“Smart Power”: Obama’s Overbearing, Arrogant and Absurd Lectures Annoy European Sensibilities

Remember that phrase, “Smart Power?”

It was a term coined by Joseph Nye to describe “non-military dimensions of a state’s international influence:  culture, values, law, and ideas.” It was meant as a post 9/11 rebuke of President Bush’s  interventionist foreign policies.

It was the promise of American “smart power” that drew a crowd of 200,000 Germans to the Victory Column in Berlin to get a glimpse of “The One”.

In 2008, MSM types used it incessantly to  describe Obama’s style of world outreach. Here’s a nauseating example from 11/06/2008:

The importance of being Barrack Obama. A recurring theme about Obama is his ability to bring parties together, listen to all sides in a discussion or conflict, and make everyone in the discussion feel good about themselves without giving away his own preferences. I do not know Obama and have never met him (though I have supported his campaign), but this dimension to his persona strikes me as extremely well suited to diplomacy and mediation. The U.S. president is both commander-in-chief and diplomat-in-chief. He is the voice of the U.S. in all its international dealings, but is also often called upon to interpose himself in an international disputes, either in indirect ways or more directly as a formal mediator and guarantor.  Obama’s even-keeled, cool-headed approach to problems and conflict is an extraordinarily valuable coin in international diplomacy, where personality, temperament and style can help make or break deals and long-term relationships. His temperament is married with a keen intellect — the killer combination that will make him a formidable negotiator and a truly valuable mediator. Oh, and if there is any doubt that he knows how to be tough, just ask John McCain.

When  Obama took office, his  ballyhooed  “smart power”  promised to restore America’s “standing” in the world.

In essence this new approach to foreign policy was designed to distance the new US government in every way possible from the Bush administration, supposedly hated in every corner of the earth, from Berlin to Buenos Aires.

Hence, the hallmarks of Obama’s foreign policy have been the naive engagement of an array of odious dictatorial regimes, grovelling apologies before foreign audiences, lamb-like timidity in the face of intimidation, the ending of the War on Terror, and the trashing of traditional alliances.

After only eight months of his presidency, Obama was awarded  the Nobel Peace Prize. Why? SMART POWER.

We don’t hear too much about “smart power”, any more, do we?

That’s because he’s been spending the past three years annoying the hell out of our allies.

On Monday, during a fundraiser in California, Obama told the assembled that Europe’s debt problems and their inability to solve them was “scaring the world.”

Europe is not amused.

Spiegel Online reported:

US President Obama has given the Europeans a harsh lecture on the dangers of their ongoing debt crisis. Offended by the unsolicited advice, Europeans have suggested the US get its own house in order first. Obama’s remarks were “arrogant” and “absurd,” German commentators say on Wednesday.

Europeans are well aware of the seriousness of their ongoing debt crisis. But they don’t, it seems, like to receive lectures from other countries — especially the United States, which is struggling to deal with its own mountain of debt.

On Tuesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble curtly rejected recent American criticism of Europe’s approach to solving its debt crisis. “I don’t think Europe’s problems are America’s only problems,” said Schäuble, who has become increasingly sharp-tongued as the euro crisis deepens. “It’s always easier to give other people advice.”

Schäuble was referring to strongly worded comments made by US President Barack Obama and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in recent days. At an event in California on Monday, Obama warned Europeans that their inaction was “scaring the world.” The Europeans, he said, “have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges that their banking system faced. It’s now being compounded by what’s happening in Greece.” He continued: “They’re going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world, and they’re trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven’t been quite as quick as they need to be.”

On Wednesday, German media commentators slam Obama’s criticism of Europe.

The mass-circulation Bild writes:

“Obama’s lecture on the euro crisis . . . is overbearing, arrogant and absurd. . . . In a nutshell, he is claiming that Europe is to blame for the current financial crisis, which is ‘scaring the world.’ Excuse me?”

“The American president seems to have forgotten a few details. The most important trigger of the financial and economic crisis was US banks and their insane real-estate dealings. The US is still piling up debt. . . The American congress is crippled by a battle between the right and the left. The banks are gambling just as recklessly as they did before the crisis. The president’s scolding is a pathetic attempt to distract attention from his own failures. How embarrassing.”

John Hayward at Human Events noted:

There are all sorts of lessons to be learned here.  Obama’s staggering domestic incompetence has burned away his credibility on the world stage, which was never accurately measured by rock-star crowds lining up in Berlin to get a look at him.  Welfare recipients, whether they be individuals or beggar nations, always become indignant when their no-strings-attached bailouts are followed by a bit of friendly advice.  And the Western world is learning, painfully, that it’s trapped in the ruins of a failed system, not just the consequences of bad decisions from the failed leaders who are currently reduced to using each other as distracting props in re-election campaigns.

While Europe finally learns the painful truth that Socialism doesn’t work, our president is leading us full speed ahead toward the Socialist Utopia of his demented imaginings.

See Also:

This blast from the past (Jan. 2010) from Nile Gardiner: 10 reasons why George W. Bush was a smarter world leader than Barack Obama:

5. Bush believed in the Special Relationship

I don’t recall George W Bush ever throwing a bust of Churchill out of the Oval Office or giving the British Prime Minister an insulting pack of DVDs. President Bush recognized Great Britain as America’s closest friend and ally, and placed the Special Relationship at the very heart of US foreign policy. Under Obama, the Anglo-American alliance has reached its lowest point since the Suez Crisis of 1956, a damning indictment of his world leadership. Bush possessed a genuine affection for the British people, their great heritage and their role in the world. Barack Obama cannot even bring himself to mention Britain in a major policy address or acknowledge the sacrifice of British forces in Afghanistan.

6. Bush cultivated key allies

Granted, Bush was hardly the most popular leader the US has ever had in Europe. But he did invest a great deal of time and effort in cultivating a strong personal relationship with several key European leaders, including Tony Blair, Jose Maria Aznar and Silvio Berlusconi. President Obama has largely ignored building alliances with European heads of state, and seems indifferent towards the transatlantic alliance. His administration has placed far greater emphasis upon backing the rise of a European superstate, than it has on strengthening ties wit close allies. The Obama administration has also succeeded in damaging the partnership between Israel and the United States, something no president has achieved since Jimmy Carter.


5 thoughts on ““Smart Power”: Obama’s Overbearing, Arrogant and Absurd Lectures Annoy European Sensibilities

  1. Obama, with all his faults, didn’t need to commit the classic error of the overconfident commander — we call it “believing your own press releases” — but it got him a Nobel Peace Prize, so what the hell, right?


  2. “The president’s scolding is a pathetic attempt to distract attention from his own failures. How embarrassing.”

    That, in a nutshell, pretty well sums up his presidency, whether viewed as an American or as a foreign government. He is pathetic, he is a failure and he is extremely embarrassing.

    What I have a hard time figuring out, though, is why he’s not being praised for moving America closer to Euro-socialism (National Socialism, i.e. – Naziism)?

    Oh, I remember now, of course. He is an embarrassment because he lectures all other non-muslim governments about failures he is guilty of.


  3. Seems ta me Duh-1 never heard the saying “Better to keep your silence and seem the fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    But even if he did, he’s arrogant enough to believe it speaks of others, not him. After all, he is the most brilliant man in the world, right?


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