In Berlin, Obama misses a chance to celebrate America

Twenty years ago this month, we were on the verge of one of America’s great victories: the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately the collapse of communism in Europe, our third liberation of the Continent in the 20th century. By the end of 1989 there was freedom once more in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania. Within a year, there was once more a united Germany. Within two years, the Soviet Union was no more.

If Nov. 9, 1989, was the D-Day of the Cold War, it’s true that Americans weren’t the ones breaching East Germany’s defenses. The heroes of that night were the Berliners who finally knocked down the wall after an East German Politburo member mistakenly gave them the green light, as well as the scores of their desperate countrymen who died or were killed while fleeing westward over 28 years.

Yet our country was critical to the survival of liberty in the divided city — from the Berlin Airlift to our soldiers’ fortification of its western precincts, from Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” to Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Germans take justifiable pride in the reunification of their country and its capital, and the reminders of our contributions are highly visible at places like Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate.

Our resistance to communism’s advance in Europe beyond the East German frontier was a largely bipartisan effort, in a way that few things in American history truly have been.

The notion of American exceptionalism, of the city upon a hill, of the indispensable nation, has long united Americans of various political persuasions. But this idea is less popular today.

The talk instead is the self-fulfilling prophecy of American decline, of America the humble, of America the first among equals, at best.

We’ve heard a lot since Inauguration Day about America’s failings. President Obama has apologized to Europeans, Muslims, Latin Americans — most anyone unfortunate enough to have walked the earth before he took office.

Our president has granted indirect Ameri culpas to the Chinese, in his coolness to the Dalai Lama, and to the Palestinians, in his disproportionate blame on Israel for the continuation of a century-old conflict. Still waiting for words of contrition are the Aussies and Antarctica’s penguin population. But hey, it’s only been nine months.

What an opportunity this month’s anniversary in Berlin presents for him to be an American apologist instead of an American apologizer. To recognize and even celebrate that “the character and cause of [our] nation,” to which he referred in his September speech at the United Nations, have a greatness that predates Jan. 20, 2009. To express pride in his country that transcends himself or his ambitions.

It is a chance he is passing up by reportedly declining an invitation to the festivities in Berlin.

This is a curious decision for a man who as a candidate last year treated Berliners to a rally about himself, who jetted to Copenhagen last month to make an Olympic pitch for his adopted hometown, who will travel to Oslo next month to accept an award for not being George W. Bush.

While the Nobel committee puts its stock in soaring words and ambitions, our president’s authority does not come from the bien-pensant, nor even from our wealth or might. It owes to our history, however imperfect, of molding and standing behind heroes like those of Berlin, extending liberty like no other nation has done.

Those heroes and their victory are truly worth celebrating.

50 comments Add your comment

Chris Salzmann

October 30th, 2009
8:56 pm

Kyle,

Perhaps President Obama didn’t want to take another trip that you conservatives would complain about. Remember the flak he received for the 24 trip he took to promote Chicago, for the Olympics Committee? BTW, his rally in Berlin took place when he was a candidate so comparing that to Presidential trips is apples and oranges.

BTW, I was in Germany during that time, have a German mother and used to have relatives in the former East Germany. So, I’m very familiar with the circumstances of the fall of the Berlin Wall, as witnessed on the ground. The West Germans were just as surprised as the American administration when the Wall was opened and East Germans were allowed to cross the closed borders of East Germany.

Disproportionate blame on Israel??? This country has kowtowed to that country for the last 8 years and what have we achieved as a result of all that? Finally calling out Israel on its illegal occupation that is the root of the conflict in that region is not disproportionate. BTW, what has Israel given us for all our moral and financial support? A lot of spying on this country that has resulted in Billions in losses to the American tax payer. You know the case of Jonathan Pollard, right? What about the AIPAC spy case that has two high ranking employees of Israel’s lobbyist under investigation? It’s about time that Israel got called out…………

otto

October 30th, 2009
9:22 pm

Front page new in Germany. Michail Gorbatschow , Helmut Kohl and George Bush Sr. meet to celebrate Germany unity.

Rev Al Sharptongue

October 30th, 2009
9:47 pm

What a bunch of bile..your attempt to be controversial is pathetic.

typical right wing spin , hallow talking points.

You got to do better Kyle

Algonquin J. Calhoun

October 30th, 2009
10:39 pm

What a load of Republican horse poop!

