Remember last Summer? You can bet that President Obama thinks wistfully of Berlin, his first date with Europe. The chanting throngs, the pre-printed signs, the exquisite view from the Four Seasons hotel. The whole of Europe in a state of masturbatory, pre-climactic glee – gasping for air, anticipating the moment of release on election day. And the even more intense release, the full screaming climax on Inauguration Day… oh, how those moments are bittersweet. Fading, fading, fading is the first time together, the wedding night, and the honeymoon.
The tough work of governance has begun. Like marriage, the day-to-day is not as sexy up close and personal. With Europe starting to nag, Obama best tend to the day-to-day. It is the meat of any relationship. It is the sustenance that gets us through the toughest times. What should be a productive meeting at the G20 meeting in London, followed by productive meetings for the NATO’s 60th anniversary in Strasbourg – where Obama will visit both France and Germany, is becoming a high-tension wire test.
President Obama has led the largest expansion of America’s total federal debt-ceiling, he has proposed a myriad of new regulations on financial institutions, and is calling for UBS & other Swiss banks to disclose the names of their American patrons – so the IRS can gain access to the records in pursuit of tax evaders.
Yet, he isn’t ready to accept that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. He wants foreign countries to lay down and take it. But, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposes a global regulator of the same industry… that is a bridge too far for Obama. What he wants is cool. What anyone else wants? Not so much.
Per Mike Allen @ The Politico:
— The (London) Times, cover: “Sarkozy’s threat to walk out of global summit: Anglo-Saxon gibe strains relations with Obama,” by Charles Bremner/Paris and Philip Webster: “President Sarkozy yesterday threatened to wreck the London summit if France’s demands for tougher financial regulation are not met. France will not accept a G20 that produces a ‘false success with language that sounds good but contains no commitments’, his advisers said. Asked if this meant a possible walkout, Xavier Musca, Mr. Sarkozy’s deputy chief of staff for economic affairs, said: ‘A basic rule with nuclear deterrence is that you do not say at what point you will use the weapon.’ The French threat dramatically raised the temperature hours before President Obama arrives in London today. If carried through, it would ruin a summit for which Mr. Brown and Mr. Obama have high ambitions, believing it vital to international recovery. …
“A deal to tighten regulation will be one of the key features of the G20 accord but France wants a global financial regulator, an idea fiercely opposed by the United States and Britain. Mr. Brown has described the notion as ridiculous. Germany and other nations are reported to be against a global regulator and sources said that President Sarkozy must know that the proposal would not make progress. … British officials said it looked as if Mr. Sarkozy was picking a fight he could present as a victory back home. Mr. Sarkozy’s threat underlines the emerging splits between world leaders. Germany and France have led opposition to plans to co-ordinate public spending, championed by the Administration of President Obama.
Of course the issues are more complex than laid out here. I understand that. But since Obama has botched protocol so willingly – he deserves a tough once-over until he moderates his own behavior. Obama wants, wants, wants things his way. Unfortunately, Europe isn’t on board.
Great Britain does not want more bailout spending. France does not. Germany does not. (Even China is horrified.) They see Obama’s plan as reckless. Funny, European leaders are politically more conservative than the American President. I guess Old Europe isn’t automatically going to put out for the guy who was a great first date, but made a crappy boyfriend.