As Yael from Boker Tov, Boulder points out – Obama hates Britain almost as much as he hates Israel. If I were Romney I would mention to America and to Obama in any debate that the first thing I would do as president would be to request the return of the bust of Winston Churchill. How sad that Britons (according to polls) so wanted Obama to win in 2008.
hat tip – Boker Tov, Boulder
by Nile Gardiner
For the past two years I have published a list of Barack Obama’s biggest insults against America’s foremost ally, Great Britain, during his time in office. Here is an updated list to accompany President Obama’s hosting this week of an official visit to the White House by the British Prime Minister, as a reminder that a basketball trip to Ohio and a bells and whistles state dinner do not erase a track record of major insults by the Obama administration since it took office.
Mr Obama has been by far the most anti-British president in modern American history, kicking off his presidency with the removal of a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, and continuing today with a policy of knifing Britain in the back over the Falklands. He will be all smiles and full of platitudes this week when he greets Mr Cameron in Washington, but the fact remains that for President Obama the Special Relationship has been largely a blip on his teleprompter screen, in his eyes an anachronism of a bygone era, rather than the engine of the free world.
Here are the 2012 rankings:
1. Siding with Argentina over the Falkland Islands
This has remained the top insult for three years running. For sheer offensiveness it’s hard to beat the Obama administration’s brazen support for Argentina’s call for UN-brokered negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands, despite the fact that 255 British servicemen laid down their lives to restore British rule over the Islands after they were brutally invaded in 1982. In a March 2010 press conference in Buenos Aires with President Cristina Kirchner, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave Argentina a huge propaganda coup by emphatically backing the position of the Péronist regime.
In June 2011, Mrs Clinton slapped Britain in face again by signing on to an Organisation of American States (OAS) resolution calling for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, a position which is completely unacceptable to Great Britain. To add insult to injury, the Obama administration has insisted on using the Argentine term “Malvinas” to describe the Islands in yet another sop to Buenos Aires.
In 2012, against a backdrop of growing aggression by Argentina, including efforts to blockade international vessels fishing in Falkland waters, the Obama administration continued to undercut Britain. In January and February the State Department again supported direct negotiations between Argentina and Britain, parroting the line taken by Buenos Aires.
2. Calling France America’s strongest ally
In January last year, President Obama held a joint press conference at the White House with his French counterpart, literally gushing with praise for Washington’s new-found Gallic friends, declaring: “We don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy, and the French people.” As I noted at the time:
Quite what the French have done to merit this kind of high praise from the US president is difficult to fathom, and if the White House means what it says this represents an extraordinary sea change in US foreign policy. Nicolas Sarkozy is a distinctly more pro-American president than any of his predecessors, and has been an important ally over issues such as Iran and the War on Terror. But to suggest that Paris and not London is Washington’s strongest partner is simply ludicrous.
These kinds of presidential statements matter. No US president in modern times has described France as America’s closest ally, and such a remark is not only factually wrong but also insulting to Britain, not least coming just a few years after the French famously knifed Washington in the back over the war in Iraq.
3. Lecturing Britain on a federal Europe and undercutting British sovereignty
The Obama administration’s relentless and wrongheaded support for the creation of a federal Europe, from backing the Treaty of Lisbon to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), is a slap in the face for the principle of national sovereignty in Europe. While the Bush Administration was divided over Europe, the Obama team has been ardently euro-federalist. Hillary Clinton called the Lisbon Treaty “a major milestone in our world’s history”, and in an interview with The Irish Times in 2009 stated: “I believe [political integration is] in Europe’s interest and I believe that is in the United States’ interest because we want a strong Europe.” And Vice President Joe Biden has described Brussels as the “capital of the free world.”
Most insultingly, the Obama administration has sought to intervene in British policy towards the European project. The US Ambassador to London, Louis Susman, has warned Britain that “all key issues must run through Europe.” According to a report by The Parliament.com, in a private meeting with British MEPs at an event in the European Parliament in January 2011, Susman called for a stronger British commitment to the EU, emphatically warning against British withdrawal:
4. Betraying Britain to appease Moscow over the New START Treaty
In February 2011, The Daily Telegraphbroke a major story with damaging implications for the Special Relationship, revealing that Washington “secretly agreed to give the Russians sensitive information on Britain’s nuclear deterrent to persuade them to sign a key treaty.” According to The Telegraph report:
5. Airbrushing Britain from Europe
A striking feature of Obama administration speeches on Europe is the frequent omission altogether of Great Britain, as if it doesn’t even exist. A major recent example of this was an address in January 2012 by Philip H. Gordon, US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, on “the state of transatlantic relations”, which completely left the British out of the discussion of the role of US allies in the Afghanistan and Libya operations, as well as the Iranian nuclear crisis. As I noted at the time:
It is a sad day when the most senior US official on Europe cannot even bring himself to acknowledge the vital role and huge sacrifices made by America’s closest partner on the battlefields of Afghanistan, while much of Europe barely lifts a finger in the war against the Taliban.
6. Throwing Churchill out of the Oval Office
It is hard to think of a more derogatory message to send to the British people within days of taking office than to fling a bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office and send it packing back to the British Embassy – not least as it was a loaned gift from Britain to the United States as a powerful display of solidarity in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Obviously, public diplomacy is not a concept that carries much weight in the current White House, and nor apparently is common sense. Three years on, the Churchill bust incident continues to embarrass the Obama White House, and remains a sad symbol of this administration’s contempt for the Special Relationship as well as one of the greatest figures in British history.
7. Placing a “boot on the throat” of BP
The Obama administration’s relentless campaign against Britain’s largest company in the wake of Gulf oil spill was one of the most damaging episodes in US-UK relations in recent years, with 64 percent of Britons agreeing at the time that the president’s handling of the issue had harmed the partnership between the two countries according to a YouGov poll. The White House’s aggressive trashing of BP, including a threat to put a “boot on the throat” of the oil giant, helped wipe out about half its share value, directly impacting the pensions of 18 million Britons. This led to a furious backlash in the British press, with even London mayor and long-time Obama admirer Boris Johnson demanding an end to “anti-British rhetoric, buck-passing and name-calling”.
[…….]9. Insulting words from the State Department
The mocking views of a senior State Department official following Gordon Brown’s embarrassing reception at the White House in March 2010 says it all:
There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.
10. Confusing England with Great Britain
Perhaps less of an insult than an embarrassing indictment of Barack Obama’s Columbia and Harvard education, the president’s extraordinarily ignorant response to the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran last November, dubbing it the “English” Embassy, was the kind of elementary mistake that would have had America’s liberal press howling with derision had it been made a few years earlier by George W. Bush. As I wrote soon after the president’s gaffe:
It would be nice if the leader of the free world bothered to look at a map once in a while, or even paid a visit to the British Embassy in Washington, currently housing the Churchill bust that Mr. Obama unceremoniously threw out of the Oval Office soon after his inauguration… The White House will no doubt dismiss this latest faux pas by the president as a slip of the tongue, but it cannot disguise the fact that it has on many occasions treated Britain and other key allies with an air of disdain, and even contempt.
Read the rest – Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Britain – 2012 edition