Obama in Europe: More DVDs for Gordon Brown?
President Obama's got a lot riding on his first big adventure overseas. This isn't like his campaign jaunt when the world went gaga for him.Skip to next paragraph
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Now he's got issues like the global financial crisis, the
war effort Overseas Contingency Operation in Afghanistan, U.S.-European Union relations, reducing tensions between Muslim and Western worlds, and relationship-building between the U.S. and China and Russia.
As our much smarter colleague Howard LaFranchi noted earlier today, relationship-building is key here. Really key.
Mr. Obama may well find himself in the inverse position from where George W. Bush stood by the end of his White House run. Whereas Mr. Bush enjoyed greater cooperation and like-mindedness with many key foreign leaders, though he remained unpopular with the international public, Obama is expected to encounter an adoring public but a deep skepticism – even resistance – among heads of state.
Well, we know where he's got to start. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The president stiffed him the last time they were together. Kinda 'rick-rolled' him as the kids would say.
My gift to you
When Brown was in the U.S. three weeks ago, the two leaders met and had their customary gift exchange. The offices of protocol are responsible for this transaction. And in the case of President Obama, his office performed about as well as Rick Wagoner.
The British PM presented our president with a carved ornamental penholder from the timbers of the anti-slavery ship HMS Gannet. A perfect gift to place on his desk in the Oval Office which just happened to have been made from the sistership of the Gannet -- the HMS Resolute.
Think of it this way: 129 years after Queen Victoria presented President Rutherford B. Hayes with the desk made from the Resolute, Prime Minister Brown reunited the ships with this exquisite offering.
Could there have been a more beautiful gift? Outside of perhaps a few trillion dollars?
And for you
Diplomacy goes both ways. And we Americans assuredly don't want to ruin our sterling reputation abroad. Furthermore, it's our pal -- the U.K.