In Great Britain, anyway. Nile Gardiner writes in the Telegraph: “Barack Obama: the most unpopular man in Britain?”
It’s hard to believe that any politician could become more disliked in the UK than Gordon Brown, but Barack Obama is achieving that in spades. …
The key catalyst for rising anti-Obama sentiment in the UK has been his disastrous handling of the BP issue, and his relentless desire to crush Britain’s biggest company. There is no doubting BP’s responsibility over the Gulf oil disaster, and it is right that the firm is being held to account for its failures. But the brutal, almost sadistic trashing of BP by the imperious Obama administration, which has helped wipe out about half its value, threatens its very future, as well as the pensions of 18 million British people and the jobs of 29,000 Americans. There is now the very real danger of the bankrupting of a great British enterprise, and the prospect even of a Chinese or Russian takeover.
Instead of adopting a constructive, statesmanlike approach, Barack Obama’s decision to launch a “boot on the throat” campaign, while adopting a thinly veiled Brit-bashing agenda, has generated significant bad blood in America’s closest ally. At the same time, the president has inexplicably rejected offers of help from the UK and an array of European countries, no doubt out of both pride and protectionism.
President Obama’s handling of BP is part of a far bigger problem. This is an administration that has consistently insulted Britain, and has even sided with her foes in some cases, most notably in its wholehearted support for Argentina’s call for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands, a position that has been strongly backed by Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez. Time and time again, the Obama team has undercut America’s key allies, from London to Prague to Jerusalem, while kowtowing to the enemies of the United States in the name of engagement. It is a disastrous foreign policy that not only weakens American global power, but generates resentment and anger in nations that have traditionally stood shoulder to shoulder with America.
President Obama needs to see the big picture and understand that his anti-British posturing is hugely counter-productive and highly offensive. He is already one of the least popular US presidents of modern times, not only in the eyes of the American people, but now the people of Britain as well.
Obama’s policies toward the U.K. have been ham-handed, no doubt. But what is going on in connection with the Gulf oil spill is not hard to understand. The public’s perception that the Obama administration has bungled its response to the disaster threatens the Democrats’ prospects in the midterm elections, and whatever political viability Obama has left. Rasmussen finds that 71 percent of voters rate the government’s response to the spill as important to how they will vote in November. 46 percent now describe Obama’s performance as “poor,” a number that continues to rise, while only 33 percent rate it good or excellent.
The reality is that there is little the federal government can do about the spill at this point, so Obama is trying to change the subject. Like a Congressman trying to buy his constituents’ votes, he wants to be seen as bringing home the bacon, in the form of BP’s $20 billion fund. Further, his bashing of BP may serve to divert attention from his own less than stellar record on the Gulf disaster.
If there is collateral damage to America’s foreign policy interests, that is a secondary consideration at best.