Fri, 03 Apr 2009 21:11:30 +0000 – Far from looking like a rookie president on his first international trip, President Barack Obama took the G20 Summit in London by storm. He towered over our European allies who had been criticizing the U.S. for months by setting a forceful but graceful tone for the meeting. Obama accepted partial U.S. blame for the economic meltdown but refused to accept suggestions by France and Germany that this was primarily an "Anglo/Saxon" inspired crisis. Obama has made it clear that the US is still the most powerful economic force in the world, planned to remain so, but made it clear the US was not going to go it alone.
America is coming back as the dominant power on the world stage thanks to Barack Obama's many skills -- whether Republicans like it or not.
The president displayed the diplomatic skills of a veteran president and, thus far, has avoided mistakes the Republican peanut gallery back home had expected (and had been rooting for). Mr. Obama, in less than 24 hours, made significant diplomatic breakthroughs that won praise from the foreign policy community. In his first meeting with the Russians George W. Bush looked into then-Russian President Putin's eyes and found his "soul" but accomplished little else. President Obama, on the other hand, met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and, in an unexpected breakthrough, agreed to restart negotiations on reducing Russian and U.S. nuclear stockpiles which might actually save millions of real souls.
Obama made enormous progress in restoring relations with China which had cooled considerably under President Bush. Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to negotiations on a range of bilateral economic issues and more aggressive joint efforts on the present economic crisis. Obama will visit Beijing this summer to follow-up on high level meetings between the two governments this spring. Did I mention that President Obama and President Medvedev also agreed to a Summit meeting this summer as well?
A Republican friend of mine, after seeing British citizens lining Obama's motorcade route waving U.S. flags and cheering madly, suggested that the president was so popular in Europe that he could beat any of his counterparts in an election in their own countries. My friend did not say this with admiration but rather with disdain for Obama's "luck." It's not luck. Popularity is earned in words and deeds by U.S. presidents. Between his election and initiatives in the first months of his presidency Obama has engendered popularity abroad, the kind of popularity that eluded George Bush. Instead of eggs being thrown at Bush during his too few European visits, Obama's motorcade was showered with flowers.
Isn't it nice to have an American president not only popular around the world but also the unquestioned leader among leaders? America is coming back as the dominant power on the world stage thanks to Barack Obama's many skills whether Republicans like it or not.