving Canada the back of his hand.

The Australian reports of another example. Obama spurned the advice of the US ambassador to Australia, and delivered a truculent speech that directly attacked the Australian government’s climate change policies:

The US embassy, under the leadership of ambassador John Berry, advised the President, through his senior staff, not to couch his climate change comments in a way that would be seen as disobliging to the Abbott government, sources have revealed.

When The Weekend Australian put this information to the US embassy, a spokesman said: “As is the case with all presidential speeches, President Obama’s remarks at the University of Queensland in Brisbane were prepared by the White House.”

It is normal practice when the US President makes an overseas visit that the ambassador in the country he is visiting is consulted about the contents of major speeches. It is unusual, though not unprecedented, for an embassy’s advice to be ignored.

The Obama speech in Brisbane was added to the President’s program at the last minute. During his extensive talks with Tony Abbott in Beijing at APEC, Mr Obama did not make any mention of a desire to make a speech, or of any of the contentious climate change content of the speech.

Only in Naypyidaw, in Myanmar, immediately prior to the leaders travelling to Brisbane for the G20 summit, did the US party demand that the President make a speech and that it be to an audience of young people. At the speech, the President did not ­acknowledge the presence of Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.

Despite repeated Australian requests, White House officials refused to provide a text of the speech to their Australian hosts in advance, and did not provide a summary of what would be contained in the speech.

Mr Obama’s repeated references to the climate change debate in Australia, his accusation that Australia was an inefficient user of energy and his repeated references to the Great Barrier Reef, which has figured heavily in the climate change debate, have led observers to conclude that the speech was a deliberate swipe at the Abbott government.

Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech for the host government.

That’s our Barry. Always the gracious guest, always making history.  (If you can’t access the article through the previous link, you should be able to get there from here.)

Canada and Australia have been stalwart allies for years. Both are fighting beside the US against ISIS and Afghanistan. The Australians fought with us in Viet Nam. Of course both made huge contributions in WWII, especially once their sizes are considered. Both are highly responsible and constructive nations. To a considerable degree, they share a common heritage with us, and a common belief in liberty and representative government.

Maybe it’s something about the Anglosphere. Obama’s animus against the UK (which has also fought shoulder-to-shoulder with America in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and now against ISIS) is well-known.

And for what is Obama slagging our allies? A farcical war on CO2.

While the FOF campaign is in full swing, Obama continues his Ahab-like pursuit of a deal with a nation that has been assiduously killing Americans for 25 years.

That’s Obama’s America. No worse friend. No better enemy. Two years cannot pass quickly enough.

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  1. Oh, I shouldn’t worry: politics in Australia is so poisonous that a good chunk of the country is positively elated that Obama snubbed Abbot. They think it’s awesome.

    Comment by Tim Newman — November 23, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

  2. I realize your increasingly high voltage bitterness over Obama overflows so probably reading the subsequent message will be possibly physically impossible: but you do realize that “Australia” or “Canada” or “UK” are not uniform blobs, and that those people who vote for left-of-center parties in those countries subscribe to the views that Obama expressed in regards to their right of center governments? Just as the Australian, a Fox media entity, might not accurately reflect the views of “Historians of the US-Australia relationship” whether this was indeed ” a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech for the host government.”

    Comment by d — November 23, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

  3. @d-I understand perfectly well that Canada, Australia, and the UK are not political monoliths. But that point cuts exactly the other way. Exactly. It is utterly inappropriate for a foreign official to inject himself in a contentious political issue in a foreign country, and to make a partisan speech to a foreign audience. Especially (apropos Tim’s point) when that country is divided and its political atmosphere is poisonous. A US president can only make that atmosphere more poisonous by injecting himself in such a partisan fashion into another country’s politics. Especially in remarks delivered before a handpicked audience while a guest on an official diplomatic mission. That is an egregious breach of political and diplomatic norms. And those norms exist for a reason.

    But it is par for the course for Obama. He does the exact same thing in the US. He is doing it now with immigration, and climate, and other matters.

    He plays the community organizer/agitator, employing Alinsky tactics at every turn. His visit to Australia was neither the time nor the place for him to agitate on this issue, and particularly not in the deliberately provocative and partisan way that he did.

    It is also beyond ironic for a leftist president who has criticized the US for being arrogant and dismissive in its dealing with foreign governments.

