During his long, rambling, and largely incoherent diatribe Wednesday in front of the United Nations General Assembly Muammar Gadaffi made one point starkly clear. He loves President Obama.
Thrown in between referrals to the Security Council as a “Terror Council” and demands of renewed investigations into the assassination of JFK, Gaddafi found time in the 95 minute rant to call Obama “our son,” and “our Obama.”
The life-long Libyan dictator seemed to wish the president a similarly extended term in office, saying "we are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as the president."
"Leaving aside the amendments to the Constitution that the president agrees with wholeheartedly,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded, “it would be an interesting concept to continue being president beyond one’s natural born life."
Though it was easy for Gibbs to laugh off Gaddafi’s comments, they are only the most visible in a recent string of unwanted praise and adoration directed at the president from dictators in backwaters around the world.
Fidel Castro joined the fold after Obama’s speech on climate change before the General Assembly on Tuesday. "It would only be fair to recognize that no other United States president would have had the courage to say what he said," Castro wrote in an editorial Tuesday.
Courage, however, is not the word of choice being employed by commentators in democracies around the world after Obama’s speech, in which he made firm criticisms of Israel, saying, “We continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israel settlements.”
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out in support of Obama’s speech, calling it “positive,” many Israeli commentators did not share Netanyahu’s opinion.
"The president of the United States wants to force upon Israel a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders, which Netanyahu was elected to prevent," National Union MK Arye Eldad said. "Netanyahu must take action now to prevent this from happening or he will enter Israel into the trap that Obama is setting and we won’t be able to escape."
Domestic observers see hypocrisy in Obama’s statements as well. “To make absolute statements, particularly when in the past Israel has sort of done everything the Palestinians asked and they still won’t give her peace is to me a counter productive policy,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said.
While vague international praise has never been difficult to come by for Obama, the international community is beginning to show disappointment at the president’s inability to move beyond rhetoric to palpable leadership.
The Jerusalem Post declared, “Everybody is saying no to the American president these days.” The Guardian called the Obama presidency “impotent,” remarking that "the disappointment with Barack Obama is tangible."
Israeli leader Yariv Levin summed up the feelings of many concerned observers when he called the president “mistaken,” saying “Over time Obama will realize that he was wrong. Until then, we are still in the middle of a complicated struggle.”
The president’s one foreign policy victory was to get Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet for a photo-op at Obama’s hotel in New York. No monuments are – so far — planned to be built honoring this event.