As the World Turns

The president has landed in London to face a small, dedicated group of protesters, a desperate prime minister, a bemused queen, the smug Chinese and the puppet of Putin.

He left America the day after he fired GM’s CEO, Rick Wagoner. It used to be said that what was good for GM was good for America. Clearly, what is good for GM’s former CEO was not good for the president.

After the president wows the British with his bare-armed bride, he will jet off to the continent to convince the Germans and the French to spend more money. Talk about a role reversal. The German leadership still remembers what happened during the Weimar Republic, and are none too interested in stoking unfixable inflation. Of course, Mr. Obama has some pull in Berlin, where he wowed them with one of his biggest campaign speeches. But it is unclear what impact that popularity will have on Ms. Merkel.

The president will then travel to Prague, where it is expected that he will get a big round of applause from everybody but the political leaders of the Czech Republic. The presidency of the EU is held by the Czechs, and in his role as president of the European Union (a rotating job), the Czech prime minister opined that the president’s spending plans are surely a pathway to hell (his words).

From Prague, the president travels to Turkey. This is not his official “Muslim” trip, even though Turkey is becoming more Muslim (at least politically). Their version of the Christian right is now firmly in control of the government, and they are gingerly taking steps to take the sex out of secular, and move the country slowly to a more religious orientation.

The president is not going to Turkey to discuss that trend. Instead he will discuss the future of Turkey in the European Union (on their dime) and then discuss, quietly, the future of Kurdistan and Iraqi oil revenue (on his dime). (By the way, that is my guess, not based on any reporting.)

The irony is that with Nicolas Sarkozy (whose wife is quite stunning, actually) and Angela Merkel in control of the heart of the Europe, the French and German actually are pushing policies that are more fiscally responsible and business-friendly than either the government of the U.S. or the U.K.

The president is leaving behind him a disgruntled group of American capitalists, a heaving mass of angry populists and a Congress that is trying to make sense out of his senseless budget. And so it goes, as the world turns on the eve of April Fools’ Day.


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