THE SPINE JULY 20, 2010
In any case, the nations with which Barack Obama seems to think he clicks are not especially respected (or liked) by the people he represents. And these presidentially favored nations don't really seem to respect either him or us.
Basta with the Muslim orbit. Obama wants to run after Recip Tayyit Erdogan let him.
Frankly, I believe that the Anglophobia of the administration is a much over-estimated quantum. By the time you read this, moreover, the president and David Cameron will have had whatever set-to they were destined to have, or not to have. I suspect that our two countries have too much commonly at stake to have much of a brawl. We move on. One of the places to which we move on is Afghanistan, where both the Tories and the previous Labour government have been almost miraculously loyal. Which we weren't when, under Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles, we betrayed both Great Britain and France with the delusion that out future lay with Gamal Abdel Nasser and his delusional "revolutionary" regime in Egypt.
The BP controversy has two aspects to it. One is whether the British government is somehow responsible for the Gulf of Mexico disaster. It is patently not the case. Indeed, the U.S. bears much more culpability for what transpired in the accursed waters simply because it was Obama's department of the interior which had responsibility in approving or disapproving BP's plans, both general and detail-specific. We'd better to look to the habits of petroleum capitalism to evaluate and judge its behavior here, there and everywhere. Do you think that China's oil company in Sudan are exemplary?
So we come to the imbroglio with Libya. Remember that two thirds of the dead in the Pan Am 101 disaster were American citizens. This means that 190 Americans and eighty others were actually murdered by the Libyan regime. A succession of American administrations should have been alert to the machinations of the Qaddafi regime to be cleansed of its sins in exchange for Libyan oil.
British and American oil syndicates negotiated and connived to be the first to be let in. It was only last year that some deal came together. In it was entangled the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, held in a Scottish prison after a special trial for bringing down the jumbo jet. There was some hocus-pocus about al-Megrahi near-death from cancer and some law about mercy for expiring inmates, and this pulled the murderer from the penitentiary where otherwise he would die whenever. Some doctor testified that he had three months to live. He is still living.
I don't mean to be ghoulishly watching for the criminal to die. But the whole business last summer seemed to me to be a deceit. No one gave the dead passengers on 101 any time with their families.
As it happens, the administration made a tiny fuss about this when it occurred. But it was a tiny fuss.
Now that the Senate foreign relations committee is holding hearings on the British government's involvement in this whole sordid enterprise it should also pay some attention to what the Obama-folk knew and did not know, what they did and did not do. Senator Kerry is an extremely capable and honest man. It is up to him.