Friday, March 6. 2009
Posted by Editors in Transatlantic Relations on Friday, March 6. 2009
Iain Martin writes in his blog for the Telegraph (HT: Marie-Claude):
This post has received 453 comments so far. Will President Obama soon be as unpopular as President Bush? Probably not, but he is heading to Clinton's approval ratings, which were not as good during his presidency as they are now in his retirement and philanthropist activities.
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nanne - #1 - 2009-03-06 16:09 -
Maybe Obama needs cultural sensitivity training. First he shows his shoe to the Afghan president, now he's not receiving Brown with the decorum fine British premiers are accustomed to... before you know he'll be treating Sarkozy to California wine. The humanity!
A_guy - #1.1 - 2009-03-11 08:41 -
Pat Patterson - #1.1.1 - 2009-03-11 09:05 -
Arabs from Oman drove out the Portuguese and held Kenya during the 18th and 19th centuries and the British didn't gain control until 1890. It was the Arabs that reintroduced slavery into Kenya after they had expelled the Portuguese who had ended slavery in the early 18th Century. The Germans, who held Kenya for a while and then the British reinstated the outlawing of slavery. As to The Falklands I must applaud the farsightedness of the Crown in seeing that expelling a few French fishermen from the islands was merely the first step in claiming underwater exploration rights to the Antarctic almost 180 years earlier.
Pat Patterson - #188.8.131.52 - 2009-03-11 13:37 -
Can't add very well can you as Britain was in Kenya for only 70 years not hundreds and The Falklands were unpopulated aside from a group of French fisherman when Britain took the islands. Plus the OAS resolution calls merely for the resumption of talks but Argentian then won't schedule the talks unless the Falklanders renounce their sovereignty. And since I'm positive you will either misinterpret or simply ignore any facts I'm done with this issue.
Zyme - #2 - 2009-03-06 16:29 -
:D Here comes the second Bush doing diplomacy. That's why I loved him to win elections. Dropping one brick after another - he surely is a worthy successor ;)
Pat Patterson - #2.1 - 2009-03-06 18:13 -
As much as people in Europe still fear Bush will leap out of the closet with a goblin's mask on when least expected can anyone name an incident, other than massaging Merkel, that showed the former president treating any visiting head of state in a similar fashion. Pres Obama has revealed in one fell swoop that he is capable acting as the representative of the country but simply satisfying a grudge of some events that happened to his father.
Joe Noory - #2.2 - 2009-03-07 02:09 -
Welcome to the 2nd [url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1159841/Banks-150bn-leap-dark-Darling-orders-printing-money-stave-scale-recession.html]Mugabe administration[/url].
Pat Patterson - #2.2.1 - 2009-03-07 02:52 -
Actually that seems a little harsh concerning Robert Mugabe who only became rich after risking his life for a cause. While Obama is becoming rich without any risk to his well-being at all. Except maybe for a sprained ankle playing basketball.
Johannes - #3 - 2009-03-06 17:01 -
Boy Scouts more important than Brown? Brown faces humiliation after Obama 'snub' [url]http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brown-faces-humiliation-after-obama-snub-1636430.html[/url]
Anonymous - #4 - 2009-03-06 17:12 -
Joe Noory - #5 - 2009-03-06 18:51 -
What teh hell do Europeans want when they're getting foaming up like this over and over? Room service? Again one has to ask why it is that public popularity with people who have no genuine stake in the White House should matter to the President should matter. By the way, those of us who make a point of observing anti-Americanism had frequently to hear over and over and over the litany that "Ah! But eet eez only Meester [i]Boosh[/i] that we [i]hatehatehatehate[/i]", something that those of us who are old enough to remember a world before the year 2000 found laughable, and as means of trying to make themselves feel like they actually matter to the larger world, we hear this kind of [i]de rigeur[/i] condescention from many Europeans.
