In a series of interviews with The Atlantic magazine published Thursday, Mr. Obama said a number of American allies in the Persian Gulf — as well as in Europe — were “free riders,” eager to drag the United States into grinding sectarian conflicts that sometimes had little to do with American interests. He showed little sympathy for the Saudis, who have been threatened by the nuclear deal Mr. Obama reached with Iran.
He also said the 2011 Libya War was a mistake because the Europeans didn't do as much as the president thought they'd do.
[As an aside, I was not in favor of going to war in Libya, arguing that the Europeans who opted out of Iraq and Afghanistan while we fought could handle Libya if it was such a problem for them. Once we went to war, I wanted to win, of course.]
Our allies don't do what we want and do what we don't want?
I'm so old that I remember when our Left said that Bush destroyed our relations with the world and that's why we couldn't get cooperation from them.
Oh, and the world cheered wildly and threw their panties on the stage in total joy at the dawning of a new age of nuanced American leadership. Yet still they don't cooperate enough.
You see, the problem is that our allies just don't live up to the standards of President Obama:
As the coasting President looks back, he finds something wrong with all of America’s friends. Mr Cameron gets off relatively lightly (though he is also criticised for speaking out against “radical Islam”). The then President Sarkozy of France is attacked for enjoying photo-opportunities, Israel for intransigence, Saudi Arabia for repression, Turkey for not being his designated bridge between East and West. Poor, loyal King Abdullah of Jordan complains: “I think I believe in American power more than Obama does”. It is not the Blessed Barack who has failed, but everyone else who has disappointed his high ideals.
Unless you think it is all trash-talking of foreigners, take heart. Our president does see some hopeful actors out there:
America’s enemies, by contrast, enjoy the presidential blessing (without offering him any gratitude in return). This is a good time to be a Cuban Communist, and the best moment since 1979 to be an Iranian ayatollah.
Well, perhaps the president's problem with the Europeans is similar to his problems with Americans--the president is just failing to adequately explain his brilliance to us (back to the interviews article):
“Every president has his strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “And there is no doubt that there are times where I have not been attentive enough to feelings and emotions and politics in communicating what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”
Yeah, the communicating is the problem. Time for outreach speeches all around!
Max Boot has thoughts on this interview, too (in a pre-publication addition.)
Whatever the president has to do to sleep at night, I guess. Dreams of unicorns are pleasant.