Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Europeans "Shattered" by Obama's Indifference: "Bush Was Not the Problem, Obama Is Not the Solution"

How many times did we tell you — how many times did conservatives, Republicans — tell you, "No, it is not about Bush and, that, you will soon find out!"

Well, here we go. Remember the number of articles bemoaning the fact that Europeans are stupefied by Bush's arrogance, or whatever (or words to that effect)? Well, now we get a huge front-page headline in Le Monde saying Europeans Shattered by Obama's Indifference (Les Européens ébranlés par l'indifférence d'Obama, the title changes in the internet version). Meanwhile, an editorial in Le Monde bemoans the fact that Europe has been snubbed — again (this time, it is Barack Obama's refusal to participate in José Luis Zapatero's USA-Europe summit). As for Arnaud Leparmentier and Corine Lesnes' article, it starts with these words:
Bush n'était pas le problème. Obama n'est pas la solution : un an après l'arrivée à la Maison Blanche d'un président démocrate, le désenchantement est réciproque de part et d'autre de l'Atlantique. Les alliés découvrent — si tant est qu'ils l'ignoraient — que les malentendus vont au-delà des personnes.
And later, we learn that
Après avoir dénoncé l'impérialisme de M. Bush, les Européens reprochent à M. Obama son impuissance. Il lui font grief de ne pas avoir été su faire plier la Chine lors du sommet de Copenhague sur la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique. "Nous avons surestimé sa marge de manoeuvre", explique un conseiller de l'exécutif français ; "Les Chinois avaient un faible en face d'eux", accuse un proche de M. Sarkozy.
Update: Merci, Monsieur Reynolds

And here, by popular demand, is the translation:
Bush was not the problem. Obama is not the solution: one year after the arrival at the White House of a Democratic president, disenchantment is mutual on either side of the Atlantic. The Allies are discovering — if indeed they were unaware of it before — that misunderstandings go beyond individuals.

Having denounced Mr. Bush's imperialism, Europeans are criticizing Mr. Obama for his impotence. They are complaining of his not being able to bend China at the Copenhagen summit on the fight against global warming. "We overestimated his room for maneuver," said adviser to the French executive; "The Chinese were facing a weakling", said a person close to Mr. Sarkozy in an accusing voice.
I have also been asked to provide the link for the recent BBC debate on Iraq, the War, Lies, Mass Graves, Saddam, Bush's Foreign Policy, and the (Alleged) Guilt of Tony Blair and George W Bush

Another update, from the New York Times' Steven Erlanger: "the palpable sense of insult among European officials" … "something they said that President George W. Bush would never have done."
American officials said that Mr. Obama felt that the previous major American-European summit meeting, last June in Prague, was a waste of time, and European Union officials said that the president even skipped a leaders’ lunch at the smaller European Union-United States meeting in Washington last November, sending Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. instead, something they said that President George W. Bush would never have done.