Barack Obama 'too tired' to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown
British officials, meanwhile, admit that the White House and US State Department staff were utterly bemused by complaints that the Prime Minister should have been granted full-blown press conference and a formal dinner, as has been customary. They concede that Obama aides seemed unfamiliar with the expectations that surround a major visit by a British prime minister.These are the types of slips and slights that happen with an inexperienced and overwhelmed administration.
But Washington figures with access to Mr Obama's inner circle explained the slight by saying that those high up in the administration have had little time to deal with international matters, let alone the diplomatic niceties of the special relationship.Oh, excellent, the Obama team doesn't have any time for foreign policy and diplomacy!
...A well-connected Washington figure, who is close to members of Mr Obama's inner circle, expressed concern that Mr Obama had failed so far to "even fake an interest in foreign policy".He's doing such a great job on the domestic front, we can forgive him for ignoring foreign policy, the sole domain of the Executive Branch.
A British official conceded that the furore surrounding the apparent snub to Mr Brown had come as a shock to the White House. "I think it's right to say that their focus is elsewhere, on domestic affairs. A number of our US interlocutors said they couldn't quite understand the British concerns and didn't get what that was all about."I thought diplomacy, dialogue and symbolic gestures were what Obama's foreign policy strategy was all about. How hard is it to find out what is appropriate and expected when important foreign dignitaries visit?! How do you manage tick off our best ally?!
The American source said: "Obama is overwhelmed. There is a zero sum tension between his ability to attend to the economic issues and his ability to be a proactive sculptor of the national security agenda.And yet the American voters thought it would be a good idea to elect such an immature, unproven and untested person during such an important time in history. Experience and proven results do matter!
"That was the gamble these guys made at the front end of this presidency and I think they're finding it a hard thing to do everything."
...But they concede that the mood music of the event was at times strained. Mr Brown handed over carefully selected gifts, including a pen holder made from the wood of a warship that helped stamp out the slave trade - a sister ship of the vessel from which timbers were taken to build Mr Obama's Oval Office desk. Mr Obama's gift in return, a collection of Hollywood film DVDs that could have been bought from any high street store, looked like the kind of thing the White House might hand out to the visiting head of a minor African state.Who is in charge of gifts?! They should be fired with this and the "reset" button disaster with Russia.
...The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event was so low-key.Wow, sounds like someone screwed up and is trying to deflect the blame! I can't believe a nameless official at the State Dept would make such an outrageous statement denigrating our best ally to a British newspaper! Another person to fire. The administration should immediately apologize and explain this offensive statement.
The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment." The apparent lack of attention to detail by the Obama administration is indicative of what many believe to be Mr Obama's determination to do too much too quickly.
...The Sunday Telegraph understands that one of Mr Obama's most prominent African American backers, whose endorsement he spent two years cultivating, has told friends that he detects a weakness in Mr Obama's character.
"The one real serious flaw I see in Barack Obama is that he thinks he can manage all this," the well-known figure told a Washington official, who spoke to this newspaper. "He's underestimating the flood of things that will hit his desk."
That's certainly not Obama's only character flaw, but it may signal a ticking time bomb ready to go off and sink his presidency and the country with the next crisis.
The Obama presidency has been a failure so far on the foreign policy front (as well as domestic). In the coming days, I will highlight recent articles that vindicate Bush and show gaffes and screw ups of Obama, while antagonizing our friends, and attempting to placate our insatiable enemies. Stay tuned.