President Barack Obama suffers from weak ties with leaders overseas in addition to flaws in the substance of his foreign policy, says Republican strategist Karl Rove.
"He has the same aloof relationship with most foreign leaders that he has with congressional leaders of both political parties at home," the former George W. Bush aide writes in The Wall Street Journal.
He notes that President Ronald Reagan, both President Bushes and President Bill Clinton had close relationships with leaders abroad, whom they always could count on. Reagan had Britain's Margaret Thatcher and Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev; George H.W. Bush had Germany's Helmut Kohl; Clinton could depend on the UK's Tony Blair; and George. W. Bush had Germany's Angela Merkel and others in his corner.
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"As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said, 'It's simple' to get allies 'to do something easy but considerably more difficult to get them to do something hard.' To do that, she added, personal relationships 'really matter,'" wrote Rove.
But Obama has done nothing to foster such close relations, he argues.
"He's surprised allies with unilateral actions, as when he cancelled missile-defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic," Rove writes.
"He's dithered when friends have supported American interests abroad, as Great Britain and France did in Libya and are now doing in Syria. He snubbed the Israeli prime minister during White House visits."
While Obama gives signs of learning from his mistakes, "these changes are coming late," Rove states. "The world — especially the Middle East — is more chaotic and dangerous than it was four years ago. This isn't the 'new beginning' Mr. Obama promised."
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