Ormewood

October 30th, 2009
11:51 pm

Let’s face it: the man’s an embarrassment, He is a typical Leftist, intelligent but ignorant, educated but lacking good sense, a man who kowtows to every tired, defeated -ism in the modern Leftist pantheon: communism, socialism, maxrism, defeatism. An embarrassment.

Chris Salzmann

October 31st, 2009
1:05 am

Another point I’d like to make here: Who are you kidding, Kyle? Any trip that President Obama makes will be nitpicked by the conservative clique. He goes abroad for 24 hours to try and bring the Olympics to Chicago and he gets criticized for that; he goes to Dover AFB to honor the returning dead and he gets criticized for that, etc, etc, etc. Why, Liz Cheney was on Fox saying that his trip to honor the dead at Dover AFB was just for a photo op. Interesting since her father or his boss never made that trip, even without the cameras present. In fact, I wonder if her father ever even visited the wounded at Walter Reed?

BTW, his trip to Berlin was while he was a Presidential candidate. That’s comparing apples to oranges by trying to bring that up now that he’s President. That’s pretty low, even for you.

Joel Edge

October 31st, 2009
6:46 am

D**n good column. That pretty much says it.

Michael H. Smith

October 31st, 2009
7:55 am

Among all those apologies for America Kyle it is hard to recall exactly when President Obama ever has celebrated America. Perhaps he has been too busy campaigning after winning the election to actually be the President or maybe he is just too ashamed?

Though it could explain why he is so driven to change America into something that America never was or will ever be known as America again?

Those heroes and their victory are truly worth celebrating by the only means possible to truly honor them, in living every day, in every way, the dreams they held out in hopes to obtain the freedom and liberty of the America that Mr. Obama apologizes for: Yes we were divisive! Yes, we were at times even derisive, for freedom and liberty has never found unity or the spirit of a peaceful co-existence with tyranny and oppression!

I make no apologies for America nor express any regrets for being an American. The very founders of this nation never held any noble pretenses of perfection neither for themselves nor of the nation they set about creating. In fact, they all held that America would never be flawless, would never be a completed work, would never cease to be an experiment. They expected failures, in fact they all had sincere doubts the country they had established would remain in existence beyond their own lifetimes.

In their explanation to forever forbade any apology they expressed to all generations of humanity, to a candid world, present and future, in these simple words their divisive and even derisive actions straightforwardly, as “We the People”: In order to make a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Mr. Obama, don’t tear down this wall!

jt

October 31st, 2009
8:21 am

Fifty years of hormone tampering via the birth-control pill is starting to show.

We went from Ted Nugent to John Meyer. From Led Zepplin to Jonas Brothers. From a 1974,426 Hemi Dodge Charger to a three-banger Dodge Neon. From “Rat Patrol” to “Dr. Phil”.

The hormonal emasculation of the American man has only produced more lawyers and more government.

Sad.

Lost child

October 31st, 2009
8:26 am

Complain when he goes, complain when he stays. Do we see a pattern here?

The Anti-Wooten

October 31st, 2009
8:42 am

Kyle and the rest of the VRWC would not be happy with a job as a taster in a pie factory. And yes, sonny boy, NOT being George W. Bush is a thing worthy of celebration.

TDone

October 31st, 2009
9:07 am

As someone who spent almost 13 years in Germany, I believe the Germans may not say anything about this publicly, but their righteous indignation has to be in full effect.

But with Barack Obama, it always has to be about him.

Ayn Rand Was Right

October 31st, 2009
9:39 am

Me thinks his ego could cause him to drown.

Ayn Rand Was Right

October 31st, 2009
9:48 am

The comment is a reference to Narcissus, not a threat to the POTUS…

Proud American

October 31st, 2009
10:30 am

Obozo is only interested in what makes him or his goonies look good.

Proud American

October 31st, 2009
10:37 am

I have tried to comment on several editorials by your collegue C. T. only to be censored. I have not said anything untrue, used foul language, I only speak my mind and will not follow B.H.O. down the yellow brick road. My question is if the A.J.C. is taking an unbias approach them why do they allow the left tools to try to indoctrinate us ?

Mr T

October 31st, 2009
10:55 am

The reality of the situation is if he did go to Berlin, he would be slammed as a globe trotting celebrity. You would be slamming him next week in your blog after you got the talking points from Limbaugh and Hannity. After 8 years of chaos and a lack of respect for the rest of the world, I think the President needed to do some damage control. Wear your Reagan Halloween costume tonight, dream about what once was. The reality of the situation is this isn’t the 1980’s, Ronnie’s policies almost brought our economy to the brink of collapse last year. I admire our President for cleaning up the mess from the last 8 years. The GOP has been wrong on every major change in America-Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, Womens Rights, and now Health care. You are a joke outside the South and I love to see you squirm!

