This foreign news segment has gone viral and frankly it is pretty embarrassing. If you wonder why other countries view us as insincere and artificial, just listen to these clips of President Obama complimenting a series of “little countries” for “punching above their weight.” It is insulting on so many levels but Obama appears entirely clueless.
The collection of clips is the work of Thomas Buch-Andersen, host of the Danish TV show Detektor. He begins with Obama’s statement with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark “That’s fairly typical of the way that Danes have punched above their weight in international affairs.” It appears a metaphor the President cannot seem to let go — at least with “little countries.” This may silence those who want the President to forego the use of teleprompters. If this is his ad lib, we need to move back to the scripted material.
The segment then moves on to Obama’s equally ham-handed treatment of valued ally comments. Truly painful to watch.
What is particularly insulting is that these statements to a litany of countries conveys a type of pat on the head for a little guy who acts like he belongs in our class. While they appear to “punch above their class,” we have mastered the back-handed compliment in return. These comments make us look not simply moronic but arrogantly moronic. It may come as a bit of a surprise that countries like Denmark (that has been engaging in diplomacy since the pre-Roman Iron Age of 500 BC – 1 AD) are really not looking for an “Attaboy!” from the United States. In the late Middle Ages (before a single pilgrim saw a single rock at Plymouth), little Denmark controlled it own slice of Estonia as well as much of Germany and the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.
It appears that the video below is our vision of diplomatic relations with most of the world: