There is something fundamentally wrong about the way the United States views the rest of the world and interacts with it. I would cite two incidents from the past week:  In a Tuesday press conference at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama fielded a series of questions on the US economy’s impending “double dip recession” and other domestic issues, leaving Merkel standing by and looking completely useless.  I have never quite understood why the American President somehow believes that a press conference to introduce a visiting head of state is an appropriate forum for questions totally unrelated to the bilateral relationship or the visitor.  It smacks of an arrogance that is completely unrestrained by either common sense or civility.

On Friday Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California led a delegation from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. During an hour and 40 minute meeting, Rohrabacher informed al Maliki that his committee is investigating the killing by Iraqi troops of 35 Iranian dissidents in April. Rohrabacher called it a likely crime against humanity. Rohrabacher also asked Iraq to repay some of the costs of the 2003 US invasion and the subsequent occupation. An Iraqi government spokesman responded that Iraq would pay not “a cent” and the Foreign Ministry then demanded that the delegation leave Iraq.    The Iranians in question are members of the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian terrorist group that found shelter in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  It has been listed as a terrorist organization by the US government for the past ten years and has been implicated in the killing of Americans.

It seems that Rohrabacher and some fellow wingnuts to include Ileana Ros Lehtinen, the committee chairman, have a soft spot in their hearts for MEK because it is an enemy of the Mullah regime in Tehran.  They have tried a number of times to get it delisted as a terrorist organization.  Not coincidentally, the congressmen who are fond of MEK are also passionate supporters of Israel.  My enemy’s enemy…

The point is that Rohrabacher and Obama fail to be guided by the Bobby Burns dictum to see ourselves as others see us.  What Iraqis, whose country was invaded and in large part destroyed by the US, see is an arrogant and ignorant moron wrapped in congressional hubris who has done grave damage to them and is now asking that they should pay for it and even be indicted for war crimes when so many American crimes went unpunished.  Germans watching the Obama-Merkel performance will understand that the US President was speaking to a media crowd that is so poorly informed and self-absorbed that they could not even come up with any decent questions for a respected and important visitor.