NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is in DC and President Obama won’t meet with him. Stoltenberg has met with virtually every other head of government in the NATO alliance and completed a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday in Ottawa where they discussed the situation in Ukraine as well as Canada’s proposed expansion of its mission against ISIS into Syria which is to be debated in Canada’s House of Commons tomorrow. Although Stoltenberg requested a meeting with Obama, the White House did not reply. Instead, Stoltenberg had to settle for a sit down with new Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
I guess Obama is too busy vilifying Israel to spare a few a minutes with Stoltenberg. The former Norwegian Prime Minister took office in October.
I’m really surprised conservatives haven’t made more of it although I suspect this will soon be remedied. Obama’s disinterest in meeting with Stoltenberg undermines the most important military alliance in the world. But given the way Obama treats his friends I don’t think we should be too surprised by this kind of behavior. It is nevertheless alarming given Russia’s belligerence. Aside from their actions in Crimea and Ukraine, they have threatened Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system, flown over the Baltic Sea with their transponders turned off and have questioned Britain’s claim to the Falkland Islands by sending Argentina a dozen long range bombers. Needless to say, all of this has Stoltenberg’s undivided attention. Surely this also warrants President Obama’s attention.
But Obama’s most important foreign policy priority is obtaining a nuclear deal with Iran and given Russia’s role in the P5 +1 not to mention its role in Iran’s nuclear program, Obama isn’t about to seek a confrontation with Russia and if he can avoid that confrontation by ignoring NATO’s Secretary General then so be it. But Obama has once again rewarded America’s enemies and punished its friends.