Tuesday, February 23, 2010

how is Obama's diplomacy working?

From Matt Welch at Reason-- a libertarian not a Republican...

In just about every speech at their 2008 convention, Democrats promised voters that a change in the White House would, in Barack Obama’s formulation, restore “our moral standing” in the world. Replace the unilateralist cowboy at the top with a humbler multilateralist, and the path would finally be cleared to fix vexing international issues such as curbing carbon emissions and dealing with the mullahs in Iran. Like many of the party faithful’s long-nurtured beliefs, this hope has disintegrated on contact with reality.

...especially in the wake of the climate conference debacle in Copenhagen. It’s not just that the less confrontational American president has been unable to deliver results. He can’t even get his phone calls returned.

Welch then relates this sad/amazing story:

“On the last day of the [Copenhagen] talks, the Americans tried to fix up one-to-one meetings between Mr Obama and the leaders of South Africa, Brazil and India—but failed each time,” Gideon Rachman wrote in the Financial Times piece. “The Indians even said that their prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had already left for the airport. So Mr Obama must have felt something of a chump when he arrived for a last-minute meeting with Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, only to find him already deep in negotiations with the leaders of none other than Brazil, South Africa and India.”...

Obama’s approach was supposed to produce a more cooperative Tehran and Moscow, fewer terrorists in the Muslim world, and vast new initiatives to fight global poverty. Instead...

These developments illustrate a phenomenon that has been playing out across a variety of public policy areas: Progressive Democrats, after being outfoxed by Ronald Reagan, triangulated to the policy margins by Bill Clinton, then routed under the first six years of George W. Bush, are having many of the nostrums they championed during the wilderness years tested in the real world for the first time in decades. The initial results of this long-delayed peer review have been a shock to the progressive system....

Welch finishes by poking at the increase in lobbying under Obama. He doesn't mention Obama's hypocrisy with transparency.


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