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Europeans are beginning to wonder if Obama still loves them.

5:00 PM, Feb 10, 2010 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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Bad enough (for Europe) that President Obama decided to skip the EU summit in Madrid this May, but making matters worse is that Spanish prime minister Jose Luís Zapatero was already in Washington and was unable to meet with the president. In fact, he wasn't even able to meet with Joe Biden. The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl noticed this and more in his recent op-ed, "Diplomacy of retreat?"

"It's not just Zapatero who has trouble gaining traction in this White House," writes Diehl. "Unlike most of his predecessors, Obama has not forged close ties with any European leader. Britain's Brown, France's Sarkozy and Germany's Merkel have each, in turn, felt snubbed by him. Relations between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are tense at best. George W. Bush used to hold regular videoconferences with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Obama has spoken to them on only a handful of occasions."

A friend of mine, a European diplomat, expressed similar concerns to me just yesterday. "Is that it?" he asked regarding Obama's six visits to Europe last year. He also didn't seem impressed by the president's State of the Union address and not just because so few lines were devoted to international issues. "Does it really work," he asked, "when the president gets up there and talks like a teacher to his students, telling them to do this and that?" He added, "This would never work in Europe." I told him it didn't work here either.

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