Jonah, there are two possible explanations for the humiliations inflicted by the Obama Administration on Mr. Brown:
One is that (as several alleged experts have told me) in this area the president genuinely differs from his predecessors. Take that Martin Gilbert biography of Churchill the Prime Minister gave him: I’ll wager Obama will never read a word of it. To him, Sir Winston is not the great wartime leader, the indispensable man in civilization’s darkest hour (1940-41), but the post-war leader responsible for the ruthless suppression of the Mau-Mau rebellion in his father’s Kenya. Churchill is not the way to Obama’s heart.
And, in a broader sense, he has no particular attachment to “the west” – to the transatlantic partnership, the Anglo-American relationship, any of it. As I touched on in NR the other week, to his admirers he represents a cooler post-western “hybridity.” And, given where he chose to spend his entire adult life, that seems entirely likely.
The simpler explanation, which I find more persuasive, is that he’s just too narcissistic: He’s the star and these foreign prime ministers are rather dreary extras. And unfortunately he’s not a good enough actor to conceal his lack of interest in them. And his courtiers take pretty much the same line, which is why it never occurred to them that some no-name Brit would be insulted at not getting the multi-flagged joint presser.
(For what it’s worth, I heard similar reports of the president’s remoteness on his flying visit to Ottawa, where the only person he seemed to get any kind of kick out of was Her Majesty’s vicereine, Michaelle Jean, who happens to be a fine-looking woman, if you’re into leftie babes.)