An e-mail from a critic:
I see Obama taking us back to the skillful diplomacy of Nixon-Reagan-HW where the language was mannered, nuanced, inferential, and dare we say not totally sincere and you seem to see him being as ham-handed and grotesquely blunt as W-Cheney-Rumsfeld and the rest of the Kristol-imperials, but with a dangerous viewpoint. Fact is the cowboy rhetoric didn’t get us anything we needed. The countries who agreed with our policies and plans were already on board and the others recoiled from the insults. “American fries”, the tired libel of French bravery, and massaging Merkel’s shoulders all had downstream negative effects that even W should have been able to understand. Public respect for other nations is mandatory. But then, too many people obviously enjoyed being crude and rude and too many applauded them and I can’t, for the life of me, understand why.
I’d do a deal with your reader: on the day Obama says anything as nuanced and inferential as “evil empire” or “Mr Gorbachev, tear down that wall”, we will all stop to criticize his diplomatic style.
This whole thing of liberals trying to beat up living conservatives with dead ones is becoming really ridiculous.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t recall the Bush Administration pushing the “American fries” or the libel of French bravery. As for Bush giving Merkel a shoulder massage, yeah that may have been a social grace faux paux but it didn’t have any effect diplomatically.