Extending a Hand Abroad, Obama Often Finds a Cold Shoulder
By MARK LANDLER and PETER BAKER, The New York Times
Published: June 18, 2013
Even his friends are not always so friendly. On Wednesday, for example, the president is to meet in Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who has invited him to deliver a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. But Ms. Merkel is also expected to press Mr. Obama about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, which offend privacy-minded Germans.
For all of his effort to cultivate personal ties with foreign counterparts over the last four and a half years – the informal “shirt-sleeves summit” with Mr. Xi was supposed to nurture a friendly rapport that White House aides acknowledge did not materialize – Mr. Obama has complicated relationships with some, and has bet on others who came to disappoint him.
“In Europe, especially, Obama was welcomed with open arms, and some people had unrealistic expectations about him,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a longtime senior American diplomat. Noting that Mr. Obama continued some unpopular policies like the use of drones, he said, “People don’t appreciate that American interests continue from administration to administration.”
White House officials said Mr. Obama’s meetings with Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin were productive, regardless of the atmospherics. One of the president’s most problematic relationships, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, has improved since he visited Jerusalem in March, with their differences over Iran’s nuclear program narrowing.
Still, for a naturally reserved president who has assiduously cultivated a handful of leaders, it has been a dispiriting stretch.
Gee, why do you think that is?
Could it be spying?
No Foreign Policy accomplishments for this president in his second term.