Topics: Barack Obama

Britain's Syria vote not its first Obama rejection

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Beltway Confidential,Barack Obama,United Kingdom,Syria,Ashe Schow

Britain's House of Commons handed President Obama a big embarrassment Thursday by refusing to endorse joint military action with the U.S. against Syria.

But nobody in the White House should have been surprised, since Obama's relationship with America's closest ally has often been tenuous at best.

Obama first miffed British officials in February 2009, shortly after the president's inauguration, when he decided to make the Oval Office his own by removing the bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The bust was loaned to America after the September 11, 2001, attacks. "The rejection of the bust has left some British officials nervously reading the runes to see how much influence the UK can wield with the new regime in Washington," the Telegraph reported at the time.

The British weren't too keen, either, on Obama's failure to accord the proper pomp and circumstance to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's March 2009 state visit. It was noted on Fleet Street that "Obama aides seemed unfamiliar with the expectations that surround a major visit by a British prime minister."

Then there were those "gifts" Obama gave Brown and the Queen (DVDs that didn't work in U.K. players and an iPod full of Obama speeches, respectively).

The DVDs, according to the Telegraph, "could have been bought from any High Street store, looked like the kind of thing the White House might hand out to the visiting head of a minor African state." Ouch.

Then in May 2011, Obama "deeply offended" British scientists by not accepting an award for furthering scientific research in the U.S.

Britain also rejected Obama's purposeful categorization of the Falkland Islands as "the Maldives" in June 2012. Obama was supposed to say "Malvinas," which is what the Argentine government calls the islands, even though they are a British possession. "This is a position that Britain views as completely unacceptable, and with good reason," wrote the Telegraph.

It should be remembered that nearly 450 British troops have died in the war in Afghanistan. Add that fact to Obama's snubs and it's a little easier to put that vote in Parliament in context.

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