Marie Claude - #5.1 - 2009-03-06 19:56 -
UK is the oxymoron of non european, but America's poodle though Gordon should have acknoledged the actuality, O doesn't like poodle, or may-be he is keeping the sentiment that UK colonised his former patry, that was what Gordon reminded him BTW
Joe Noory - #5.1.1 - 2009-03-06 20:53 -
Gordon Brown tried to ingraciate himself with the new administration by trying to honor an older polititian who is ill. It's salesmanship, not "being a poodle", and I'm not sure it was terribly well thought through. His theory holds that the US will help him "save the world" from economic doom, under his magical former Exchequer powers. That is to say, he wants the US Treasury to fund some kind of UK government recovery package, which would somehow cast him as a hero. It's a long shot for him, and looks as foolish as it sounds. I'm also not sure the British would appreciate that you have classified them, their nation and culture as a whole, as signifying nothing more than "not being European". I don't think that Britons (or anyone else on earth for that matter) wake up in the morning thinking of their identity primarily in terms of who they aren't specific to something you happen to find special yourself because you can associate yourself with it.
Marie Claude - #184.108.40.206 - 2009-03-06 22:30 -
I don't care what a British thinks of a French, it is likely to be "fielly", so I am entitled to say whatever I want myself too :D othewise, I find odd that you didn't understand EU, that the British think they are at their "Convenience" (you gave us some exemples of your subtility before LMAO) Also, I agree, that Gordon was searching some fund ! umm since he realised that EU was going "doomed" too ! But America wants to look after herself first, besides, a money crisis is not the same threat as WWII, and Gordon is definitly not so convinceful as Churchill
Marie Claude - #6 - 2009-03-06 20:00 -
what I wrote about the subject elsewhere seriously, the best analyse is in "the independant" (another article) http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/rupert-cornwell/rupert-cornwell-whats-so-special-about-us-1635890.html what we could deduct : America, you are watching on the pacific side, logic, interests, and, may-be, wars will occur from the west also back to isolationism, thes EU countries that made some fat under your umbrella, are gooing to have pain in the a** soon, Let's see when !!!
Marie Claude - #6.1 - 2009-03-07 09:46 -
and : Well, what I think, Obama as the non expected president of the american super-power, is overplaying the part of his importance, and considers UK as a not more important state than one of the US, so Gordon, not being the king of England too (therefore not anointed, and on the way to be replaced in the next UK elections), doesn't deserve more regards than a valet on the way out. Or just that Obama is stoopidly ignorant, what I though doubt, he's been so far well monitored ! Or he is just one of the youngs that don't care of the protocole , that thinks it's an old fashion thing !
John in Michigan, USA - #6.2 - 2009-03-10 15:57 -
MC, Interesting article by Rupert Cornwell in the Independent. You and Cornwell are correct the "center of the world" may shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the future. But in my opinion that is still some ways in the future. If it were happening now, it seems to me the Chinese would be attempting to cause as much friction in the US-Japan relationship as the Europeans are attempting in the US-UK relationship. Also, the UK-China relationship would be deteriorating. But we are not there (yet). Instead, the Chinese are biding their time, buying US Treasury Bills (T-Bills), dreaming of carrier-based aviation, and not, at the moment, mounting any challenge to the very strong US-Japan or US-UK relationships. It seems China is more worried about N. Korea. The Cornwell article also speculates, "...that Mr. Obama has it in for the British, who detained his Kenyan grandfather during the Mau Mau insurgency." The British actions in Kenya are well documented, as is the fact that the Present's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, worked as a cook for the British. Less well documented is the accusation that Hussein was tortured by the British. In fact, the only source of this allegation that I can find is the President's grandmother, Sarah Onyango. See for example the [url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1091499/Barack-Obamas-grandfather-tortured-British-Kenyas-Mau-Mau-rebellion.html]Daily Mail[/url] or the [url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article5276010.ece]Times[/url]. Here is where it gets especially interesting. Sarah Onyango is one of [url=http://www.obamacrimes.info/justthefacts.html]several people who swear[/url] that President Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya and not in Hawaii. The source, obamacrimes.info, is considered controversial, but they claim to have a recording of Ms. Onyango's testimony and an "Affidavit of Reverend Kweli Shuhubia" (not his real name). So are we to believe Ms. Onyango, or not? For the record, the US Supreme Court has so far declined to hear some of the various lawsuits contesting President Obama's eligibility, and I expect they will decline to hear the remaining lawsuits as well. But it is an interesting question for history, isn't it?
