June 19, 2013

NYT acknowledges Obama's difficulties interacting with foreign leaders.

The article has headline that shifts the blame away from Obama — "Extending a Hand Abroad, Obama Often Finds a Cold Shoulder" — but read the first few paragraphs, and you'll see that the style Obama uses on us American citizens doesn't work on foreign leaders.

Paragraph 1:
Over porterhouse steak and cherry pie at a desert estate in California earlier this month, President Obama delivered a stern lecture to President Xi Jinping about China’s disputes with its neighbors. If it is going to be a rising power, he scolded, it needs to behave like one.
You've got to wonder why "deliver[ing] a stern lecture" and "scold[ing]" equals "extending a hand."

Paragraph 3 has Obama trying "to lighten the mood" with Vladimir Putin "by joking about how age was depleting their athletic skills." Putin responded with what the NYT calls "a taut smile": "The president just wants to get me to relax." Including Putin in the self-deprecation that's supposed to be friendly and humorous is — unlike lecturing and scolding — fairly characterized as "extending a hand," but the point is, the article portrays Obama as ineffectual.

Scrolling toward the end:
Mr. Obama differs from his most recent predecessors, who made personal relationships with leaders the cornerstone of their foreign policies. The first George Bush moved gracefully in foreign capitals, while Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush related to fellow leaders as politicians, trying to understand their pressures and constituencies.

“That’s not President Obama’s style,” said James B. Steinberg, Mr. Clinton’s deputy national security adviser and Mr. Obama’s deputy secretary of state.
But what is his style then? Steinberg doesn't say and one must struggle to read between the lines. I would tend to infer that Obama is relying on the way people are supposed to relate to him, which is to love or at least really like him. Others are supposed to respond to his uplifting presence.

The article ends, not with a conclusion about what Obama is doing and why it doesn't work, but with more detail on Putin:
Their first meeting was marked by a nearly hourlong lecture by Mr. Putin about all the ways the United States had offended Moscow. At their second, Mr. Putin kept Mr. Obama waiting 30 minutes.
And there's a quote informing us that "Obama doesn’t really take kindly to being harangued," which is interesting, considering that the article began with the steak-and-cherry-pie anecdote about Obama lecturing Xi.

67 comments:

bpm4532 said...

He really should be called Hector.

AprilApple said...

It's a myth that Clinton was respected in the world. He was not.

AprilApple said...

The American narcissist. Don't you love him? Please?

pm317 said...

I just saw a video of him and Merkel walking to the mikes for the press conference. He was extending his hand to hold her back. But she was out in front and walking faster that he could not touch her. It is irritating and intimidating at the same time for the other person. This guy is not a nice guy.

Quayle said...

Putin recognizes an empty suit when he sees on.

wendybar said...

They all must be racists. Don't they know he is the smartest, most intelligent man in the world??? What is wrong with all these other leaders?? They should be bowing down....(snark)

Rusty said...

Obama doesn’t really take kindly to being harangued,"

Yeah. The American people don't either.

The Drill SGT said...

"while Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush related to fellow leaders as politicians, trying to understand their pressures and constituencies. "

Teh Won doesn't like and is not capable of working Congress (either party) to get what he wants. Should we be surprised that he is even more incapable of understanding foreign leaders?

rhhardin said...

Liar and community organizer is how Obama relates to Americans.

It doesn't exactly work here either, except for the estrogen crowd.

BarrySanders20 said...

Barry should wear his Nobel Prize medallion like so much bling when meeting foreign leaders. That's style. If they say something he doesn't like, just point to the medallion.

Michael said...

He is, even five years on, without experience. Deaf

Hagar said...

A self-righteous jackass.

AllenS said...

I'm sorry, but he's no different to me than the first day he stepped on the stage.

bandmeeting said...

It is only because he is so incredibly smart that he has difficulty interacting with lesser sorts.

David Hampton said...

Obama has been propped up for so long by his handlers that he actually believes he is special. Of mixed race he is able to wander seamlessly between blue-blooded, white elitists and race baiting blacks as they use him to further their own agendas. He is not respected overseas and is treated with barely concealed contempt. I expect that our allies and enemies look warily into the future wondering if, and how far, the pendulum swings back once the citizens of this country neuter him in 2014 with the loss of the Senate and/or send the liberal/progressives into the proverbial desert to wander for 8 years.

Henry said...

Certainly George W Bush's warm and sincere friendship with Tony Blair was crucial to the prosecution of the Iraq war.

But W had no great luck with Putin either, or the Chinese. I can't really think of any other political friendship in recent years that made a difference. Reagan & Thatcher? That's a totally different era.

For all I know, sending this cold, hectoring, self-congratulating man around the world is good diplomacy. Typically conservatives complain that in foreign policy, Democratic administrations want to be loved rather than feared.

At least Obama's capable of being annoying. That's an improvement.

Bruce Hayden said...

This is just more indicia that thinking people who voted for Obama really didn't think their choice through very well, and esp. when they voted for him in the last election, after watching him in action for four years.

Working foreign leaders like his predecessors did so much, to build those personal relationships, takes a lot of work. But, they did it, because they saw it as an integral part of their jobs as President of the U.S.A. And, yes, ditto building relationships with Congress.

You sometimes get the impression that Obama looks at the job as campaigning to raise money from mostly extremely wealthy liberals, and resting up from that by enjoying the perks of the office, such as a private 747, helicopters, the big house in DC, a private compound at Camp David, etc. He doesn't have the time to oversee his government, to attend daily security breafings, or to build relationships with either Congress or foreign leaders. Not sure what he thinks his job really is, just that it obviously doesn't include many, if not most, of the essential functions as seen by his most recent predecessors.

Bryan C said...

Competence is not President Obama's style.

AReasonableMan said...

So Obama has not warmed up to the truly odious dictator Putin like his predecessor. And this is a bad thing because ... ?

bagoh20 said...

You chose poorly.

C Stanley said...

Good grief....just from the little I've read about Putin, he obviously has issues with manhood and aging. Obama really thought that would be an appropriate topic for small talk?

Tank said...

I'd love to be a bug on the wall in a room where other world leaders are talking about Zero.

Calypso Facto said...

Everyone outside of the US (including US citizens abroad) is afraid of saying something that'll offend Mr. Obama and land them on his secret, personal, un-reviewable drone kill list. Best to not interact with him.

bagoh20 said...

Putin is most angry because his staff won't let him just snap Obama's neck pull out his spine. They've threatened to expose his penchant for snuff sex if he does.

Putin hates Obama for his cowardly killing from safety via drones. It's personally revolting to him to kill without getting bloody hands, but Putin doesn't understand the power of the perfect pants crease.

dbp said...

I have always gotten the impression that foreigners stereotype American presidents as glib dim bulbs.

Obama is doing little to dispel this impression.

Phil 3:14 said...

Watch out Barack, Putin wants the ring!

CWJ said...

The Obama "extending a hand" meme really irritates me. As here, there is no evidence of it whatsoever. Obama is consistently a my way or the highway kind of guy. And yet in any discussion, any negotiation, any confrontation, the MSM dutifully trots out Obama extending a hand to the other person(s).

Its almost a parody of Michael O'donoghue's "How to write good".

LarsPorsena said...

bagoh20 said...

Putin is most angry because his staff won't let him just snap Obama's neck pull out his spine. They've threatened to expose his penchant for snuff sex if he does.

Putin hates Obama for his cowardly killing from safety via drones. It's personally revolting to him to kill without getting bloody hands, but Putin doesn't understand the power of the perfect pants crease.

6/19/13, 8:08 AM
____________________________

LOL!

Post of the week.

gerry said...

Obama is weak. He cannot be trusted. He is better off ignored because of his self-delusions.

Foreign leaders detest him because of his clumsy intellect. He doesn't know how to get anything done, but only how to get stuff for himself.

Marshal said...

AReasonableMan said...
So Obama has not warmed up to the truly odious dictator Putin like his predecessor. And this is a bad thing because ... ?


Because it's in America's interest that he be able to influence others to side with America. It's quite funny that such a self-professed reasonable man manages to interpret everything so unreasonably, as if there's some force requiring he misunderstand in order to preserve his opinion of Obama. No doubt he has a different excuse for Obama's interactions with the Brits. Or anyone else who disagrees with him.

bagoh20 said...

Who has Obama treated with obvious honest respect?

I can wait.

drozz said...

putin might not have liked GWB, but he at least respected him.

wow, that sounds like it's right out of the godfather.

Mogget said...

