Gaffe Time?

Two old remarks come back to mind as we survey the fraying foreign policy of Barack Obama.  The first is Henry Kissinger’s description of the achievement of Jimmy Carter, circa 1980: “The Carter administration has managed the extraordinary feat of having, at one and the same time, the worst relations with our allies, the worst relations with our adversaries, and the most serious upheavals in the developing world since the end of the Second World War.”  Obama has now topped Carter.  (I believe, but can’t find, that Kissinger added that when America becomes weak and uncertain, being an ally of America may actually be dangerous for your country.)

The second is Michael Kinsley’s famous axiom that a “gaffe” in Washington is when someone bluntly speaks the plain truth.  Kinsley’s remark comes to mind in connection with this AP story out of Poland today that Poland’s foreign minister Radek Sikorski was caught surreptitiously on tape saying that Poland’s alliance with the U.S. “isn’t worth anything” and is “even harmful because it creates a false sense of security.”  The AP helpfully adds that “There has been no official confirmation that it is Sikorski who speaks in the conversation.”  But hey—we’re the AP, and it’s not like we’re reporting that an Irish Catholic orphanage had buried hundreds of children in a septic tank or something.

But I suspect the story is wholly true, because Radek is an old pal from way back.  And he does not suffer fools gladly–even when the fool is President of the United States.  I first met him in New York in the early 1990s when he was roving correspondent for National Review, and he hosted me twice in Poland on lecture tours.  Totally unknown over here is that the Obama Administration blocked Sikorski from a top NATO post a few years back.  Why?  The AP story gives a hint:

Sikorski has been an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and has strongly criticized Russian actions in Ukraine this year. In the past he was a strong supporter of the United States, though he has become more critical of Washington in recent years.

Gee—why would anyone near Russia’s borders become more critical of Washington in recent years?  Among other things, Sikorski favors deployment of U.S. anti-missile defense in Poland, which Obama cancelled unilaterally as a way of currying favor with the Soviet Union Russia.  Sikorski knows a dangerous fool when he sees one.  My guess is that most of the governments of eastern Europe think exactly the same thing.

This must have been a really fun meeting.

This must have been a really fun meeting.


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