They [liberals] see history as moving inevitably and beneficially to the left and bemoan American alliances with what they see as retrograde right-wing regimes.

They want us to look more favorably on those like Chavez and Fidel Castro, who claim they are helping the poor. Somehow it is seen as progressive to cuddle up to those who attack America and to scorn those who have shown their friendship and common values over many years.

And so Obama, the object of so much adulation in Western Europe, seems to have had only the coolest of relations with its leaders. The candidate who spoke in Berlin is now the president with no sympathy for the leaders of peoples freed when the wall fell. They are seen as impediments to his goal of propitiating Vladimir Putin’s Russia, where Joseph Stalin is now an honored hero. ~Michael Barone

At the risk of repeating myself, Republican critics such as Barone long ago exhausted whatever credibility they may have had on this subject. It may not concern them that they are engaged in a sustained campaign of lying and misrepresentation, but I don’t think this persistent dishonesty can be pointed out often enough. When Barone says that Obama’s postponed trip to Indonesia and Australia signifies something larger about his approach to foreign policy, he is at best being insufferably dense. When he says that “liberals” want Washington to look more favorably on Chavez and Castro, that is pretty clearly a lie and a conflation of the administration with a very few far-left sympathizers of these regimes.

Barone badly misrepresents Obama’s approach to eastern Europe and Russia. He has no evidence that Obama has no “sympathy” for eastern European leaders, and Barone does not acknowledge that Washington is pressing ahead with a missile defense project in Romania and may soon be reaching an agreement with Bulgaria about the same thing. There is no evidence that Obama has any interest in “propitiating Putin.” If he had, he would not have sent Biden to Tbilisi last summer for a visit where he was very warmly received and where Biden noted that Georgia was one of the highest per capita recipients of U.S. foreign aid, which is an arrangement that continues under the new administration. Biden should know, since he was one of the leading advocates for providing that aid. It was Georgia’s reckless, increasingly authoritarian president who launched his revolution against Shevardnadze in front of a statue of Stalin, and it was his wife who once enthused that Saakashvili was like another Beria. Of course, Stalin is revered as a national hero in Georgia far more than anywhere else, but what does that tell us? Barone has nothing to say about the quality of this allied Georgian government, but he is able to include a lie that Obama has offered no support for Georgia.