The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s “All-Stars.”

On the G-20 summit:

This is a test of the proposition that Obama had run on last year, that the source of our difficulties abroad, the source of anti-Americanism, of dissension among our allies and the alleged isolation of the United States was George Bush.

And Obama was not Bush, and he was going to be a new figure, a transcendent, multi-cultural, attractive, young, new American leader who would rally the world.

Well, we have a test. He’s going to Europe. He’s not even asking the allies for an increase in troops in Afghanistan, which we desperately need, because he’s going to get a no.

He wants a stimulus in Europe. He’s not even asking because he’s not going to get it. The Germans and the French are against it for historical reasons and economic reasons, and the power of personal diplomacy that Obama ran on and pretends he has doesn’t exist. It’s all about national interests.

And then on the issue of Iran, he is not going to get anything. In fact, he is not even going to get assistance from the Russians, to whom he essentially offered new influence over Eastern Europe in return.

The bottom line is that personal diplomacy is a nice idea. It amounts to nothing. Nations act on their national interests. And he is weak in Europe because we don’t have a lot of cards to play in this economic crisis.

On Obama’s plans for GM and Chrysler:

This is industrial policy at its best and worst. You pick winners and losers. Chrysler was tossed aside. It is not going to get any help. It either lives as a piece of Fiat or it dies. And GM will live.

And Nina is right. It is now owned by Obama. When you watch the new CEO Henderson, he knows who his boss is. It’s not the shareholders, it’s not the board new or old. It’s Obama.

When you see it with the constitutionality, it is really odd, bizarre for the president of the United States to stand up there and to tell you he is going to guarantee your muffler. This is a real stretch.

But we are so far down the road of government control, and particularly with autos, it’s not going to be reversed. The only question here is will it succeed? And it will succeed only if the union contracts are rewritten.

And the question is, is Obama going to push the unions on a prepackaged bankruptcy, which I suspect he won’t, or, in the end, is he going to let it go all the way to a judge who will tear up all of those contracts and redo them? Does Obama have the political strength to go against his unions in allowing a Chapter 11 liquidation?

I don’t know what the answer is, but I think it will determine the course of his presidency.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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