Who told Obama to go to Copenhagen?

Denmark is a lovely country and Air Force One is a very nice plane, so I hope Barack and Michelle enjoyed their little jaunt to Copenhagen. I said it was a mistake for Obama to go shilling for the City of Chicago even before we knew the results, and now of course I’m sure of ...

Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Stephen M. Walt
By , a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
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580007_091002_walt2b2.jpg

Denmark is a lovely country and Air Force One is a very nice plane, so I hope Barack and Michelle enjoyed their little jaunt to Copenhagen. I said it was a mistake for Obama to go shilling for the City of Chicago even before we knew the results, and now of course I'm sure of it.

What I'd really like to know is which one of his aides told him that this was a good idea, and convinced him that his involvement would seal the deal.  Sending the President across the Atlantic to lobby in this fashion might make sense if you knew the vote would be close and were very confident that his intervention would be decisive, but it now looks like it wasn't a near thing at all. Don't these people know how to count noses in advance?  Chicago's bid got rejected in the first round, leaving the Leader of the Free World looking ineffectual. And that's just about the last thing you want a president to seem.

Denmark is a lovely country and Air Force One is a very nice plane, so I hope Barack and Michelle enjoyed their little jaunt to Copenhagen. I said it was a mistake for Obama to go shilling for the City of Chicago even before we knew the results, and now of course I’m sure of it.

What I’d really like to know is which one of his aides told him that this was a good idea, and convinced him that his involvement would seal the deal.  Sending the President across the Atlantic to lobby in this fashion might make sense if you knew the vote would be close and were very confident that his intervention would be decisive, but it now looks like it wasn’t a near thing at all. Don’t these people know how to count noses in advance?  Chicago’s bid got rejected in the first round, leaving the Leader of the Free World looking ineffectual. And that’s just about the last thing you want a president to seem.

It’s not a huge deal — though you can count on the right-wing smear machine to be all over it — but I hope somebody at the White House gets taken to the woodshed on this one. As I’ve said repeatedly, they are trying to do way too much, and have been forced to use Obama for too many small things. I hope they learn a lesson from this, and I sure hope the president does better with his next overseas sales pitch.

OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. Twitter: @stephenwalt

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