Joan

October 31st, 2009
10:59 am

I am not sure when a generation lost its pride. But then, I had legitimate history lessons–not those distorted to be politically correct, or to enhance minority participation. Americans are beaten up by liberal media all the time, to deny truth, to attempt to pacify and mollify those whose lifestyles or opinions are truly reprehensible, to be accepting of the lowest behaviours and beliefs. And look what has happened to us. The world doesn’t respect us anymore–and we have a President who doesn’t respect this country, its history or its people. He has made that very clear. The best thing that could happen to this country is a return to honesty in all things. God bless Harry Truman. We need more people who accept that “the buck stops here”.

Real American

October 31st, 2009
11:18 am

Good grief, did you cry while writing this dribble?

booger

October 31st, 2009
11:20 am

I lived and worked in Europe in two different countries for six years. One thing I learned was that behind some envy, and some distrust of America, most Europeans liked Americans and more than that they liked the idea of America. I still have some contact with friends made there and recently recieved an e-mail about an article a friend of mine had read.

The article bemoaned the systematic dismantling of the American way. It said that regardless of what most Europeans thought of activities in the US, they admired, and to some extent longed to Live the American way. The article said that with the current political climate in the US the writer feared the role model most Europeans thought would always be around, seemed to be fading. As Europe, who has been using the US economy as a role model for their renewed free market interest, moves to a more capitalist based economy, the US seems determined to repeat the errors made by the Europeans.

My friend said that this article captured the feelings of many Europeans.

Brad Steel

October 31st, 2009
12:06 pm

Yeah, he should have been on a float in a parade. And then attended a gala.

He really blew the chance to have a palooza and talk about how great we are. Guess he was too busy doing something worthwhile.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

October 31st, 2009
1:41 pm

Going to some of the links in Kyle’s article offers a much different nuance than Kyle would suggest. From the link re: Obama’s “coolness” to the Dalai Lama: American officials told Tibetan representatives that “this president is not interested in symbolism or photo ops but in deliverables,” the Asian diplomat said. “He wants something to come out of his efforts over Tibet, rather than just checking a box.”

Obama believes, the story suggested, that the past US policy on China-Tibet hasn’t *worked*. As a pragmatist, he’s instead following a policy of “strategic reassurance.” It’s not that human rights don’t matter, but the pursuit of them hasn’t been effective, so other tactics are being tried.

Kyle’s read on Obama’s Berlin speech was even more misleading. The editorialized article suggested that Obama’s true audience was the folks back home.

Quote:
…instead, he claimed to be a “proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world.” He added: “I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father, my grandfather, was a cook for the British.” It’s a life story that would not have been possible without the freedom of the West.

That doesn’t read to me like a rally to celebrate Obama personally.

I’m sorry that it offends Kyle, but Obama is a symbol to the world of America *not* acting like a sheriff in the Wild West. After eight years of Bush, a man who looked to the rest of the world like an ideologue who was willing to do what he personally believed was right no matter what anybody else thought… it’s very reassuring to our European allies (allies–a very important word) to see someone who wants to work *with* them instead of *over* them. Considering the President of the United States has his finger on some power nuclear buttons, Obama offers them a sense of security that they lacked under Bush. Nobody quite knew *what* Bush was going to do; after all, he invaded a sovereign nation (Iraq) when it had no connection to the terrorist attacks he was supposedly fighting. Obama feels safer.

But right now, he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. If he goes off to “celebrate America,” then he’s derided for not minding the domestic store (witness the absolute glee of the Republican Party that Chicago was kicked out in round one of the Olympic committee and the constant talk-radio harping that he should’ve stayed at home). If he focuses on domestic affairs, then he’s chided for missing opportunities to, um… what exactly? Promote America?

Something to consider…

Cedric E. Arle

October 31st, 2009
2:02 pm

Thank you for highlighting Obama’s inactions and damage to American interests. Had he only put as much effort into pro-American activities, the welfare of our nation and citizens might not have declined so severely.

Kyle Wingfield

October 31st, 2009
9:04 pm

Sorry for the delay in posting comments, folks. This should all improve next week.

