The highlight of my recent trip to Great Britain? Without question,
it was visiting Margaret Thatcher. The former prime minister, whose wise
leadership restored her country to greatness, played an indispensable
role in helping the West win the Cold War. Her staunch commitment to
conservative principles never fails to inspire.
While I was in Britain, David Cameron, the current prime minister,
was in the United States on an official visit with President Obama. At
least, I think it was an official visit. From their much-publicized
attendance at an NCAA basketball game to the gushing praise Cameron
lavished on his host at every turn, it played more like an extended
Cameron spoke at length about his predecessor Winston Churchill, but
never even mentioned Lady Thatcher. The leader of Britain's
Conservative party only had eyes for Obama. He lauded the president's
"strength, moral authority and wisdom" and his "spectacular command of
our shared language." Name a world hotspot: Obama has pursued the
smartest policy -- to hear the starry-eyed prime minister tell it.
Indeed, according to Cameron, the president "has pressed the reset
button on the moral authority of the entire free world." Compliments
during an official visit are expected. But this was so over the top that
even liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank found it a bit
much. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was derided as President George
W. Bush's "poodle," Milbank reminded readers, and now "a similar dynamic
is developing. This time, Cameron seems to be serving as Obama's guard
dog, defending his American master against the Mitt Romneys and the Rick
Santora." The prime minister had become a "campaign-year prop."
Of greater concern is the harm that Cameron's obsequiousness is
inflicting on the role that the U.S.-British partnership plays in the
world. Because if President Obama has hit the reset button on anything,
it's the "special relationship," that unique alliance between two
nations that has done so much to protect and preserve freedom globally
over the last century. And he should be called on it.
"A basketball trip to Ohio and a bells and whistles state dinner do
not erase a track record of major insults by the Obama administration
since it took office," Nile Gardiner, director of The Heritage
Foundation's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, writes in the London
Telegraph. Those insults include:
Taking Argentina's side in the dispute over the Falkland Islands.
More than 250 British soldiers gave their lives to liberate the
Falklands after Argentina invaded in 1982. President Reagan strongly
backed the actions of our British ally. But today we have administration
officials supporting Argentina's call for U.N.-brokered negotiations
over the sovereignty of the Falklands, whose inhabitants are over 90
Touting France as America's closest ally. At a 2011 press
conference, President Obama said, "We don't have a stronger friend and
stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy and the French people." Yes, Sarkozy
is more pro-American than his predecessors, and he deserves credit for
that. But to vault him and his country to the top of the list of U.S.
allies? That's absurd -- and a slap in the face to Britain.
Treating Britain as simply another member of the European Union.
Under President Obama, Washington has frequently airbrushed Britain out
of major speeches on Europe. It has also undercut British national
sovereignty across the Atlantic by urging the creation of a federal
Europe and supporting the centralization of power in the EU. Vice
President Joe Biden has even ludicrously declared Brussels the "capital
of the free world."
There are many other examples, both large and small, and all lead to
a disturbing conclusion: the Obama administration seems determined to
demote America's foremost ally. Worse, David Cameron has been only too
happy to play along despite the insults.What a depressing and dangerous
change from the days of Reagan and Thatcher. Sounds like it's time
someone hit that "reset button" again.
Ed Feulner is president of The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org).