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.
But though he continued to dazzle Europeans on his debut international tour, the Continent’s leaders turned their backs on the US President.
Gordon Brown was the only one to offer substantial 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.
But hey, there will be 35 Belgians and 12 Spaniards coming along for the ride. What could go wrong?
That was in Baden-Baden, Germany. Now the Obamas are heading to the Czech Republic. My friend Maria (who was born and raised there) asked me to Czech this out:
Obama blew off yet another ally, in favor of “having a romantic private dinner.”
When President Obama arrives here on Saturday for a meeting aimed at forging closer trans-Atlantic relations, aides say he has opted for a romantic private dinner with the first lady. That, rather than a glass of Czech beer with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who last week invoked Satan’s lair to characterize the American president’s economic policies.
The Obamas also decided to forgo an official state dinner with Vaclav Klaus, the fiery Czech president.
Last week I posted the YouTube of the Topolanek speech,
Czech politics are in disarray right now, but obviously Obama doesn’t want to hear from anyone who vehemently opposes state intervention on the economy and (heavens to Betsy!) doesn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming.
It doesn’t sound like there will be the kind of rave reviews that the Obamas have been getting in this trip so far.
Of course getting blown off like that is not going to make the Czech people less worried,
Czechs have looked with growing alarm at what many perceive as Mr. Obama’s forsaking of the free-market principles that this country ardently embraced after decades under Communism.
Indeed, many Czechs have long looked to the United States — not Western Europe — as a political and economic model.
Yet in a nation where President Ronald Reagan remains the unrivaled hero of the Cold War, many here fear Mr. Obama is too soft on Russia and too willing to compromise.
Mr. Kotas said he worried that Mr. Obama, after completing a review of American security policy, would abandon plans to install a missile-defense radar system in the Czech Republic. The proposed system has polarized Czech society, but many nevertheless view it as an essential bulwark against Russia.
Yup, might as well play it safe and have a nice romantic dinner instead.
Oh, and by the way, that will be followed by a visit to the Prague Castle on Sunday, a location that inspired Franz Kafka’s novel, The Castle.
Won’t be picking up the Czechs for dinner, but will be aiming towards “friendship and cooperation” with Sudan (h/t Larwyn).
Incredible. Simply incredible.
UPDATE 2, Monday 6 April
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