Friday, July 18, 2008

Obama’s “larger canvas”

Charles Krauthammer today:

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate.

He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast -- a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins -- would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn.

President Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation.

When President Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop?

What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush 41 -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?
Who is advising Obama?

Can't his campaign staff gently tell him asking for the Brandenburg Gate as a prop for what is effectively a campaign appearance puts the German’s in an awkward position, to say nothing of highlighting Obama’s towering ego?

Can’t even one of the former secretaries of state and defense from the Carter and Clinton administrations enlighten him?

Krauthammer tries to:
Does Obama not see the incongruity? It's as if a German pol took a campaign trip to America and demanded the Statue of Liberty as a venue for a campaign speech. (The Germans have now gently nudged Obama into looking at other venues.) …
That’s the least of it.

What if some far-left, anti-American candidate for the premiership of a European country wanted to use the Lincoln Memorial as a prop for a campaign speech? Could a President Obama object?

He wouldn’t want to offend the potential head of a European nation, would he?

But after using the Brandenburg Gate as one of his campaign props, how could President Obama object to foreign leaders using our national monuments as props for their campaigns?

The rest of the world would rightly view that as arrogance.

Krauthammer notes, “Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself,” and closes with:
For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?

We are getting to know. Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when "our planet began to heal."

As I recall -- I'm no expert on this -- Jesus practiced his healing just on the sick. Obama operates on a larger canvas.
The entire column’s here.

Hat tip:


Anonymous said...

Obama continues to show the world how unschooled in world politics he is. I can only hope the voters are paying attention. His mistakes as President could be very costly ones for this nation and his high maintenance ego will grow old very quickly. Obama rushes in where wise men fear to tread.

Anonymous said...

Egotistical amateur, thy name is Saint Obama.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Charles Krauthammer speaks convincingly of Obama's vanity and at least gives lip service to the vanity of all politicians. I could possibly believe anything Charles has said over the years, if I did not know him to be the Pulitzer Prize winning Neo-conservative who was one of the loudest cheerleaders of the Iraq war. His affinity for Israel and disdain for all things Arab make me imagine he is only pretending to be for America first, like the rest of the Neo-conservatives. His is not the voice of reason, it is the voice of politics. He is a supporter of torture. Thank God he is no longer a practicing psychiatrist.

It is easy for a barker like Dr. Krauthammer to throw stones at Obama, that is his job on TV and in print (and, we all know Obama is an easy target for scorn and disbelief.) I do object to The Hammer's dragging Jesus into the fray. (A few years ago he was calling Christians "Jesus Freaks.") It would have made more sense if the snearing gentleman could have saved the cheap Jesus reference and instead, inserted something more meaningful like perhaps Merkel's reaction to the Brandenburg Gate venue. What is it with him anyway? Oh, I remember, he is a cheerleader for war with Iran now. Knowing what I believe to be Krauthammer's own "meta-narrative" and knowing that I do not agree with it, makes me treat his words carefully, calmly, and critically. And especially so when I might agree with some of what he says.

JWM said...

To Anon @ 12:06,

I agree with everything you say.

To TH,


To Anon @ 4:49,

I don't agree with many of your assertions, including that Krauthammer is "a supporter of torture."

People who advocate terrorism and the people who enable them in various ways are the world's torturers.

I'm thinking of the people who'd let everyone they love and all their favorite politicians and pundits get killed rather than water-board someone with information that could prevent the mass killing.

Are you really that way?

To all three of you: Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Obama's lack of understanding of history and foreign policy is of great concern. The trumpeting by the MSM of his Grand Tour (which, to be honest should have occurred long before he chose to run)is ridiculous. I heard one commentator exclaim that this would show that as a result of this trip he would be better educated in foreign policy that McCain who, as we know, has been to the Middle East numerous times.
It is true that Obama has been annointed as "The Second Coming".
Personally, I not happy with any of the candidates seeking the White House - each have severe flaws that give anyone (no matter where one falls on the political spectrum) great pause for concern. The press would be of better use if they tried to draw each of the candidates out on the issues - in which they were given the opportunity to point out their strengths and weaknesses - and how they expect to compensate fpr the weaknesses that they have. I do not think that because one is deficient in a particular area that necessarily means that a candidate should not be elected. What I want to know is how has there thinking on a subject evolved, who are the advisors, what worries does one see both short term and long term that need to be addressed. I do not want someone who already has all the answers. I think that the Obama team, by playing into the Messiah title that has been given to him, are doing their candidate a huge disservice both now and, if he is elected, and in the coming four years.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the foreign policy panel of experts who now advise Saint Obama, have you noticed they are nearly all from the Clinton years? What was it the anointed one is saying about how he'll change things? I'd be more apt to give his promises some credibility if he could assemble experts who aren't the "same-old same-old" beltway bandits.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...


Forgive me if this message has already been sent. I cannot be sure if it was or not, and did not want your questions to go unanswered. 7/20/08
@ jwm

The Truth about Torture
It's time to be honest about doing terrible things.
by Charles Krauthammer
12/05/2005, Volume 011, Issue 12

Implicit in your question is an assumption I want to cast doubt on - that the "good guys" have in their clutches a "bad guy" who the good guys know positively has information that if they get it from him, they will know that absolutely what they get is true, and that they know will empower them to prevent some awful event. Does this happen in real life? I doubt it because they don't know if the bad guy is a plant, they don't know whether the bad guy is in a position to know anything of value, they don't know how to validate or confirm what he tells them, and he may tell them something that will cause the good guys to do damage, he may tell them anything, he may tell them nothing.

There are people who have done torture who say otherwise. There are people who say there are more reliable ways to get information.

"Are you really that way?"

What way is that?