But perhaps most damaging for the Administration domestically is President Obama's failure to visit the American Cemetery in Normandy. During the campaign, Obama was heavily criticized for cancelling a planned visit to the U.S. military hospital in Ramstein, Germany, for a meeting with wounded troops. Skipping a visit to the cemetery could spark similar criticism. Moreover, the White House would not comment on whether President Obama will attend the ceremonies for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June, although a Sarkozy aide said Obama has agreed to the trip. So it remains unclear whether President Obama will get another chance to honor the 9,387 American soldiers buried there.Never mind that this wasn't about France or hurt feelings, but about honoring US servicemembers who died to liberate Europe from the Nazis. Obama and his team apparently didn't find the time to make that trip at this time, but their actions suggest a smug arrogance that they can do whatever they feel like.
It is becoming clear, however, that there is tension between Obama and Sarkozy, despite French denials. Sarkozy has been critical of Obama's foreign policy ideas, especially with respect to Iran's nuclear programs. White House officials are not commenting, but they are also not going out of their way to quell the rumors. President Obama campaigned on a promise to reestablish relationships with American allies. So far, though, the relationship with France, and his personal relationship with Sarkozy, appears to be deteriorating with each new report.
Throw in the fact that the President is more than willing to kowtow to the Saudis, push for dialogue with rogue nations that repeatedly test the Administration knowing that they can get away with everything from missile tests to detaining, charging, or convicting American citizens on trumped up charges, and I'd say that the US relations with our allies is falling apart, and our stature among our enemies remains unchanged.
However, the media and the pundits would rather you see things differently. They'd love to tell you about the adoring crowds; ignoring the calls for Obama to go home in Turkey (even after giving a fawning speech to the Islamists at that).
This is an Administration that is showing weakness in the face of renewed and existing threats. The world is watching and studying the President's actions intently.
More evidence Obama isn't winning over allies and the world: Pakistan told the US to pound sand and that they want the US to leave the UAVs when they pack up and leave. As The Hill notes:
But according to a Pakistani newspaper, regional envoy Richard Holbrooke and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen came up empty handed and received a “rude shock” when a proposal for joint operations against Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the volatile tribal regions was rejected.Zardari's reluctance to take on the Islamists, preceded by Musharraf's inability to do the same, has fueled the Islamists growing power in Pakistan since they sense the weakness of resolve to stop them. The missile strikes have nothing to do with fueling the extremists, but are an American attempt to go after the terrorists who threaten the US who are operating from Pakistani soil, both inside the frontier provinces and within Pakistan proper.
Dawn newspaper reported that Pakistan also asked the U.S. to turn over the unmanned drone missions over the territory to them, saying that the drone strikes were fueling extremism.
And The Independent published an interview with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday in which he said Pakistan would go after high-value targets on their own if the U.S. would hand over its drone technology and intelligence.
You would have thought that Obama would be greeted with open arms and that America's image would improve considerably. I guess the Pakistanis weren't impressed either. In fact, they're busy making demands of their own on the Administration.