Michael Cohen, writing in the Politico, cites poll data indicating that Democrats have shed their "Blame America First" label. However, this passage cannot stand (or at least, I cannot stand it):
The greatest irony of the conservative response to the Nobel Committee’s honor is that it is a clear indication that there is a global thirsting for American leadership and engagement. Conservatives should be delighted by what is basically a European call for American leadership; yet the response has been to treat it as a mark of shame for Obama.
Mr. Cohen retreats from "global thirsting" to "basically a European call" within one paragraph. Given more space he might have arrived at the truth - the Nobel Peace Prize was a call by some European leftists for Obama to be more like them. They have no interest in American leadership - they want American followership on global warming, engagement over confrontation with our enemies, and a host of other issues. And they will probably get it.
As to that "global" thirst for American leadership, the story of US aid to Pakistan is instructive. In September, the Times reported that Team Obama had lots of grand ideas for the new American aid package to Pakistan. This aid always comes with a bit of tension - Pakistan has more than its share of graft and corruption and its military is hostile to India. However, after much study the State Department had a vision:
After a recent visit to Islamabad, the deputy secretary for management and resources at the State Department, Jacob J. Lew, expressed anxiety about how to ensure that the aid money was spent properly, saying he was concerned that “the money needed to go to the purposes for which it was intended.”
“We had to choose a method of funding that was most likely to produce results efficiently and effectively,” he said Sept. 11 at a briefing at the State Department.
Mr. Lew’s suggestions of inappropriate spending by the Pakistanis caused such a furor among government officials that the American ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, issued an unusual public statement on Wednesday intended to reassure the Pakistanis that the United States was “not depriving the Pakistani government any degree of direct funding as a result of lack of confidence or trust.”
Unlike previous no-strings aid packages, Kerry-Lugar makes support conditional on Pakistan's military being subordinated to its elected government, and taking action against militants sheltering on its soil. But by dangling the prospect of a desperately needed aid package on terms deemed intrusive by the military and opposition parties, the legislation may be weakening the very civilian government it hoped to bolster.
The furor over the aid package has left President Asif Ali Zardari increasingly isolated as normally fractious opposition parties unite against its "humiliating" conditions, with even the junior partners in Zardari's ruling coalition expressing misgivings. Public opinion ranges from suspicion to hostility, and the army high command broke with its recent habit of remaining quiet on political matters to issue an ominous statement.
In an effort to slake the Pakistani thirst for American leadership Team Obama nearly drowned the Pakistani civilian government - Heckuva job!
The latest wrinkle is that Pakistan's Foreign Minister is in Washington and has apparently persuaded John Kerry and Obama Administration officials to attach what could be described as a Congressional signing statement to the bill:
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was in Washington last week applauding the $7.5 billion aid plan, was back on Capitol Hill on Tuesday after his country's military protested against the bill. It ties some funds to fighting militants and is seen by critics as violating sovereignty.
...U.S. lawmakers, while sympathetic to delicate Pakistani politics, made clear conditions attached to the aid, which still has to be appropriated by Congress, could not be eased.
But Senator John Kerry, one of the authors of the bill, said an attempt would be made in the next 24 hours to clarify in writing some of the terms that he described as not having been characterized accurately "in some quarters."
"The bill doesn't have to be changed," Kerry said after meeting Qureshi. "If there is a misinterpretation, it simply has to be clarified."
Aides said lawmakers would issue a "joint explanatory statement" on Wednesday laying out what was in the bill.
So Congress won't change the bill, they will just write a supplement to tell the rest of us non-psychics what it really means.
Of course, none of this would be a problem if we were providing aid to Norway.