We were told that President Obama was going to be strengthening our international alliances after the damage done by President Bush. So far, not so much. Most recently, Obama decided to pay the British a gratuitous insult:
A bust of the former prime minister once voted the greatest Briton in history, which was loaned to George W Bush from the Government’s art collection after the September 11 attacks, has now been formally handed back.
The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush’s tenure. But when British officials offered to let Mr Obama to hang onto the bust for a further four years, the White House said: “Thanks, but no thanks.” . . .
The rejection of the bust has left some British officials nervously reading the runes to see how much influence the UK can wield with the new regime in Washington.
(Via the Corner.)
The decorating of the Oval Office is a matter of pure symbolism. Unencumbered by any practical significance, the rejection of the bust cannot be seen as anything but an insult. To insult the UK so, at a time when we are depending on them to intensify their efforts in Afghanistan, is profoundly unwise. This is another unforced error by President Obama.