Friday, October 2, 2009

World’s bad boys swoon for Obama while our friends get cold shoulder

By Lynn Westmoreland

There aren’t many calls to my office from Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District praising the policies of President Obama.

But Obama need not fear.

As Obama was moving into the White House, his charm, his message of change and his Teleprompter-reading skills, pushed his approval rating to near 70 percent and his disapproval rate a mere 20 percent. Today, that margin has narrowed drastically to 50.4 percent approve and 44.3 percent disapprove.

But, again, Obama need not worry.

Sure, his leftist agenda on deficit spending, cap-and-trade, tax increases and a proposed government takeover of health care has met much resistance in this country.

But who needs the American voters when you have the world’s autocrats singing your praises?

If you’re a national leader who suppresses freedom of speech, jails political opponents on trumped charges or presides over a corrupt regime, you’ve probably had some glowing remarks for our president lately.

Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi put many to sleep with his 1 ½ hour diatribe at the United Nations but his bored audience managed to catch his references to “our son” and “our Obama.”
"The election of Obama is the beginning of change,” Gaddafi said. “We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as the president.”

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was equally effusive, albeit in his own unique way. Chavez never had many nice things to say about former President Bush; he famously called Bush “the devil” during a speech before the United Nations.

But he was singing a new tune before his U.N. audience in September: "It doesn't smell of sulfur here anymore. . . . It's gone. No, it smells of something else. It smells of hope."

Ever the jokester, Chavez invited his new best buddy Obama “come join the ‘Axis of Evil’ here.”

Chavez buddy Fidel Castro jumped on the bandwagon to praise Obama’s strong language on addressing climate change, saying no other U.S. president has displayed such courage.

Perhaps we can laugh off some of the bluster of Chavez and Gaddafi. On the other hand, we should look warily at any praise coming from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Recently, President Obama pulled the rug out from under our Eastern European allies, the Czech Republic and Poland. Leaders of those nations had braved domestic opposition to stand with the United States to build a missile defense system on their land.

Even though it was intended to thwart any potential nuclear threat from Iran, the missile defense shield faced strident opposition from the Russians.

Putin hailed Obama’s decision to scrap plans for the missile shield as “correct and brave.” I’d bet that the Czechs and Poles, who were blindsided by the move, might use different adjectives.

The Putin example drives home the major point. The world’s sole remaining superpower capitulated to a corrupt, autocratic regime that has invaded our ally Georgia, has blackmailed our European friends by cutting off natural gas supplies and blocked every international attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

And what does the United States get in return? Absolutely nothing. For Putin, it’s win/win.

For our friends, it’s a different story. In addition to the Czechs and Poles, other NATO nations have been blown around by Obama’s winds of change. As they keep their troops in harm’s way in Afghanistan and face down domestic opposition to the ongoing war, Obama waffles on the war’s future.

As NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the Washington Post: The right policy for Afghanistan "is definitely not an exit strategy. It's of crucial importance to stress that we will stay as long as it takes to stabilize the country."

Let’s hope the secretary general doesn’t figure out that the best way to bend the president’s ear is to oppose America at every turn.

Lynn Westmoreland represents Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District.

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