Anyone who watched Barack Obama’s speech before 200,000 Germans in Berlin, said Gerhard Spörl in Germany’s Der Spiegel, knows “that this man will become the 44th president of the United States.” He is an impressive speaker who can “casually draw his audience into his image of the world.” But that somewhat utopian image comes with demands that many “hard-nosed Europeans” will hope he’s not really serious about.
Like his call for more troops in Afghanistan, said Jim Geraghty in National Review Online’s The Campaign Spot blog. It “took a smidgen of political courage to send that message” to a German audience staunchly opposed to a greater military commitment, and if Obama can convince them to pony up, “God bless him, I mean that.”
There are “limits to German Obamamania,” said Matthew Kaminski in The Wall Street Journal, “which is anyone-but-Bush-mania by another name.” Sure, he “soaked up the love yesterday in Berlin,” but Germany’s foreign policy is still “infused with a strain of anti-Americanism,” really the last such strain in Europe today.
After years of “messianism, arrogance, and empire” from U.S. foreign policy, said Ari Berman in The Nation, Germans might be excused for their wariness. But Obama’s call for cooperation and partnership really could win them back. “When George W. Bush talks about ‘freedom,’ Europe groans. When Barack Obama invokes the same word, Berlin cheers.”
The speech certainly told the world that “Obama is not wary of foreign engagements,” said David Weigel in Reason’s Hit & Run blog. In fact, “he’s a progressive realist who thinks America hasn’t done enough to police the world.” If the Germans go along it will be because Obama puts “American supremacy in the kind of gooey nougat shell that Europeans like.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The week's best editorial cartoons
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
Subscribe to the Week