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The Americans: Those darn (and "friendly") "foreign" countries!

Sharp piece from Al Kamen, writing In the Loop for The Washington Post:

"Mitt Romney spent Monday talking tough on foreign policy. “We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds,” he declared.

Speaking of friends, however, President Obama’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki had this to say about the Republican presidential candidate’s tendency to tick off U.S. allies and others: “The only person who has offended Europe more is probably Chevy Chase.”

We assume she was referring to the comedian’s 1985 slapstick movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” in which Chase (whose birthday was Monday, coincidentally) plays a hapless American tourist who bungles a tour of the continent.

And while Romney, unlike Chase’s obliviously goofy character, Clark Griswold, hasn’t toppled Stonehenge with a Citroen or prompted a dog to jump off the Eiffel Tower, he does have a record of poking friendly nations.

During last week’s campaign debate, he took an unprovoked swipe at, of all places, the land of Gaudi. “I don’t want to go down the path of Spain,” he said when asked about government spending. Spaniards were outraged at being pointed to as a cautionary tale.

Maybe he just doesn’t like tapas?

Of course, the most famous example of Romney’s international slights happened in jolly olde England, where he insulted Brits by questioning their readiness for the London Olympics and noting how small their houses are.

And he might not be too popular in Moscow, either, since he declared Russia to be a major “geopolitical foe.”

He also irritated Japan when he declared at an August fundraiser: “We are not Japan. We are not going to be a nation that suffers in decline and distress for a decade or a century.”

So, with the Romney family due for a vacation after the election no matter the outcome, perhaps they could follow the Griswolds’ itinerary. Too bad they’re too large a bunch to fit into a Citroen.

But while Romney doles out insults, taking the opposite approach has its perils, too. Loop fans might recall that spectacular video from a Dutch TV broadcast (See the video at wapo.st/dutchtv) that pokes fun at Obama’s penchant for complimenting foreign dignitaries by saying that their country “punches above its weight.”

He said it about the Netherlands — and about Norway, Ireland and the Philippines. As the newscast points out, Obama’s also fond of telling all our allies that they’re our “strongest” or “closest” of all.

Maybe get the guy a thesaurus?"

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