    But we know that Obama’s critiques of his predecessors are not meant to apply to him.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — November 23, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

  4. “At the speech, the President did not ­acknowledge the presence of Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.”

    That’s stunning. When the Queen is not in Australia, the Governor-General is the Head of State. That’s a direct insult to all Australians.

    Comment by jon livesey — November 23, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

  5. @jon-Protocol is for lesser beings.

    It could have been worse. He could have given the Governor-General an iPod with recordings of all his speeches.

    Here’s a collection of his disses to the British.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — November 23, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

  6. Thank you, Professor.

    Some context re ‘no better friend’, from one ally to another:

    Earlier this year, our PM, Abbott, flew to Washington to meet Obama and his team. The essence of the conversation was – ‘We know that our two governments won’t see eye-to-eye on many things, but we understand the burdens which the US bears and we want to help you in your mission’. Soon after, in accordance with this expression of goodwill and solidarity, our PM sent some of our fighters to fly alongside US fighters in the skies above the Caliphate, helping to send enthusiastic members of Allah’s Own Desert Brigade on an express flight to their 72 virgins.

    Yes, Abbott said this to Obama. Yes, Abbott deployed these planes for Obama.

    And, yes, this is Obama’s response.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head (again), Prof.

    I don’t know if you Americans are familiar with the word ‘wanker’. It is a dyslogistic term used commonly here to express contempt for someone who makes an ass of themselves. There is actually no term more guaranteed to deflate rapidly and completely the oversized ego of a nitwit. Maybe we can start calling this fellow Barry W. Obama – with the capitalisation nicely emphasising the degree to which the epithet fits him.

    I suspect our Governor-General, General Sir Peter Cosgrove, a very ‘big’ man, didn’t even notice the intentional slight, which was delivered by a very small man.

    Our planes will still be flying proudly beside yours in Iraq tomorrow.

    Comment by Ex-regulator on lunch break — November 24, 2014 @ 7:46 am

  7. Down goes Hagel.

    Comment by Blackshoe — November 24, 2014 @ 11:36 am

  8. @Blackshoe. It truly staggers the mind that Hagel got it in the neck because he called bullshit on Obama’s Syria strategy, the threat posed by ISIS, and probably Ebola too. If Chuck Hagel is too supportive of a more aggressive use of force for Obama’s taste, that tells you a lot.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — November 24, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

  9. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.If Obummer and the Rabid Rabbott et al want to scrap then I’ll be cheering them on and hoping they both lose.

    2016 is when both of these vermin will be departing the scene failing some black swan event sooner.

    Comment by Podargus — November 24, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

  10. I feel for all the countless US partners that had been betrayed by Obama and his administration incl. but not limited to Israel, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, Canada, Australia. I hope that all this pain end soon by the disengaged president being impeached.

    Comment by Europeo — November 24, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

  11. SWP:

    Please, after the ‘next election…’ he’ll have more ‘… flexibility.’

    Fred on Everything has a parody article on the 2nd American Revolution of 2019. Has a clever nickname for Hillary which Vlad will not repeat here. It is clever & pretty funny, until you realize it already happened, … except for the Revolution part.

    VP VP

    Comment by Vlad — November 24, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

  12. SWP…apropos only of our predicament in the WH, there are more despicable actions that I fear for in our future.
    I am not a gold bug, nor do I have guns and dried food stored in an underground bunker. But there are some bad things I fear could happen.
    So tell me, categorically, that they won’t happen.
    I think he might: confiscate gold, confiscate retirement accounts (neither confiscation an outright theft, but a grab based on some mendacious claim), pardon the Blind Sheik, provoke some disturbance in order to postpone elections, agree to a deal with the Iranians which has Israel’s death certificate attached, ditto for a deal with Hamas, and he might enact more and crippling Pentagon purging. Readers here might have congruent fears.
    A hyper-narcissist doesn’t deal with rejection very well. He prefers to demonize anything American, native or allied, and as he gets more radical he will get more rejection, folks ignoring him, which triggers more retaliation. I don’t think this will resolve itself the way that Clinton resolved himself to reality.
    Tell me that none of those things will happen.

    Comment by Richard Whitney — November 24, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

  13. The irony is that if putin bombs America that last place he would bomb would be the White House since Nerola and putin have the same goals for America.

    Comment by traveler — November 24, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

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