Solipson - #6.2.1 - 2009-03-10 16:58 -
The center of the world shifting westwards? I keep hearing about this for about 25 years now. First it was the Japanese, now it is the Chinese. Who next? The Vietnamese, Mongolese or even the North-Koreans? Somehow it has not happened and I doubt we will see anything like this happening in our lifetime. Dictatorships don't do sustainable economic growth. Never have, never will. The precondition for it would be the lifting of the iron fist and everybody with a glimpse of Chinese history knows what happens once this happens. Taiping anyone? Civil war which cost them 10% of their population, 30 bloody million. And weapons technology has only improved since then. Nope, this is the European century. And I expressedly include the United Kingdom in this.
Pat Patterson - #220.127.116.11 - 2009-03-10 20:17 -
Right about the time the Mitsubishi Group bought Rockefeller Plaza and ended just about the day they had to sell it back to a consortium, including the Rockefellers, for half the initial price. They don't call us Yankees for nothing!
Don S - #18.104.22.168 - 2009-03-10 22:21 -
"Dictatorships don't do sustainable economic growth. Never have, never will." Ummm, well. Actually China is an authoritatian country but not a dicatorship. I trust you are using 'dictatorship' as a proxy for 'non-democratic' forms of government. If that is true, you are clearly wrong - monarchies and authoritarian countries have maintained sustained periods of economic growth. China is the most recent example, but also Germany between 1860 and 1914, Japan from the 1860's until the 20's, and many other examples as well. Britain had sustained economic growth under Charles II and later under the Hanoverian monarchs in a system far more monarchical than the system under Queen Victoria or later. Where we would possibly agree is that I think that authoritarian countries tend not to hold their gains as well as democracies do. They can be less stable than democracies are. But comparing the current chinese government with the late Manchu dynasty is invalid as well. The Emperor who fought the Tai Pings was an enfeebled drug addict - the current government is nothing like him.
Pat Patterson - #22.214.171.124.1 - 2009-03-11 00:17 -
Plus the most obvious recent example would have been the German Reich which dramatically improved the standard of living on the basis of recreating of the War Socialims of the Germans during World War I. Then it was simply a matter of creating a slave state that benefitted the Germans both in captive markets for its goods but an actual revenue stream coming into Berlin. Murderous dictators can often increase the wealth of their country but at the expense of its neighbors.
Solipson - #126.96.36.199.2 - 2009-03-11 11:04 -
Marie Claude - #188.8.131.52.2.1 - 2009-03-11 15:33 -
"Look what happened to Europe. After 2 millenia of constant warring, it only took some 50 years of peace and democracy to make it by far the largest economy in the world." I wouldn't bet for it as definitive, just have a look to the inner quarrels for attention and power. If this financial crisis worsened, it might be followed by the end of the EU too, at least as one Brussels administration
Don S - #6.2.2 - 2009-03-10 20:19 -
John, I presume that the question being raised is whether Obama is eligible to hold the office of the Presidency. I doubt that he was born in Kenya, but even if he was I think the question is a different one: was Obama a "natural born citizen of the US"? Because that is the legal requirement for being President. A US citizen born in France to an American couple living there is clearly eligible to be president. I suspect a child born to an unmarried American mother is also eligible. Mixed marriages slightly more complex as the child may have been registered as a foreign national at some point. But looking at the record I can't doubt that Obama was born in the US as a US citizen, and that was the intent all along of Obama's mother at the very least. He was brought up in the US as a US citizen at the beginning of his life, and that is what counts, to my mind. Everything else is nonsense.
