Obama’s ‘no-schmooze’ diplomacy

June 8, 2011

On the occasion of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official state visit to Washington yesterday, Politico analyzes Obama’s relationships with foreign leaders. Apparently, the one Obama speaks with most often is British prime minister David Cameron. Stephen Harper is not mentioned in the article, Barack Obama’s No Schmooze Diplomacy:

Some excerpts:

More than two years into his term, Obama cuts the image of an all-business envoy, seldom going outside normal business hours to turn on the charm with other heads of state. He appears to have built few deep personal bonds with foreign leaders


“What is so paradoxical is he is multilateralist. His entire conception of diplomacy is the anti-Lone Ranger,” said Aaron David Miller, a Mideast expert with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former adviser to six secretaries of state. “And he is hard-pressed to develop these types of alliances and close personal ties.”

And unlike Clinton, for example, who found an ideological soul mate in Blair, Obama hasn’t discovered a similar match among his foreign counterparts.


Obama talks more often with Cameron than any other world leader — about two dozen times since the prime minister took office in May 2010, including twice to talk about the birth of Cameron’s daughter, according to a POLITICO review of White House public statements and releases.


There’s Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — an unlikely ally whom the administration highlighted, saying they “seem to respect and admire one another.”


Another leader high on the president’s call list is Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who has spoken to or met with Obama more than a dozen times, including three times to talk about the king’s surgery.


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