Con Coughlin’s story for the London Telegraph is hard to swallow…particularly this fantasy-land blurb about Obama’s working his magic (yes, Coughlin actually said “magic”) over the world’s most despotic rulers:

We have seen Obama work his magic in Latin America, where his offer of a “new beginning” with Cuba took some of the sting out of the rhetoric of such prominent America-haters as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. The new approach has also paid dividends with Russia, which has toned down the militarism that characterized the final years of the Bush administration and is even assisting the Nato-led mission to pacify Afghanistan, rather than impeding it. 

Hmmm…let’s see…this week, the news out of recession-hit Cuba (which they blame on the US embargo) is that they’re running out of toilet paper.  In Venezuela, Chavez is heralding a brand new arms deal with Russia.  And as for Russia’s new “toned down militarism” toward the US, well, Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines were spotted off the US east coast last week.

Magic?  Hardly.

The article continues the Obama love-fest by, almost unbelievably, giving Obama credit for the uprising in Iran, stating:

More dramatically, Obama’s offer to conduct direct negotiations with Iran for the first time in 30 years has had a deeply destabilising effect on the ruling elite.

Perhaps the author is new to the Iran issue or just isn’t quite up to speed on the student democracy movement that has existed for years in Iran.  It is those brave students, demonstrators, bloggers, and democracy activists that deserve the credit….not President Obama who failed to speak about the brutal crackdown for nearly a week for fear of “meddling.”

However, Coughlin’s belief in the infallibility of US presidents appears to end with Obama.  He has a less flattering assessment of former President Bill Clinton’s mission to North Korea, suggesting the trip was less about rescuing two wayward journalists but was more of an effort to make up for his Administration’s failure to stop North Korea becoming a nuclear state in the first place.

The real legacy of Clinton’s policy is that, since Obama entered office, North Korea has tested a nuclear device, fired a long-range missile capable of hitting the US and unnerved American allies in the region by launching multiple short-range missiles. Earlier in the summer, Obama’s national security advisers were so unnerved by Pyongyang’s bellicose antics that they ordered Patriot anti-missile defence batteries to be set up on Hawaii. In addition, North Korea has become one of the world’s leading nuclear proliferators, sharing its technology with other rogue states. 

No wonder, then, that Clinton jumped at the chance to fly to Pyongyang, ostensibly to free the two journalists, but in reality to try to put a stop to the nuclear nightmare his ineffectual negotiating tactics of the 1990s have created.