WASHINGTON -- What is it like to be a foreign ally of Barack Obama's America?
If you're a Brit, your head is spinning. It's not just the personal slights to Prime Minister Gordon Brown -- the ridiculous 25-DVD gift, the five refusals before Brown was granted a one-on-one with The One.
Nor is it just the symbolism of Obama returning the Churchill bust that was in the Oval Office. Query: If it absolutely had to be out of Obama's sight, could it not have been housed somewhere else on U.S. soil rather than ostentatiously repatriated?
Perhaps it was the State Department official who last year denied there even was a special relationship between the U.S. and Britain, a relationship cultivated by every U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt.
And then there was Hillary Clinton's astonishing, nearly unreported (in the U.S.) performance in Argentina last month. She called for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over the Falklands.
For those who know no history -- or who believe that it began on Jan. 20, 2009 -- and therefore don't know why this was an out-of-the-blue slap at Britain, here's the back story:
In 1982, Argentina's military junta invaded the (British) Falkland Islands. The generals thought the British, having long lost their taste for foreign lands, would let it pass. Besides, the Falklands have uncountably more sheep than people. They underestimated Margaret Thatcher (the Argentines, that is, not the sheep). She was not about to permit the conquest of a people whose political allegiance and ethnic ties are to Britain. She dispatched the navy. Britannia took it back.
Afterward, neither Thatcher nor her successors have countenanced negotiations. Britain doesn't covet foreign dominion and has no shortage of sheep. But it does believe in self-determination, and will negotiate nothing until and unless the Falkland Islanders indicate their desire to be ruled by a chronically unstable, endemically corrupt polity with a rich history of dictatorship, economic mismanagement and the occasional political lunacy (see: the Evita cult).
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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