Raising America's Global Standing?
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, April 03, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Diplomacy: Barack Obama loudly claims he intends to raise America's standing in the world, but so far has only managed to alienate a string of American allies. John McCain, on the other hand, is a different story.
After annoying Pakistan, upsetting Mexico, and angering Canada, Obama managed to offend another two allies Wednesday, insulting both Colombia and South Korea, whose only crime is wanting to buy U.S. goods minus tariffs — otherwise known as free trade. But for Obama, playing to the peanut gallery in Pennsylvania, it was an insidious evil he said he would try to halt.
He accused old trading partners like Korea of being "bad" for the U.S. and hard-striving Colombia of making "a mockery of labor protections." Neither of those statements is true.
But Obama's palaver reached Bogota, where Colombia's President Uribe — known as the Nelson Mandela of his country for liberating it from terrorists and drug lords — retorted that Obama didn't seem to know a thing about how Colombia has revitalized its war-battered democracy. Uribe "deplored" Obama's "political calculations" and called on Colombians to stand up for the truth about the "realities" of the country, whose 43 million people need free trade.
Meanwhile, over in South Korea, local newspapers and wire services reported Obama's rude remarks about their country being a problem for the U.S. Some urged their prime minister, headed for the U.S. soon, to stand up to Obama's bullying.
It's part of a pattern. Obama threatened to invade Pakistan against its will, as belligerent a statement as possible — and made against an ally, no less. And he vowed to use "the hammer of a potential opt-out" from the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement if Canada and Mexico don't knuckle under to his arbitrary new demands.
Pandering to voters ahead of a primary, he seemed wholly ignorant of the implications of breaking a permanent trade treaty. He also threw six tiny states of the Central America Free Trade Agreement into a pile marked "other problems I'd like to get rid of."
How he expects to retain friends, expand U.S. influence or raise America's global standing by demonizing our partners is a mystery.
The other mystery is why so few of the media reported rival John McCain's successful visit to Israel, Jordan, Iraq, France and Britain, drawing impressive reviews across the board from strategic allies who remain important to us.
James Kirchick, on the Pajamas Media Web site, said that while Obama seems to think "his mere presence in the White House will make the world love us again," McCain, by contrast, showed how a real foreign policy heavyweight looks in action.
Even Britain's left-leaning Guardian newspaper wrote that McCain "should not be dismissed" because he is "made of sterner stuff and he has a lifetime of engagement with the outside world — and the scars to prove it — that gives him a moral seriousness."
The paper was comparing McCain favorably with Bush, which matches the Democrat mantra of President Bush as the big clumsy pachyderm in the China shop of global diplomacy who has angered "the world." But Obama's deliberate discarding and alienating of established allies is far worse than Bush's style errors.
Obama's actions show it's Democrats who aren't just inept but willing to casually break alliances with nations that share vast borders with us, bring job-generating trade, supply most of our oil, and act as security partners in strategically pivotal regions — all to please leftist domestic constituencies. Just as Jimmy Carter abandoned the Shah of Iran, and Bill Clinton ignored the pleadings of Thailand and Indonesia during the Asia Crisis, it may not turn out so well.
That's especially true given that Obama wants to establish no-strings-attached relations with totalitarian dictatorships like Cuba and ruined democracies like Venezuela and Iran.
To insult friends while coddling enemies is a sure way to have fewer of the former and more of the latter.
How exactly does America gain from these insults against allies?
It's as if Obama wants to reject all established alliances and egotistically build new ones of his own. By contrast, McCain has stated he considers current alliances a cornerstone of his foreign policy and he takes treaties seriously. Criticizing Obama for his bid to scrap NAFTA, McCain asked: "What are the other countries in the world going to think about the agreements we've negotiated with them?"
If Obama wants to go it alone without our current allies, he ought to say it so voters can evaluate that. But to claim he intends to raise America's standing abroad is rubbish. Thus far, he's done exactly the opposite of win allies. At the rate he is going, we will have none left should he ever assume the presidency.