It's difficult to say they haven't earned it:  When it comes to public trust in media, the U.S. stands…
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Image of the Day: U.S. Public Trust in Media Lowest in the World

It's difficult to say they haven't earned it:  When it comes to public trust in media, the U.S. stands lower than any other nation:

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="691"] U.S. Claims Lowest Public Trust in Media[/caption]


May 30, 2023 • 04:59 PM

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Obama’s Obsequious Foreign Policy Print
By Troy Senik
Wednesday, December 11 2013
President Obama actually has to make an outsized effort to step on allies’ toes and accommodate adversaries.

Nearly five years into his presidency, Barack Obama still has nothing approaching a unified vision of foreign policy. To the extent that there’s an “Obama Doctrine,” it’s never been articulated. We simply have to suss it out from his actions. As best I can tell, it operates on the following principle: Give your allies the back of your hand and your enemies a bow at the waist.

The most recent example of this moral inversion comes from the state funeral for Nelson Mandela in South Africa, which the President and First Lady attended earlier this week. Although Mandela was not quite the saintly figure the media made him out to be (he had a long history of common cause with unsavory regimes like Castro’s Cuba and a youthful commitment to the legitimacy of violence as a political tool), he still deserved this show of respect from America’s head of state. Mandela’s legitimate accomplishments in bringing racial equality to South Africa were certainly significant enough to mitigate the other misjudgments of his career.

What rankles is not that the late South African president received such fawning admiration from the First Family (the President has long cited him as one of his political heroes), but that Obama seems to have such difficulty in extending the same courtesy to other figures whom he doesn’t consider ideological fellow travelers.

This contrast is most pronounced in the case of Margaret Thatcher. When the former British Prime Minister — one of the best friends America has ever had on the international stage — passed away in April, Obama not only skipped her funeral; he didn’t even send a single member of his cabinet. The official explanation was that it was a busy week in domestic politics. Yet this week, with his signature policy initiative on life support and a bipartisan budget deal coming out of Congress, he had nothing but time.

The reality, of course, is that the President of the United States can always make time when he feels the need. Skipping Thatcher’s funeral wasn’t a matter of logistical constraints; it was a calculated insult to a figure the president likely regards with contempt and a nation for which he has never shown much respect.

From his decision to remove the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office to his “gift” of an iPod full of his speeches to Queen Elizabeth to his Administration’s attempt to blame Prime Minister David Cameron for the British Parliament’s refusal to endorse armed conflict in Syria, Obama has never regarded Britain as much more than a loyal dog that will suffer an innumerable number of kicks.

As if the contrast between the two funerals wasn’t enough, the President then proceeded to compound the damage by using Mandela’s service as an opportunity for a widely photographed handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro.

The photo opportunity instantly called to mind this Administration’s long history of gullible embraces of despotic figures: Obama participating in a similar grip-and-grin with Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez; Hillary Clinton pronouncing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “reformer”; the Administration’s refusal to acknowledge the Green Movement in Iran because it was so committed to hopeless negotiations with the mullahs in Tehran; the hopes for a Russian “reset,” which ultimately led to a Vladimir Putin suitably empowered to humiliate the United States when we attempted to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

When I raised the impropriety of the Castro handshake earlier this week, I was criticized, even by many conservatives. Some claimed it was just a matter of protocol — a president is obligated to shake the hand of a foreign leader. Others pointed to famous pictures of American leaders with similarly unsavory figures: Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein; FDR with Joseph Stalin; Nixon with Chairman Mao.

What these comparisons get wrong is that, in each of those cases, American leaders were practicing realpolitik, advancing our national interest even if it required affiliating with loathsome individuals.

We worked with Saddam to counterbalance the power of Iran in the Middle East. We partnered with Stalin to defeat Nazi Germany in World War II (though the historical record is rather clear that FDR was far too trusting of the Soviet tyrant). Nixon went to China to drive a wedge between that communist state and the Soviet Union.

Obama, by contrast, did nothing to advance American interests by giving Castro the spotlight. He simply did the Cubans’ PR work for them.

As for the protocol argument, keep this in mind: American presidents don’t just bump into people. President George W. Bush, for instance, was subject to the same pressures as Obama during his stint in the Oval Office. Yet when Bush attended meetings where a figure like Hugo Chavez was present, the Secret Service was under strict instructions to keep the two men from coming into each other’s orbit. These things don’t happen by accident. They are a reflection of a president’s values and priorities, not the whims of chance.

In the end, that’s what this really comes down to. President Obama actually has to make an outsized effort to step on allies’ toes and accommodate adversaries. It’s an adolescent exercise — the foreign policy you might expect from a college sophomore who thinks all global hostilities stem from cultural misunderstandings and American indelicacy. Most presidents outgrow such fantasies in the office. This one, however, is too conceited, too sure of his own righteousness, to be rebuked by reality. That’s the essence of the Obama Doctrine.

Notable Quote   
"The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt another setback to organized labor by making it easier for employers to sue over strikes that cause property destruction in a ruling siding with a concrete business in Washington state that sued the union representing its truck drivers after a work stoppage.The 8-1 decision overturned a lower court's ruling that said the lawsuit filed by Glacier Northwest…[more]
— John Kruzel, Reuters
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