So how did the president’s overseas trip really go? Let’s see. North Korea used the opportunity to figuratively send a missile over the bow of the SS Obama. Now they’re sulking and threatening not to come back to the six-party talks. We got virtually no help on Afghanistan. Iran declares the time to talk has passed. Our allies balked at his request for more stimulus spending. And we also incurred some contempt from one of our allies. The New York Times reports on President Sarkozy’s take:
In the world according to Sarko, President Obama is weak, inexperienced and badly briefed on climate change…
Mr. Obama, according to Mr. Sarkozy, “has a subtle mind, very intelligent and very charismatic. But he was elected two months ago and never ran a ministry in his life. He doesn’t have a position on a number of things.” Mr. Obama “is not always operating at a level of decision-making and efficiency,” according to the voluble Mr. Sarkozy.
Mr. Obama appeared unprepared on climate change when they met, according to Mr. Sarkozy, who told the legislators, “I told him, ‘I don’t think that you have quite understood what we are doing on carbon dioxide.’ ”
In the magazine L’Express, Mr. Sarkozy was quoted as joking about Mr. Obama’s sanctified image. Pressed by Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Obama agreed to visit France in June for the anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
“I am going to ask him to walk on the Channel, and he’ll do it,” Mr. Sarkozy reportedly said.
In all fairness, Sarko doesn’t have good things to say about most of the other allies either. But Obama was supposed to dazzle and impress, not simply be held in the same low regard as the rest of France’s neighbors. The question remains: what was accomplished by the bow and scrape routine? If one of our allies finds the president’s performance laughable, what must the leaders of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran be thinking? We’ll find out now that they’ve sized up the new president, observed his angst-ridden apologies, and heard his desire to stop insisting America get its way. On the last point they may be all too happy to oblige.