By A.A. Gill, guest op-ed, New York Times, Nov. 5/6, 2012
[....] There was a feeling that for the first time in a generation there might be a president who was the sort of American Europeans yearned to love. He seemed to have a very European perspective: his non-establishment background, his cadence, the liberality all promised to be one-worldy. After George W. Bush — possibly the most unpopular president since Richard M. Nixon — he was the fresh air from the West that everybody craved. He would be the leader of the free world that the free world could respect in difficult times.
Then it happened. It, meaning nothing. The first thing that didn’t happen was [....]
All that was galling, but what was really insufferable was that Mr. Obama never wrote, he never phoned, he never sent flowers or asked what we’d like, or if we had a beverage preference. He plainly didn’t care about Europe, and he didn’t care to pretend that he cared, which of course would have been the European diplomatic option.
Mr. Obama’s coolness, his inability or unwillingness to project warmth, to compliment those who felt insecure, or for whom a pat on the back or a mention, a mere mention, would mean a great deal, is the most inexplicable snub seen from Europe, where etiquette and insincerity are social skills.
But there is a more fundamental problem between Western Europe and America [....]