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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Heather Conley
With European outrage over American surveillance reaching the boiling point, the White House on Monday recast the U.S. as the defender of not only its own security interests but also those of other nations across the globe.
There might be a worse time for President Obama to leave the U.S., or a worse destination for him than Russia, but at the moment it's hard to imagine an uglier combination of circumstances for presidential travel.
As President Obama prepares to host the NATO and Group of Eight international summits this weekend, there are increasing signs that the world is brushing him aside.
As President Obama prepares to play host to a doubleheader of global diplomacy at the Group of Eight and NATO summits this weekend, there are increasing signs that the world is tuning out his message.
In a rare global summit where the U.S. leader is not the center of attention, President Obama leaves Wednesday evening for the Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France, with a diminished international presence and an economic-growth message being drowned out by the scramble to deal with Europe's unresolved debt crisis.
Weaving together strands of pomp, policy and summitry, President Barack Obama's weeklong European tour is all about tending to old friends in the Western alliance and securing their help with daunting challenges, from the political upheaval in the Mideast and North Africa to the protracted war in Afghanistan.
The fervent belief of the early Obama days — punctuated by a Nobel Peace Prize — that President Obama ushered in a new U.S. foreign policy era that Europeans would welcome has given way to growing concern over the U.S.-supported NATO campaign in Libya and questions over the pace of troop withdrawal in Afghanistan.
This week, she added, "is going to be critical.
"It's death by 1,000 cuts. Every week we get something else and it keeps going," said Heather Conley, senior fellow and director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The status quo here hasn't been acceptable for a while and it can no longer be acceptable as these revelations get bigger and more personal. There has been an erosion of credibility."