By Freddy Gray
Saturday, 19 January 2013
LONDON – On Monday, as Barack Obama is sworn in again as President, his allies in the West will ask themselves the same nervous question they posed four years ago: how much does he care about us?
The British, in particular, are worried. War looms in Mali, yet Washington seems happy to let the French take charge, showing even less interest than it did in Libya two years ago. Cheerleaders for the ‘special relationship’ accuse Obama of taking a back seat, of failing to show leadership and even of betraying his country’s oldest friends. They look back to that much-discussed episode when the new President removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and point out that he has steadily sought to disentangle America from its strategic partnerships with Europe ever since. Now, the man who once committed 30,000 more troops to the allied fight against the Taleban is planning to withdraw almost all American troops from Afghanistan before the end of next year. Is the President an isolationist? Is he anti-West?