Nevertheless, job one on the G-8’s economic agenda was a trade agreement between the United States and the 27-nation European Union. Yet, over the course of Mr. Obama’s presidency, he’s shown his political devotion to the AFL-CIO by giving the cold shoulder to new trade deals. Certainly, he gave the trade issue lip-service Monday, but don’t look for any real leadership on that score.
There was little or no serious expectations that Mr. Obama was going to lead America’s European allies on the thorny foreign policy and military conflicts in Syria or Iran. He had diddled and delayed over the civil war in Syria while Mr. Assad killed an estimated 93,000 Syrians in the past two years in an attempt to quell the rebellion.
Now, in the eleventh hour, shortly before the G-8 powers met, he meekly decided to give the rebels some light arms and other benign assistance — hardly a match for Mr. Assad’s vaunted air power and, we now know, his large supply of chemical weapons.
Mr. Obama came to the meeting hoping to produce a break in the unending Syrian conflict, but after an unproductive, two-hour meeting with Vladimir Putin, Syria’s chief arms supplier and ally, the icy Russian president made it clear he wasn’t interested. “Our opinions do not coincide,” Mr. Putin said.
Neither was there any hint of a breakthrough between the United States and Hasan Rowhani, the newly elected Iranian president who is touted as “a moderate” reformer, but not on the issue of its nuclear-enrichment program and its ongoing development of nuclear weapons that threaten Israel.
When elected, Mr. Obama made a dubious pledge to sit down and negotiate with Iranian leaders over the long-standing nuclear impasse, but that’s not going to happen, Mr. Rowhani indicated this week.
“All should know that the next government will not budge defending our inalienable rights,” he said defiantly in Tehran on Monday. So much for this so-called reformer.
Mr. Obama’s road trip may have gotten him away from his troubles here at home for a few days, but they’ll be waiting for him with a vengeance when he returns.
As for the early reviews of his European tour, let’s just say they weren’t anything to write home about.
Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.