Michael Barone

Barack Obama's decision to postpone his trip to Indonesia and Australia -- to a democracy with the world's largest Muslim population and to the only nation that has fought alongside us in all the wars of the last century -- is of a piece with his foreign policy generally: attack America's friends and kowtow to our enemies.

Examples run from Britain to Israel. Early in his administration, Obama returned a bust of Churchill that the British government had loaned the White House after 9/11. Then Obama gave Prime Minister Gordon Brown a set of DVDs that don't work on British machines and that Brown, who has impaired vision, would have trouble watching anyway.

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More recently, Obama summoned Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, permitted no photographs, laid down non-negotiable demands and went off to dinner.

Some may attribute these slights to biases inherited from the men who supplied the titles of Obama's two books. Perhaps like Barack Obama Sr., he regards the British as evil colonialists. Or perhaps like his preacher for 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he regards Israel as an evil oppressor.

But the list of American friends Obama has slighted is long. It includes Poland and the Czech Republic (anti-missile program cancelled), Honduras (backing the constitutionally ousted president), Georgia (no support against Russia), and Colombia and South Korea (no action on pending free trade agreements).

In the meantime, Obama sends yearly greetings to (as he puts it) the Islamic Republic of Iran, exchanges friendly greetings with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, caves to Russian demands on arms control and sends a new ambassador to Syria.

What we're seeing, I think, is a president who shares a view, long held by some on the American left, that the real danger to America often comes from America's allies.

This attitude goes back to Gen. Joseph Stilwell's feud against China's Chiang Kai-shek in World War II. As Barbara Tuchman writes in her definitive biography, Stilwell thought Chiang was undercutting the U.S. by not fighting hard enough against the Japanese. He may have shared the view common among some "old China hands" -- diplomats and journalists like Edgar Snow -- that the Chinese communists were preferable.

After China fell to the communists, the old China hands got a fair share of the blame, and liberals who opposed military support of Chiang were vilified. This lesson was not forgotten.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM