On the third day of Obamass, it came time to list all the gifts sent his way by foreign leaders... and the foreign gift registry has a list of gifts given to Barry Hussein , his family and his associates by foreign leaders.
He also kicked in a fourteen thousand dollar "necklace made of 33 pearls with a sterling silver pendant" for Michelle Obama. Along with a Ruby and diamond jewelry set. Estimated worth, 132,000 dollars.
The reason given for the acceptance of the gift was "Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government." Though perhaps acceptance of the gifts, and the underlying admission of what it says about the Saudi role in the White House, is more embarrassing than non-acceptance.
Unto Rahm Emanuel, the Saudi tyrant of Mecca gifted silver cufflinks, a watch set and a diamond jewelery set. David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, Jon Favreau, Valerie Jarret, Denis McDonough and James L. Jones all got the same gifts as well. Along with numerous other aides. John Brennan had to make do with a crystal horse in the shape of a clock (or is that the other way around?) from the defense minister of Lebanon. James L. Jones also picked up gifts from the ChiComs, the King of Jordan and the Pakistani president.
And not to leave anyone out of the party the Saudi king also gave the Obama kiddies a few diamond earrings and necklaces. Apparently the only world leader to do so. No word if he got Bo a jeweled bone to gnaw on or not.
From Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, came a "Mother-of-pearl and lapis lazuli gilt bronze box" for Barack Hussein Obama. Russia's Medvedev had clearly gone to the Obama school of gift giving, passing along a wooden CD case and some CD's (hopefully not of his own speeches.) The Honorable Gadzhi Makhachev, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Daghestan in Moscow, Russian Federation, gave Obama the gift of walking all over himself with a, "50″ x 62″ rug with an image of President Obama". Estimated value 1,200 dollars, but I'll make a solid offer of 12 bucks if it's still for sale. After all the snows lately, I could use someplace to dry out my boots.
From Mahmoud Abbas, of the terrorist Palestinian Authority, came the cheapest gift on the list. A bottle of olive oil, valued at 75 dollars. The State Department's aid estimate for 2010 to the PA was 600 million dollars. In 2009 it was almost a billion dollars. And this doesn't count the American contribution to the UNRWA. Or the numerous other ways that money moves from the US into Abbas' coffers. And considering that much of that money really goes into the pockets of the PA leadership, including Abbas, he could have done better than to pack up a bottle of olive oil and ship it to Washington D.C.
Peres, being predictably peace goofy passed along, a "Bronze statue of a girl releasing a flock of doves". Yes, peace, doves. We get it. Expect the statue to be buried far out of sight, only to make an appearance during the election when the big O is trying to appeal to Jewish voters.
Hillary Clinton scored another clock shaped like a horse from the defense minister of Lebanon, which seems to be a common item in Lebanese gift shops, carpets from Iraq, more carpets and jewelery from Pakistan, a silver clock from Qatar, a pearl necklace from Bangaldesh and a photo of herself with the King of Bahrain. Also an unironic painting of a "busy Haitian harbor" from whatever passes for the Haitian government.
Biden, like the rest of the Obama Administration, was fairly popular with the Muslim world, picking up swag from Jordan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon and even Kosovo. But that seems only fair considering how hard Biden has championed an independent Kosovar Muslim terrorist state. Biden aggressively supported Clinton's war against Yugoslavia on behalf of the KLA terrorist organization. And the gift of a framed reproduction of the "Declaration of Independence of Kosovo", which had no legal standing, but was supported anyway, is a perfect gift. A more ethical administration would have rejected such a clearly political gift with its implicit endorsement of the declaration, but there were no such difficulties here.
Frequent gift givers included Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, Turkish Islamists and the Chinese Communist leadership. But the most lavish gift giver was the King of Saudi Arabia, giving gifts not only to the entire Obama family... but to almost a dozen of his staff members. It's almost like he was trying to buy influence or something. Not that he needs to, he already has all the influence he needs.
The politicians won't get to keep most of the gifts, unless they reimburse the GSA for them. The maximum allowable gift from foreign leaders is limited to a few hundred dollars. Which means Abbas' bottle of olive oil is legal, but if Robert Gibbs still wants his Saudi cufflinks, he'll have to pay for them first. But it's not really about the gifts themselves. It's a statement.
The gift registry provides a snapshot of who's giving as an overview of our relations with the rest of the world. And the gifts are generally coming from Muslim leaders and other enemies of the United States. The Saudi king has lavished gifts all over the White House to an almost obscene degree. To a lesser degree Pakistan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq and Qatar have too. The Chinese Communist have contributed more than the expected amount, especially as this listing predates the Hu Jintao visit. The European picture however is lacking. Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi sent a lot of gifts in and Sarkozy to a lesser degree. But England is far less visible in the aftermath of Gordon Brown's ill-fated visit to Washington, when he came bearing a fairly well thought out gift of a pen from a captured slaver vessel, and got a DVD collection in return.
Germany gave a few dry gifts. Poland appears to have ignored Obama entirely, and just settled for gifting members his administration. Whether this is a response to being stabbed in the back on missile defense is anyone's guess. Nothing at all has come from Ecuador, which is unsurprising considering what the Obama administration tried to pull there. Three art pieces from Israel, only one of them intended for Obama, and that one given by someone who is not an actual elected Israeli government official.
e would much rather be reading his pal Fareed Zakaria's tome, "The Post-American World." The gift is all the more carefully thought out, when you remember that Denmark's former Prime Minister is also the Secretary General of NATO.
Still it takes undeniable guts to give Obama what amounts to a reading list (did they highlight any relevant passages in the text, I wonder), unlike the world leaders who sent him coffee table books about their national crafts.
What the registry mainly tell us is that the Obama Administration is closest to the Muslim world, with a rising China behind them. European relations are falling off. As are relations with Israel. Latin America hardly bothered to recognize the administration. The left wing regimes in Venezuela and Brazil are not all that friendly. Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sent a few expensive handbags to Michelle Obama, and ignored her husband. Aside from a few gifts from Africa and Russia-- the main focus of the traffic is on the Muslim world. The same gulf Muslim states who finance terrorism and control American foreign policy. But getting gifts from oil rich Muslim leaders is not the same as getting them to stop terrorism. And rather than stop funding terrorism, they've sent off a few diamond necklaces and cuff links to the White House.