Saturday Night Live's opening skit was a mock press conference between China's Hu Jintao and President Obama. It perfectly highlighted the failure of Obama's Asia trip to strengthen U.S. overseas relations.
But just as it was with Obama's bow to the Japanese Emperor, these scenes are not all jokes and giggles. The issues behind the humor are very serious with potentially dramatic negative consequences for the United States and the maintenance of world peace.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume summed the problem up well:
"America is not what is wrong with the world....This policy of almost determined weakness on the part of Obama...hasn't produced any results and I predict it will not produce any." -Brit Hume
And for our Fox News hating friends on the left, a similar perspective from Europe comes via the German news magazine Der Spiegel (hardly part of the vast right wing conspiracy):
Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage
By Gabor Steingart
When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.
There were only a few hours left before Air Force One was scheduled to depart for the flight home. US President Barack Obama trip through Asia had already seen him travel 24,000 kilometers, sit through a dozen state banquets, climb the Great Wall of China and shake hands with Korean children. It was high time to take stock of the trip.
Barack Obama looked tired on Thursday, as he stood in the Blue House in Seoul, the official residence of the South Korean president. He also seemed irritable and even slightly forlorn. The CNN cameras had already been set up. But then Obama decided not to play along, and not to answer the question he had already been asked several times on his trip: what did he plan to take home with him? Instead, he simply said "thank you, guys," and disappeared. David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, fielded the journalists' questions in the hallway of the Blue House instead, telling them that the public's expectations had been "too high."
The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.
Lost Some Stature
Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.
Obama promised that if he was elected the world would look back and say "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." NOW he tells us our expectations had been too high?Steingart went on to compare Obama's China trip to that of Bill Clinton where the red carpet was clearly more plush for Clinton than Obama. And the most bitter sting of all came at the end of the article suggesting as Newt Gingrich did that Obama is 'a lot like Jimmy Carter.' Ouch!
Der Spiegel also ran op-eds declaring: