OBAMA IN EUROPE July 25, 2008Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
For Obama to attract the interest he has, when as yet he is not even the official party candidate, let alone the President, is surely extraordinary. Der Spiegel is following the story as it unfolds. The comparison with John Kennedy with Obama comes to mind in terms of intelligence and charisma. My sense is that Obama is eliciting the patina of Kennedy. The big difference that is immediately evident is that whereas Kennedy had an ambitious, bootlegging, millionaire father and relation who had been Mayor of Boston, Obama in effect had no father and has made his way though the world of Chicago politics. One would like to believe that Obama is not a phoney, but we will see.
Der Spiegel reports on his reception in Germany following his visits to Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, including Israel and the West Bank. Obama has had meetings with Chancellor Merkel on Climate Change and Global Trade, the Social Democrat Foreign Minister and a brief twenty minutes with the Mayor of Berlin. He is about to give a public speech, presumably in English which we are told will not be a stump speech:
At 7 p.m., Obama plans to give a major address on trans-Atlantic relations at the Siegesäule, or Victory Column, in Berlin’s Tiergarten park. The speech is the only one Obama is holding during his one week tour of Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and European capitals. By late afternoon, crowds had already begun converging on the site to wait for his speech.
According to Obama’s advisors, the candidate is expected to call on Europeans to increase their role in the war on terror. Obama is expected to ratchet up its efforts in that campaign, an advisor told Reuters. Obama has already announced that he plans to send more US troops to Afghanistan. He is also expecting greater contributions from America’s NATO allies in Europe.
. . . Meanwhile, the foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, Eckart von Klaeden, told RBB-Inforadio public radio he didn’t share the expectation of many German politicians that there would be a major shift in foreign policy under Obama.
“Regardless whether it is a President McCain or a President Obama, people will quickly determine that the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be transformed to the degree that many are expecting.”
Despite the criticisms of McCain, including for example his lack of geographic knowledge as to what countries border respectively Iraq and Afghanistan, G Bush has set the standard so low that anybody might be better. Once elected, and I expect that, Obama will immediately eclipse Bush, and revisionists can make of the Bush Administration what they will. Obama is now slightly older than Kennedy when he was murdered, but I think that is the mental image. The Kennedy legacy is mixed from the Bay of Pigs and the 10 June 1963 speech as The American University in Washington to the commitment of troops to Vietnam on the other side of the ledger.