"This is just more indicia that thinking people who voted for Obama really didn't think their choice through very well, and esp. when they voted for him in the last election, after watching him in action."

Thinking people probably didn't vote for Obama. He and the results of his actions have turned exactly as predicted.

Jay said...

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush related to fellow leaders as politicians, trying to understand their pressures and constituencies.

What?
I was told over & over that GW Bush was a shoot from the hip cowboy dummy who was the decider?!

MayBee said...

Remember when the leaders of China and India hid from Obama to have a meeting, and he found them and crashed the meeting?
That was so embarrassing for him, but it was early on when America was still so in love with Obama.

Scott M said...

Obama doesn’t really take kindly to being harangued

Entitled youngsters raised by wealthy white people generally don't like being harangued. So we're constantly told.

khesanh0802 said...

The man's incompetent in all aspects of his chosen field. What more is there to say?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Shorter article:

Obama is a clueless dick.

Icepick said...

So when is the Times going to apologize to the rest of us for foisting this idiot on the rest of us? This man who thinks that security means using the UIRS to make certain he wins elections? This man who won't let the FBI check mosques for security risks but does think it needs to know every goddamned little thing I do? For being an ineffectual pussy with our actual enemies and being a bully against fellow citizens?

Icepick said...

Also, Eastwood's portrayal of Obama as an empty chair is looking far too charitable as events unfold.

edutcher said...

Did Choom ever have a friend?

In his life?

He can't relate to people and the only people who relate to him are syncophants and those he's conned.

AnUnreasonableTrioll said...

So Obama has not warmed up to the truly odious dictator Putin like his predecessor. And this is a bad thing because ... ?

Because he can't warm up to anyone.

And Troll would be the first to cheer old Vlad on if the Cold War were still with us and a Republican was in the White House.

Skeptical Voter said...

Scolding, lecturing etc. is what's done to "little people".

You don't do that to The Anointed One.

Obama's words of advice which will no doubt be chiseled into a monument at some later date.

Icepick said...

Putin doesn't understand the power of the perfect pants crease.

Okay, that was nicely done, bagoh.

Balfegor said...

Over porterhouse steak and cherry pie at a desert estate in California earlier this month, President Obama delivered a stern lecture to President Xi Jinping about China’s disputes with its neighbors. If it is going to be a rising power, he scolded, it needs to behave like one.

Holy crap! How dumb do you have to be to think taking that tone would improve China's behaviour? Especially since there are a lot of Chinese people who can read English and will appreciate fully this sad attempt at belittling China. Even if you take the risk of "scolding" the President of the PRC in private, what idiot member PR man let that leak to the press?

Petunia said...

Thinking people DIDN'T vote for Obama. Ever. The ONLY reasons for voting for him in 2008 were: you are an idiot, you hated GW Bush so much you couldn't bear to vote for McCain, you're a socialist, you're so weak or lazy that you WANT the government to run your life, and/or you're a racist.

The ONLY reasons for voting for him in 2012 were: you are an idiot and/or you want our country to fail.

Period.

Clyde said...

Why should we expect anything different in the way he treats world leaders than the way he treats Congress, especially Republicans? He has not shown any ability to persuade people to his point of view or to get them to do things they don't particularly want to do. He is not a politician in the mold of Lyndon Johnson, for instance, whose dealmaking ability was legendary. He doesn't have the personal touch and charm that other recent presidents have had, and clearly finds having to schmooze with supporters to be an insufferable chore. If he doesn't like to schmooze with those who adore him, why would he like doing it with people who disagree with him? Answer: He doesn't.

Icepick said...

Even if you take the risk of "scolding" the President of the PRC in private, what idiot member PR man let that leak to the press?

It's as if they have no one on staff to tell them about different cultures and how they will react to various stratagems. Or as if the President just believes that he really is better than everyone else at everything.

Zeb Quinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zeb Quinn said...

I'm thinking this whole phenomena of otherwise educated and reasonably intelligent baby-boomer hippie-yuppie white girls being swept up and swooning over teh black won as a personal conscience and self esteem balm is really just an American thing, and doesn't occur elsewhere in the world.

Lem said...

I don’t think Love notes are supposed to be critiqued.

Prudish?

Petunia said...

Oh, one more reason people might have voted for Obama: hopelessly naive or gullible, and bought into all of that hope and change garbage.

chrisnavin.com said...

