The UK parliamentary vote demonstrated a striking lack of confidence in Barack Obama and US leadership.
Despite Obama's obsession with giving speeches in Berlin landmarks formerly used by Hitler as photo ops, it appears that he has kinda lost Europe.
Sure, the Euros like him and all. But liking doesn't get you very far if the people are only doing it because they think you're a well-meaning, but incompetent fool.
Niles Gardiner at the UK's The Telegraph points out that Bush's Coalition of the Willing for Iraq "swelled to roughly 40 countries, and was one of the largest military coalitions ever assembled."
Meanwhile Obama's Euro-Syrian coalition consists of... France.
As it stands, President Obama’s proposed military coalition on Syria has a grand total of two members – the US and France. And the French, as we know from Iraq, simply can’t be relied on, and have very limited military capability. It is a truly embarrassing state of affairs when Paris, at best a fair weather friend, is your only partner. John Kerry tried to put a brave face on it at his press conference today, by referring to France “as our oldest ally,” but the fact remains that his administration is looking painfully isolated.
There can be no doubt that David Cameron’s defeat in the House of Commons was a huge blow to President Obama, and has dominated the US news networks this morning. The absence of Britain in any American-led military action significantly weakens Obama’s position on the world stage, and dramatically undercuts the Obama administration. The vote reflected not only a lack of confidence in the Commons in the prime minister’s Syria strategy, it also demonstrated a striking lack of confidence in Barack Obama and US leadership.
The official position on this is to blame Bush, but the reality is that Obama didn't even bother to try and make the case. He didn't appear at the UN. He didn't visit the UK.
Obama just assumed that Cameron would do what he was doing and muscle his country into the war. He was wrong. The UK proved more democratic than the US.
In marked contrast to Obama, President Bush invested a great deal of time and effort in cultivating ties with key US allies, especially Britain. The Special Relationship actually mattered to George W. Bush. For Barack Obama it has been a mere blip on his teleprompter
Obama spent much of his time reaching out Muslim countries in Asia. Meanwhile the UK stepped out for a cigarette.