John in Michigan, USA - #184.108.40.206 - 2009-03-11 07:06 -
"Mixed marriages slightly more complex as the child may have been registered as a foreign national at some point." First a clarification for our readers. "Mixed marriages" is a phrase that is often used to describe marriages between people of different races, or different religions. There are absolutely zero restrictions on US citizenship based on race or religion of any person. Nor are there any restrictions based on the race or religion of that person's parents. In this context, I am pretty sure that Don means "mixed" in the sense that one parent was a US citizen, the other was not. Don, correct me if I'm wrong. Second, as to your points about Obama's eligibility, as far as I can tell, when the American parent is as young as Ann Dunham was, the law at that time requires her to have been a US resident for a certain number years, before the date of birth of the child. That requirement is no longer in place. But there's no point re-visiting all that in detail. You and I agree that Obama is the President. Your position is that, based on the facts, plus Obama's own belief that he is an American, he is eligible. My position is that the facts are less clear than they should be (why not just release the goll-darn original birth certificate from the vault in Hawaii?), but nevertheless, [i]I fully accept the judgment of the US Supreme Court on this matter[/i]. The Court has signaled that they will not be granting a hearing to the various cases. As a side note, I wish that more of my left-wing and liberal colleagues would fully accept the Supreme Court decision in [i]Bush v. Gore (2000)[/i] :-P
Marie Claude - #6.2.3 - 2009-03-11 08:28 -
John in Michigan, USA - #220.127.116.11 - 2009-03-11 15:17 -
Interesting. This seems like China trying to enforce an invalid territorial claim that it has tried to enforce for decades or more. It does not seem like a new form of Chinese assertiveness.
jane - #7 - 2009-03-07 06:20 -
The way our president handled the meeting with Brown was not very statesmanlike, and that's putting it nicely. It isn't an isolated occurance however, nor will this be the only time -- at least that's my take on things. The rationalization that this was due to some hard feelings concerning Britain's role in Kenya is, I believe, merely a pretty excuse and a rationalization. Same with any conjecture that this was due to being a green politician on the world stage. This is Chicago style politics at its lowest level, and not very smart Chi politics at that (if it wasn't being gamed so foolishly I could almost excuse it, but it is what it is). Prepare to see more.
Solipson - #8 - 2009-03-07 07:50 -
If I would stare into the abyss, I would not care in the world if the accountant poodle of my regular poodle wishes to pee into my garden. He and his ancestors might have helped me in the past, especially his bulldog grandfather, in dealing with the German shepherd dog with the rabies. The bulldog is a poodle now and the shepherd dog is cured. A bit shy, but still a shepherd dog. My I should really call him next time :-)
Marie Claude - #8.1 - 2009-03-07 09:48 -
incredible :lol: do you care for a french bulldog ?
John in Michigan, USA - #8.2 - 2009-03-08 05:23 -
Funny you should mention the bulldog grandfather. One of the major points of offense was that Obama returned a bust of Churchill that had rested in the White House (the Oval Office no less) for years. OK if Obama wants to redecorate (he put a bust of Abraham Lincoln in its place) but returning a gift to the British was unnecessary and offensive.
Zyme - #8.2.1 - 2009-03-08 16:38 -
This reminds me of an incident in late 2008 in one of the Baltic States - when they removed a Soviet statue from its prominent location to a place where nobody notices it anymore. And I clearly remember how Russia reacted to that - not to think about what had happened had they returned the "gift" alltogether. "Diplomat" Obama obviously wants to make rather clear who his friends are - or who isn't..
John in Michigan, USA - #18.104.22.168 - 2009-03-09 03:01 -
That would be interesting and relevant, if Churchill had murdered millions of Americans and enslaved the rest.
Marie Claude - #22.214.171.124 - 2009-03-09 04:08 -
I remember having seen the same prominent statue in Praha, and that the authorities decided to keep it. Is it a sign ?
Joe Noory - #9 - 2009-03-07 12:45 -
I think it came off the wrong way, but I think the lack of officialdom was either an attempt to communicate closeness through a casual, protocol-free style, or an experiment in showing a more personal seeming meeting format that didn't work. The only possibility is that the WH percieved from No. 10 that what they were looking for was a more personal looking and less formal picture for this meeting in order to show Britain that it's closer than anyone else to Washington than any other government. I'm sure Brown is still trying to grab onto the coat-tails of whatever is left of the mythical "Obama effect" - that media constructed charisma story.
