The highlight of my recent trip to Great Britain? Without question, it was visiting Margaret Thatcher. The former prime minister, whose wise leadership restored her country to greatness, played an indispensable role in helping the West win the Cold War. Her staunch commitment to conservative principles never fails to inspire.
While I was in Britain, David Cameron, the current prime minister, was in the United States on an official visit with President Obama - at least, I think it was an official visit. From their much-publicized attendance at an NCAA basketball game to the gushing praise Mr. Cameron lavished on his host at every turn, it played more like an extended campaign ad.
Mr. Cameron spoke at length about his predecessor Winston Churchill but never mentioned Lady Thatcher. The leader of Britain’s Conservative Party only had eyes for Mr. Obama. He lauded the president’s “strength, moral authority and wisdom” and his “spectacular command of our shared language.” Name a world hot spot: Mr. Obama has pursued the smartest policy - to hear the starry-eyed prime minister tell it.
Indeed, according to Mr. Cameron, the president “has pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world.”
Compliments during an official visit are expected. But this was so over the top that even liberal WashingtonPost columnist Dana Milbank found it a bit much. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was derided as President George W. Bush’s “poodle,” Mr. Milbank reminded readers, and now “a similar dynamic is developing. This time, Cameron seems to be serving as Obama’s guard dog, defending his American master against the Mitt Romneys and the Rick Santora.” The prime minister had become a “campaign-year prop.”
Of greater concern is the harm Mr. Cameron’s obsequiousness is inflicting on the role the U.S.-British partnership plays in the world. Because if Mr. Obama has hit the reset button on anything, it’s the “special relationship,” that unique alliance between two nations that has done so much to protect and preserve freedom globally over the past century. He should be called on it.
“A basketball trip to Ohio and a bells-and-whistles state dinner do not erase a track record of major insults by the Obama administration since it took office,” writes Nile Gardiner, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, in the London Telegraph. Those insults include:
c Taking Argentina’s side in the dispute over the Falkland Islands. More than 250 British soldiers gave their lives to liberate the Falklands after Argentina invaded in 1982. President Reagan strongly backed the actions of our British ally. But today we have administration officials supporting Argentina’s call for U.N.-brokered negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands, whose inhabitants are more than 90 percent British.
c Touting France as America’s closest ally. At a 2011 press conference, Mr. Obama said, “We don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy and the French people.” Yes, Mr. Sarkozy is more pro-American than his predecessors, and he deserves credit for that. But to vault him and his country to the top of the list of U.S. allies? That’s absurd - and a slap in the face to Britain.
c Treating Britain as simply another member of the European Union. Under President Obama, Washington frequently has airbrushed Britain out of major speeches on Europe. It also has undercut British national sovereignty across the Atlantic by urging the creation of a federal Europe and supporting the centralization of power in the EU. Vice President Joseph R. Biden even has ludicrously declared Brussels the “capital of the free world.”
There are many other examples, both large and small, and all lead to a disturbing conclusion: The Obama administration seems determined to demote America’s foremost ally. Worse, David Cameron has been only too happy to play along despite the insults.
What a depressing and dangerous change from the days of Reagan and Mrs. Thatcher. Sounds like it’s time someone hit that “reset button” again.
Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in The Washington Times