Now the Gray Lady is trying to explain Obama the boyfriend's personality not only to other Americans, but to the world.

No one 'gets' him. They wouldn't understand anyways. He's sooooo cool and laid back but he's reallllllly smart and stuff too. Like killer smart. He's black and race in America is soooooooo misunderstood. He sits with generals. He signed my yearbook.

Most likely to succeed.

William said...

At the Treaty of Paris convention, Wilson chose not to include any Republicans in his delegation. They would just cramp his style when he remade the world into a place of endless peace and harmony.....Perhaps if Obama could find some way of negotiating common ground with Boehner, he could go on from those baby steps to find some way of relating to Putin......At any rate, Obama continues to have a following in Europe. Many people there share his distrust of America.

Balfegor said...

RE: Icepick

It's as if they have no one on staff to tell them about different cultures and how they will react to various stratagems.

I don't think there's any culture that will react well to that. But for historical reasons -- the Opium Wars, the Unequal Treaties, the foreign concessions, etc. -- it's particularly inflammatory in the Chinese context.

Icepick said...


I don't think there's any culture that will react well to that. But for historical reasons -- the Opium Wars, the Unequal Treaties, the foreign concessions, etc. -- it's particularly inflammatory in the Chinese context.


No, there isn't, but for the reasons you gave (and some others) I think it is particularly bad form to act that way to the Chinese government AND THEN MAKE IT PUBLIC. They couldn't piss them off more without invading Chinese territory.

Methadras said...

Cold, aloof, and effusive while leading from all the way in the back... of the short bus call America being driven off a cliff. That's what we have in this monkey of a president.

Larry J said...

Obama's style is to expect everyone to be in awe of his magnificent self and to automatically agree with whatever nonsense he spews because he's good enough, he's smart enough and gosh darn it, people like him. He's the Stuart Smalley of politics.

ricpic said...

He's both shallow and cocksure. The other leaders, who didn't get where they are courtesy AA, take his measure quickly and respond accordingly.

David said...

O relates to people who are willing to be subservient to him. He hates it when others assume that they are on the same plane.

Perhaps because he knows what they will discover.

David said...

Obama has a shot at being one of the most widely detested American presidents in history. Time will tell.

Strelnikov said...

I'm sure behind the "tight smile" Putin was thinking something along these lines: "Athletic ability? Does this guy have any? I could whip his ass in a heartbeat."

Strelnikov said...

'And there's a quote informing us that "Obama doesn’t really take kindly to being harangued," which is interesting, considering that the article began with the steak-and-cherry-pie anecdote about Obama lecturing Xi.'

Translation; Like most bullies/pussies, he can dish it out but can't take it. Comes form a lifetime of never having been told you were wrong about anything.

jr565 said...

Obama is a cross between Hamlet and Nero. A ditherer who fiddles (or plays golf/basketball) while Rome burns. Not a very good combination.

Bruce Hayden said...

Also, Eastwood's portrayal of Obama as an empty chair is looking far too charitable as events unfold.

Not just here, but overall. His excuse for pretty much everything that happens bad during his reign is that he didn't know. How could we expect him to know that the IRS was targeting Tea Party (and pro-Israeli) groups, that well trained terrorists had attacked our consulate in Benghazi, that the DoJ was running guns to the Mexican cartels, etc.? And, the sad thing is that for a lot of his scandals, he probably didn't know. He was, and probably still is, perfectly happy being insulated by his minions from anything the least bit unpleasant, including the messy job of actually running our government.

Bruce Hayden said...

The ONLY reasons for voting for him in 2012 were: you are an idiot and/or you want our country to fail.

I would add in all those whose primary interest is all that they can get from government. Remember the 47%? A lot of low information voters out there who are worried more about their next ObamaPhone, food stamps, or the conservatives stealing their lady parts than they are about the future of this country. And that, I think, was the key to that very successful Obama GOTV effort, where they knew what hot buttons to push to get these people to the polls. One guy might be worried that he won't get his next ObamaPhone to trade for drugs (note the latest James O’Keefe sting), or she won't get free birth control and abortions.

FleetUSA said...

He certainly doesn't have the aplomb of Ronnie, George, W, or Bill. Maybe he is more in the mode of Jimma.

gk1 said...

Yeah, well we will be reading a steady diet of these "NYT acknowledges Obama's turds smell like shit" for the next 3 years.