Don S - #10 - 2009-03-07 16:06 -
Hurt feelings, again. And not even universal hurt feelings, at that. The link which Martin uses in his blog plays a very different kind of story: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/andrew_porter/blog/2009/03/04/gordon_brown_is_faring_better_abroad_than_at_home "Sure, there was no official press conference but the Oval Office setting seemed to more than make up for it. There were as many questions from the press as at a usual White House presser." "However, Brown would have undoubtedly settled for what he got. He could tick off the following: commitment to the G20 drive for global co-operation; a backing for fiscal stimulus plans; praise for Britain, the special relationship and our troops helping to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was a tiny bit of banter thrown in, which just about worked despite Brown often being painfully awkward when it comes to small talk." As for Obama and his administration, it may be a case of "Ich Bin Ein Beginner", as well as the fact that Gordon Brown pushed hard for this meeting. It was quickly done, little time to set a formal agenda for the meeting. So it was just a friendly meeting, which was probably why they didn't lay on a press conference. They probably wanted to downplay expectations. Don't forget that Obama has a lot on his mind right now with the economic troubles in the US. Not to say that Brown or Merkel don't have similar troubles, but they have been on the job throughout the crisis while Obama is still trying to get his economic team in place and confirmed. Obama is under a lot of pressure what with the stock market tanking again. Comaring this with the Clinton and Bush administrations isn't valid because neither of his predecessors had a crisis like this to get a handle on. I suspect Obama wishes for a longer day.
Marie Claude - #11 - 2009-03-08 00:27 -
Don, you're probably right, but you know how certain narcissic media people like to inflate the facts for the sake of looking sagace and wit !!! um, can anyone still remind Mr Bush making a neck massage to Frau Merkel ? It surely wasn't in protocole rule !!!
Pat Patterson - #12 - 2009-03-08 06:36 -
Actually I had mentioned that incident, to Chancellor Mekel not Frau Maerkel, and also asked if there were any incidents were any visiting head of state was so clumsily treated by GWB? It is amazing how many things Pres Obama has accomplished in such a short time and I hope we all will make it to the next election riding the crest of beyond politics.
David - #13 - 2009-03-08 15:20 -
According to a Fox News poll of last week, President Obama's favorability poll numbers among Americans are now higher than they ever were for Ronald Reagan. Obama is wildly popular among all but the disenfranchised far right (Limbaugh Dittoheads). Those stupid, stupid Americans. They just don't see how good they had it under President George W. Bush.
Pat Patterson - #13.1 - 2009-03-08 16:52 -
David is slightly fudging the numbers here, especially comparing Pres Obama's numbers with Pres Reagan's since the Fox News Poll didn't in the manner David stated. But unlike pretty much every other US president in the first few weeks to months of his administration Pres Obama has already lost some 10% of his approval rating and doubled his disapproval ratings. And this high number, though real, is mainly because he got a 90% approval rating from self-described Democrats. Will David now begin dismissing them as true believers. But the rest of the numbers, both from Fox and Gallup, show just the reverse for the economy improving, they don't believe his statements concerning not wanting big government and again more than half disapprove of the government growing which is odd because at the Federal level it is one of the few bright spots for securing a job as it is hiring. I'm wondering if David will also post the numbers of how many believe the Bible literally, are against same-sex marriage and still support the death penalty or just quote the numbers he likes. http://www.gallup.com/poll/116026/Assessing-Obama-Job-Approval-One-Month-Mark.aspx
John in Michigan, USA - #13.2 - 2009-03-09 02:36 -
David - #13.2.1 - 2009-03-10 23:13 -
John, I'm surprised at you. I had assumed you watched [url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,506184,00.html]Bill O'Reilly [/url] religiously. "Everyday it seems the financial markets are sending a message to Barack Obama: We don't trust you. But a brand-new FOX News poll says the folks do not share that view. President Obama's approval rating is holding firm at 63 percent. Just 26 percent disapprove. But when asked if raising taxes is smart in an economic downturn, 69 percent say that's a bad idea; 23 percent believe it's a good idea. Interesting because President Obama is raising taxes on corporations and the affluent. However, when asked if the economy needs Obama or Reagan policies, 49 percent say Obama, while 40 percent say Reagan, the tax cutter." BTW, Dow up 379 today. Does this mean the financial markets are sending a message to Barack Obama: WE TRUST YOU ?
Pat Patterson - #126.96.36.199 - 2009-03-11 00:09 -
Not really, it means that "we trust you" only 95% less than we trusted you after the election. I can only hope that Pres Obama governs a little like Pres Bush and not succumb to daily tracking polls for support. Besides the next poll that really counts is 20 months away and that is the one that Obama should pay attention too.
Pat Patterson - #188.8.131.52.1 - 2009-03-11 00:30 -
BTW-That MSNBC poll jane referred to has Pres Obama now at 57% of the vote thinking he has done F level work. Or is this one of those polls that David will never abide by. Faith in what you agree with is a powerful soporific and it allows one to remain virtuous if unaware.
John in Michigan, USA - #184.108.40.206 - 2009-03-11 07:46 -
"I had assumed you watched Bill O'Reilly religiously." I never watch O'Reilly. I don't own a television. I used to watch the [url=http://www.pbs.org/newshour/]PBS NewsHour[/url] with my parents, or on the Internet. But starting around 2005 the NewsHour starting going down hill. For me this means, every story they covered was one I'd already heard about, and contained no new information or insights for me. Perhaps they lost a major source of their funding, or something. The PBS show [url=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/]Frontline[/url] is still excellent, but they don't cover breaking news. 90% of television news shows are crap. 99% of Internet news sites are also crap. But, the nature of the Internet is that it is much, much easier to locate the 1% of news sites that are worth while, than to locate the 10% of TV news shows that are worth while.
jane - #14 - 2009-03-10 01:26 -
Well, if we're going to throw around polls which are questionable in their procedure and authority (ehem, David, this is for you) -- then I direct you to a recent poll by MSNBC (hardly a bastion of conservatism, so very appropriate up against a FOX poll -- fair and balanced after all). Doesn't seem like your boy is doing so well there. As of Monday evening over 50% were giving him a grade of "F". http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29493093/
katie - #15 - 2009-03-10 07:06 -
hey if obama is so wonderful why has the stock market tank over three thousand points since he's been elected! alot of that money in the markets is middle class americans. the only thing the libs can do is try to change the subject. from their bully pulpit they co after private citizens. it is mostly by name calling. you know they hate talk radio. it seems like they are going after the men on CNBC now too. so all the kool-aid drinking and calling some fat and drugged out isn't helping the job markets.
A_guy - #16 - 2009-03-11 09:02 -
Marie Claude - #16.1 - 2009-03-11 15:39 -
uh, nope, Sarko is waiting for O's visit at the end of this month, and I am not in use to watch Frau Merkel initiating the first steps, hmmm, may-be toward St Petersburg, of course, she perfectly speaks russian what Hillary can't http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7930047.stm
Pat Patterson - #16.2 - 2009-03-11 17:24 -
First visit? First call? Read any newspapers lately and the discovery would be that Pres Obama has made his first state visit, to Canada. And his first fun call to a foreign leader, barely, was to Pres Abbas. For the first call to Abbas the Palestinians agreed to send two divisions to Afghanistan in recognition of their status as one of Marie-Claude's vassal states. Canada of course will keep send us Sci-Fi tv programs and pop singers.
Marie Claude - #17 - 2009-03-11 18:56 -
wich vassal's state ? from what I read, we have no more vassal's stares, er except Guuillane, Guadeloupe, Martinique Reunion, Corsica, but they lately started their revolution, they want to get the same money like we do, except that would be "Allocations", I'm for letting them have their independance too
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