Berlin Reax

Obamaberlincarstenkoallgetty
By Patrick Appel

Some reaction from around the web. Gerhard Spörl, writing for Der Spiegel, gushes:

George W. Bush is yesterday, the Texas version of the arrogant world power. Obama is all about today: the "everybody really just wants to be brothers and save the world" utopia. As for us, we who sometimes admire and sometimes curse this somewhat anemic, pragmatic democracy, we will have to quickly get used to Barack Obama, the new leader of a lofty democracy that loves those big nice words -- words that warm our hearts and alarm our minds.

Poulos says the "citizen of the world" comment was a mistake:

In addition to being meaningless the world is not a polity, so citizenship in it is impossible this is exactly the sort of redundantly empty rhetoric that does nothing to energize his base, nothing to allay the concerns of Middle America about his meta-attitude, and supplies the frantic and the furious on the right with a fresh tranch of attacks. Why did he do it? Bad advice? His own advice? Why couldn’t he just say “a big fan of the world,” or “a product of the world,” something that at least had the merit of being accurate? Anyone?


Weigel gets into the substance of the speech:

I count at least four extensions of American foreign policy here: increased foreign aid, increased funding for PEPFAR, sanctions, and maybe a little bit of ol' fashioned humanitarian intervention. (That's what he's occasionally suggested for Darfur, at least.) It's proof, if any more was needed, that Obama is not wary of foreign engagements. He's a progressive realist who thinks America hasn't done enough to police the world and to stave off future threats by doing whatever NGOs say we should be doing.

Larison reacts along similar lines:

If voters think that electing Obama President will mean doing a lot of heavy-lifting with foreign aid, sheltering refugees in Africa and protecting Burmese dissidents and the Zimbabwean opposition party, they will not be terribly interested in putting him in that office.  I would have thought that he would have understood the public’s weariness with the Iraq adventure better than this.  Does he not understand that one important source of discontent with the war is its costliness and the diversion of resources to Iraq rather than having them used and invested here at home?

And Judah Grunstein thinks Obama asking Europe to give more troops is unrealistic:

...calling for greater troop contributions from Europe ignore the fact that it's not going to happen. England's looking to reduce its engagement, Germany has already ponied up, and France has already downsized the contingent it committed to send at the April NATO summit.

(Image by Carsten Koall/Getty)

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