Clinton's insistence on the issue comes on the heels of talk in Washington that America's allies are frustrated that the Obama Administration is dictating its will in foreign affairs more often than listening to the opinions of other nations. French President Nicholas Sarkozy, in a speech at Columbia University on Monday, was unusually critical of Obama's methods, stating "We cannot afford to have the world's number one power not being open to the rest of the world...The world does not stop at the East Coast, the world does not stop at the West Coast."
Nevertheless, Clinton inserted herself into the Canadian abortion debate, without taking into account the steps Prime Minister Stephen Harper had taken to handle the delicate issues of contraception and abortion. Harper had not excluded them from the plan, which he hopes the G8 will support at its upcoming summit, but seemed reluctant to make them a centerpiece of the initiative.
Clinton's criticism came to light during a press conference on Tuesday. "You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health...And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion."
Clinton's open criticism of the Prime Minister is unprecedented and may undermine the initiative altogether. The Obama Administration's failure to take into account the opinions of other countries in favor of advancing its own agenda has been quite visible lately. Israel fought back against Obama's criticism of their policies by announcing new construction plans in East Jerusalem while Vice President Joe Biden was on a visit there last month. Relations between the two countries are at an all-time low.
Even though Obama promised to end a perception of arrogance and restore friendly relations with its allies when he took office, it appears Canada has joined a growing list of countries who would question whether that goal has been achieved.