Millions across the globe spontaneously celebrated his electoral victory. The morning after he had sealed his place in history, his image adorned the cover of newspapers from Columbus to Cairo, Beijing to Berlin. Pundits heralded an end to America's arrogant unilateralism and the renewal of a vibrant Transatlantic dialogue and consensus. Confrontation would be replaced by negotiation, the blunt force of militarism eschewed for the delicate intricacies and nuanced subtleties of diplomacy. Barack Obama would deliver change not only to America, but to the corridors of power and seats of government globally. Full of humility and purpose, President Obama embarked on the first official overseas trip of his fledgling administration last week. Yet, as he headed off down the road to America's international redemption a funny thing happened. While he was received with all the excitement and electricity of his gravitas-geared global photo op tour of last July, the glare of the paparazzi and fawning adulation of the press quickly gave way to the gravity of reality. Though world leaders giddily jockeyed for position to be photographed with the popular, "new guy", removed from the camera's eye, politics trumped personality. National interests, rivalries - both resurgent and burgeoning - and thinly-veiled, albeit long-standing resentments all awaited the youthful and neophytic President. Even before Air Force One touched down in London for the G20 Summit, a resurgent Russia was joined by a rising China in calling for serious consideration for replacing the dollar as the global reserve currency. In the first of what would be a series of attempts to compete with the President for the spotlight's glare, French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to walk out of the summit if stringent international financial regulations and oversight were not imposed in response to the ongoing global crisis. Though the meeting of the globe's leading twenty economies failed to adopt Sarkozy's proposal, it did succeed in serving as the introduction to the President's week long crash course in international relations. Following Germany and France's lecturing rejection of Obama's call for additional economic stimulus in Europe, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown closed the summit declaring, "The old Washington consensus is over." Moving on to NATO's 60th Anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France, military and security issues stepped to the forefront, with the stabilization of Afghanistan taking center stage. While the allies respectfully listened to and paid proper diplomatic lip service to the President's revamped tactical approach to the security environment and stabilization process in Afghanistan, they summarily rejected his request for deployment of additional NATO troops. Unless, of course, they are American. The underlying message at both the G20 and NATO summits was clear - Your policies got us into these messes. Do you honestly believe we're going to trust them and you to get us out? Sorry, but the consensus is it's your fault, your problems and we're all waiting for you to resolve them. In the meantime, we'll sit here, snidely pointing fingers and being characteristically derisive and condescending until the recovery takes hold and peace at last comes to Afghanistan. At that point, we'll take credit for both and say it could have occurred more quickly had you only listened to us. What this highlights is an intriguing irony. For years the press chastised President Bush as naively rooting his approach to foreign relations in his personal relationships with other world leaders. They pointed to his "cowboy swagger" and "you're either with us or against us" mentality as traits that hamstrung American foreign policy. While on the one hand they decried American unilateralism, on the other they bemoaned Bush's high personal negative ratings globally as a chronic and ultimately fatal impediment to America's success in the international arena. Exit George Bush, enter Barack Obama. Unlike Bush, Obama enjoys a soaring popularity that borders on rock star status. He and his wife are greeted by adoring throngs, warmly embraced by dignitaries, heads of state, royalty and seasoned world leaders alike. Again, his image adorns the covers of newspapers across the globe, while satellite news personalities fawn over his every movement and pronouncement live, 24 hours a day. Yet, despite his stratospheric personal popularity, humble, consensus-oriented approach and creative, new multilateral ideas, he returns from his European tour surprisingly empty-handed. True, he did convince the G20 to boost funding for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank by roughly $1 trillion. However, beyond that, there is strikingly little to show for the President's efforts. The irony lies in the press' coverage of the trip. Were Bush to have received similar treatment, the rejection of his proposals at the G20 and appeal for additional NATO troops would have been characterized as a personal rebuff and an indictment of both his presidency and America's failed and tragically faulty fiscal policy and tactical approach to Afghanistan. In sharp contrast, Obama, though warmly embraced personally, is roundly rebuffed on the policy front. Yet, the press focuses on his personal popularity, the adoring throngs and the extension of his beloved town hall meeting to the realm of inter-cultural dialogue and foreign policy promotion. This begs the question - What's to be learned from all this? First, the press has once again fallen under the charismatic sway of the President's magnetic personality. The only thing missing from their doe-eyed coverage was the requisite "tingling up my leg" comment; thankfully, I might add. In truth, their sophomoric fawning is trite, unbecoming, unprofessional and ultimately hypocritical. They have lost even the most minuscule semblance of objectivity. Little wonder their ratings hemorrhage as badly as their credibility has. Finally, it should be glaringly clear that resistance to American foreign policy initiatives are firmly rooted in politics, perceived national interests, deeply-seeded rivalries and long-standing resentment. While the tone may be shaded by personality or popularity, the answer remains a resounding and unmistakable "No". "No, we will not acknowledge American economic, political or military preeminence. No, we do not accept responsibility for our role in the economic crisis. No, we will not cooperate with your efforts to resolve it. No, we will not bear our share of the burden for collective security. No, we will not sacrifice our blood and treasure. No, we will not follow your lead. No, we will not step to the forefront and lead ourselves. No, we say! A thousand times, no!" And so, the promised route to Redemption - no matter how scenic and pastoral the press may portray it - has in fact become the road to Perdition. Pray God the President and the press realizes this before we have traveled beyond the point of no return and placed the nation's interest in mortal danger. No stop signs, speed limit, nobody's gonna slow him down, faithful readers. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and we see if we have in fact taken an errant left turn and are roaring head long down the Highway to Hell.