Currying foreign favor brings Obama a prize, but no favors for the U.S.

E.J. Dionne claims he perceives a contradiction between conservative reaction to the IOC’s rebuff of President Obama’s plea to hold the Olympics in Chicago and the Nobel committee’s decision to grant him its Peace Prize. Dionne wonders how conservatives can argue that the IOC’s decision demonstrated that the administration has not improved America’s standing in the world, while ignoring evidence from Oslo that our standing has improved.
it happens that my position on Obama’s efforts to bring the Olympics to Chicago is closer to Dionne’s than to that of my fellow conservatives. Still, there is no contradiction.
The Nobel committee’s decision shows that Europe’s elite really likes the fact that Obama sees the world as it does. The IOC’s decision suggests (though not strongly) that, obtaining the approval of foreign elites will not translate into tangible benefits for the U.S. when these elites make policy decisions.
Neither outcome should come as a surprise. People love it when other people see things their way. But when it’s decision-making time, people make the decisions that suit their interests, not the interests of those who flatter them, especially when they have good reason to expect the flattery to continue regardless.

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