Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Obama to Germany "Ich bin beschäftigt" - i.e., I'm busy

President Obama recently scuttled plans to travel to Germany for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  It has been reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend in his stead.

Rich Lowry comments at Real Clear Politics:
In his first year in office, Barack Obama has visited more foreign countries than any other president. He's touched ground in 16 countries, easily outpacing Bill Clinton (three) and George W. Bush (eleven). It's an itinerary befitting a "citizen of the world."

But there's one stop Obama won't make. He has begged off going to Berlin next week to attend ceremonies commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall. His schedule is reportedly too crowded. John F. Kennedy famously told Berliners, "Ich bin ein Berliner." On the 20th anniversary of the last century's most stirring triumph of freedom, Obama is telling them, "Ich bin beschäftigt" - i.e., I'm busy.
I seem to recall that candidate Obama had plenty of time to visit Germany during his presidential campaign, notwithstanding the fact that the throngs of adoring Europeans would not be allowed to vote in the U.S. election.  Candidate Obama even considered giving a "major speech" in front of the Brandenburg Gate before Chancellor Angela Merkel nixed the idea as inappropriate. He had to settle for Berlin's Victory Column instead. Lowry recalls:
Obama famously made a speech in Berlin during last year's campaign, but at an event devoted to celebrating himself as the apotheosis of world hopefulness. He said of 1989, "a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one."

The line was typical Obama verbal soufflé, soaring but vulnerable to collapse upon the slightest jostling from logic or historical fact. The wall came down only after the free world resolutely stood against the Communist bloc. Rather than a warm-and-fuzzy exercise in global understanding, the Cold War was another iteration of the 20th century's long war between totalitarianism and Western liberalism. The West prevailed on the back of American strength.
Indeed.  The fall of the Berlin Wall was a victory for all people yearning to be free, a word that the President is not really comfortable with.  He's also not comfortable calling out despotic dictators in Iran, Honduras, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.  Here is a reminder of what real leadership looks like:

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