European leaders and the White House do not exactly see eye to eye on a number of issues, particularly when it comes to Russia, but there is a major change in this dynamic: European officials and media have lately started blaming Barack Obama directly for what they see as bad decision-making on the part of the US president.
“For years, Europe treated Mr. Obama as virtually untouchable, an off-limits symbol of positive change in America,” journalist John Vinocur asserted. In 2008, the Old World was infatuated with a young US senator and his message of change that all could contribute to and should definitely believe in.
Seven years and many unfulfilled promises later this affair is apparently over and “the continent is growing disenchanted with Barack Obama,” Vinocur noted. Moreover, “there is a willingness in Europe to place blame on [the US president] himself.”
Nowadays European “politicians are naming him specifically in their rationalizations for cozying up to Russia. Commentators are mocking what they see as Mr. Obama’s boundless caution,” the journalist added.
This dramatic shift in European rhetoric took place some two weeks ago when Angela Merkel’s former chief of staff Ronald Pofalla chastised the US president for antagonizing Moscow. “It wasn’t clever of Barack Obama to have downgraded Russia, in connection with the Ukraine conflict, to the level of a regional power,” the journalist quoted Pofalla as saying.
The remark could have gone largely unnoticed if other influential European politicians did not make statements echoing this sentiment. Last week, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy underscored that unlike Obama he viewed Russia as a “global power, not a regional one.”
“The US president is getting openly dissed,” Vinocur wrote.
A brief look at European media outlets provides similar picture. For instance, in late October, Berlin-based Tagesspiegel called Obama a man “no longer feared in the Middle East” in an article titled “Indecisive and Half-Hearted.”
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