NBC's Engel: "Hard Pressed" To Find Country Where Relations Have Improved Under Obama


In a conversation with Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone on CNBC, NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel said "you'd be hard pressed" to find a country with which relations have improved under President Obama.

"You would naturally want to say Europe, but generally the relations with a lot of European countries have gotten worse," he continued.

KEN LANGONE, Home Depot founder: Name me one country where we have better relations–I’m sorry. I'll ask my question after you're done.

ENGEL: Oh no,no I’m sorry. I can't figure out where one person is talking when I’m supposed to talk because I can't see you. The way I kind of think about it– go ahead.

LANGONE: Name one country with whom we have better relationships today than we did when he became president of the United States almost six years ago?

ENGEL: Uh, I–you would naturally want to say Europe. But generally the relations with a lot of European countries have gotten worse because of these relationships. And this is sort of what I was about to say.

LANGONE: I can name all the countries where the relationships have gotten worse. I'm asking you to give me one country where they have gotten better.

ENGEL: Yeah. I think you would be hard pressed to find that. And I think this is the reason–

LANGONE: Isn’t that a measure of foreign policy?

ENGEL: Even our allies –yeah. And I think the reason is our allies have become confused. For eight years you had the Bush administration with a very interventionist policy, driving into world affairs, driving primarily into the Islamic world army first, or fist first. And that was very unpopular with many of our allies. But toward the end, after 8 years, people adjusted to it. Now you have a presidency that for the last six years is pulling out very rapidly. And that is creating a kind of pump action, a vortex of instability that has left allies like Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, like even some European countries very confused. Are we going in? Are we pulling out? Are we leading? Are we trying to set the agenda? That has been a lot of frustration. So in terms of the foreign policy objectives laid out in West Point, yes, he talked about ending these two unpopular wars. But I do sympathize with some of the things said in the Wall Street Journal. Right now we have a black hole in Syria. Iraq is in a state of collapse. Libya is about to go back into a civil war. And this was the one case where we intervened militarily. So I think there is a lot of problems on the horizon in the foreign policy world just because you are off-ramping in Afghanistan.

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