One of the most important roles of the President (and really, are any of the roles of the Presidency unimportant?) is to present a hand of friendship and support to our nations military allies. Since the end of World War Two, the United States has taken a lead role in the formation of and involvement in the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, or NATO. Member nations include most of the free nations of western Europe, who allied together after WWII as a barrier to the expansion of the growing Soviet Union.
With the growing state of uncertainty coming from Moscow today, under Vladamir Putin, the continued threat of terrorism by radical Islamic groups, and the ever tenuous relations between China and the west, NATO is as an important factor today as it has ever been.
So the question is, why is Barry Obama willing to anger member nations OF NATO? The question comes after a posting at PoliGazette today by Michael van der Galien of the Netherlands, in which he calls Obama "Arrogant, unexperienced amateur."
It's always an interesting thing to see how other nations view American politicians:
Great choice Democrats! You had one diplomatically disabled president for eight years and now you’re trying to ram another one down are collective European throats. What’s the matter, you couldn’t find a real cowboy to nominate?
Good. Fantastic. And to think that there actually people supporting this diplomatically disabled man.
We’re watching you America. We elected many pro-America politicians in recent years, how about you electing someone who actually understands foreign policy for a change?
The outrage comes after Obama made a speech calling for European NATO member nations to "pull their weight" better in Afghanistan, one week after he had admitted during debates that he had not held one single meeting on either NATO or Afghanistan during his one-year term as chair of the European Affairs subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He's been too busy running for President to fulfill his Senatorial obligations.
And now he's giving lectures on how Europe and NATO should involve themselves in war efforts in Afghanistan.
"I've been very clear that we do need more support from them," he said, referring to NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan. "We also may need to lift some of the constraints that they have placed on their forces there."
He didn't name any countries. But Germany, Italy and Spain have been under pressure from NATO and the administration of US President George W. Bush (more...) to devote more soldiers to risky missions in Afghanistan.
Berlin has sent a total of 3,310 troops to Afghanistan under two separate missions. Germany's smaller commitment, as part of the US-led anti-terrorism campaign Operation Enduring Freedom, involves no more than 100 special forces who work directly with US soldiers and see front-line action. The rest of the troops are part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and are restricted from heavy fighting by the German parliament. German voters are wary of war, and the NATO mission comes up for review by parliament every year, which makes the issue delicate for politicians.
There is a very, very good reason that the rest of the world keeps an eye on Germany, and indeed why the German people are wary of involving themselves in wars as well. Perhaps Mr. Barry H. Obama needs to take a look back into his history books as well as his political science books.
Personally, I can understand the harsh, rough language Michael van der Galien chose to use in his piece. He's angry, and he has every right to be. European nations have been battling terrorism a lot longer than we in the United States have. We haven't seen the number of incidents that Europeans have had to deal with. We have had no discotheque bombings as they have had in Berlin. We have not had our airports come under mortar bombardment as they have at Heathrow in England. We didn't experience the days of one Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, a.k.a. Carlos the Jackal, as they did throughout Europe.
No, what we experience here in the United States is a Presidential candidate whose wife whines when his middle name is used. We experience a Presidential candidate who stops using his nickname "Barry" in order to sound more "ethnic." We experience a one term senator who can't even hold meetings with a committee that would keep him up to date and abreast of the information he DOESN'T have when he goes out and makes speeches that upset our allies because what he says is wrong.
These are the qualities of leadership that we want from a President?