Home > Uncategorized > Why didn’t Obama go to the anniversary of the Berlin Wall?

Why didn’t Obama go to the anniversary of the Berlin Wall?

Barack Obama as president of the United States decided to stay away from Berlin as the city commemorated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall? In contrast, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown both made the trip to Germany, while President Obama decided to send his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Yet he flew Airforce One at great expense across the Atlantic to Copenhagen in a bid to secure the olympics going to Chicago!

Is it shameful when the US president can’t even be bothered to show up at a ceremony marking one of the most momentous events of modern times?  

Rich Lowry thought so and wrote in his column for National Review, “Obama’s failure to go to Berlin is the most telling nonevent of his presidency.”

Barack Obama’s absence from Berlin today can be explained by three key factors:

1/ Obama is uncomfortable with the idea of American greatness

The fall of the Berlin Wall was the direct result of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher’s determination to confront and defeat Soviet communism. Barack Obama is distinctly uncomfortable with the notion of celebrating the successes of American global power. Practically every speech he has given on foreign soil since taking office has been marked by an apology or apologies for America’s past. A recognition of American leadership, especially an acknowledgement of Ronald Reagan’s leadership, would have been an awkward moment for a US president who seems ashamed of American greatness and exceptionalism.

2/ Obama attaches little importance to the advancement of human rights on the world stage

The Wall’s downfall symbolized the defeat of a brutal ideology, Communism, that enslaved hundreds of millions in Europe. It marked the end of a dictatorial regime in East Germany that oppressed its own people under the auspices of an evil Empire. Barack Obama simply does not view the world as Reagan did, in terms of good versus evil, as a world divided between the forces of freedom on one side and totalitarianism on the other. For the Obama administration the advancement of human rights and individual liberty on the world stage is a distinctly low priority, as we have seen with its engagement strategy towards the likes of Iran, Burma, Sudan, Venezuela and Russia.

3/ Obama is keen to appease Russia

The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to avoid doing anything to offend the Russians, as part of its “reset” strategy. This was exemplified by its monumental surrender to Moscow by reversing the American policy of installing Third Site missile defences in Poland and the Czech Republic. In effect, Barack Obama threw key US allies in eastern and central Europe under the bus in order to placate Russian demands. The White House no doubt calculated that Obama’s presence in Berlin would be interpreted by hawks in Russia as provocative triumphalism on the part of the Americans. Embarrassingly for President Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev actually showed up at the Berlin celebrations, while the leader of the free world was nowhere to be seen.

So is  the striking absence of the leader of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth from ceremonies marking the fall of the Berlin Wall yet another damning indictment of Barack Obama’s world leadership and weakness in foreign policy?


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