Tank

October 31st, 2009
9:23 pm

Great article. Obama is an apologist, plain and simple.

Hatin' on the stupid

October 31st, 2009
9:32 pm

Yeah, big O is gonna go in there with a big swagger and brag about how our financial system (that we’ve beat the world over the head with for the past decade), along with the Brit’s, brought about the worst worldwide recession since the 30’s . Good one Kyle. I’m thumping a chest here for American Pride! YeeHAW!!

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama

October 31st, 2009
11:30 pm

Let’s talk about those campaign promises and bringing change to Washington
• the White House is NOT for sale (well, maybe for rent)
• Transparency
• bipartisan support
• close Gitmo
• bring the boys home from Iraq
• find Osama bin Laden
• NO lobbyist on the White House staff
• all bills put on line so the public can read them first
• no tax increase for anyone making less than $250K
• and on, and on, and on……let’s say it again, mmm, mmm, mmm Barack the LIAR Obama

Algonquin J. Calhoun

November 1st, 2009
12:34 am

This is a nation founded upon theft, murder, deceit and hypocrisy. This nation is the only brute to ever loose atomic weapons upon the civilians of another nation. This is a nation engaged in torture and wholesale murder and graft under the rule of George W. Hitler. This is the peace loving nation that attacked Iraq for no legitimate reason. This is the biggest polluter on the planet and a nation that has no equal when it comes to duplicity. You Christian, right-wing, fascist know-nothings are emblematic of what is wrong here! Why don’t you bums go to Germany? Neo-Nazis are big there!

Walter Bush

November 1st, 2009
5:43 am

I cancelled my subscription to the AJC after the Presidential election, and therefore was not aware of your addition as the heir to the great Jim Wooten. I just read your column on the Berlin Wall, and was both pleased and impressed to find your thoughts among the usual drivel such as Cynthia Tucker’s 95th column about drugs laws and their unfairness to black men. I am now a Kyle Wingfield fan!

@@

November 1st, 2009
9:46 am

Obama is a man who, when He needs them, uses people to further His personal goals. When He no longer needs them, they’re left at the curb. So He needed the Berliners to enhance His aura, but now….they are as insignificant as he deems them to be.

So, does this mean He’s shifting from campaign mode to get down to the business at hand?

Naahhhh, just means that He’s “petering out”. Campaigning is all the man knows how to do and he ain’t doin’ that too well of late.

The Hope is now but a flicker.

clyde

November 1st, 2009
9:51 am

Complain when he goes.Complain when he stays.Obama seems to have a knack for doing things backwards.I don’t know who is advising the Obamas,but they certainly have a knack for getting it wrong.He appears to be auditioning for some role beyond the Presidency.Ambassador to Icelend,maybe?Replacement for Leno?Lately it’s all been about his marriage to Michelle.She’s going to be a fashion queen.Period.Shallow.

Maybe after he picks up his Peace Medal he’ll decide on Afghanistan.I didn’t and don’t think Barak Obama was ready for the Presidency.I think he’s completely overwhelmed.

Road Scholar

November 1st, 2009
10:00 am

MHS: “Among all those apologies for America Kyle it is hard to recall exactly when President Obama ever has celebrated America.”

Is it amnesia or oldtimers setting in? Try. Try real hard. There is alot out there!

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

November 1st, 2009
10:11 am

Truth: Ronnie Ray Gun was an IDIOT who did not defeat the Soviets. Ivan lost on the battlefield in Afghanistan over a 10 year period that near bankrupted the Soviet Union, a battlefield where we are currently getting out butts kicked after 8 long years of war. We should thank our lucky stars that Ivan is not giving surface to air weapons to the Taliban, it would be poetic justice for the stingers we gave the Afghans in the 80’s. Imagine how loses of a half dozen choppers a day would inflict damage on our logistics chain. Piss Ivan off, and he can still supply the Taliban with such surface to air weapons.

Stu

November 1st, 2009
10:29 am

I’m really proud of the way we killed all those gooks in Vietnam. Didn’t stop the RED MENACE but made for a touching monument. And at such little cost. Only 58,000 kids. Not that many. Thanks for defending our “freedoms” guys and see you in heaven for all eternity.

But were even better at getting those towel-head families enjoying some goat stew in their homes.

Good job America! The Founding Fathers would be proud.

DAVID

November 1st, 2009
12:06 pm

HOW CAN OBAMA CELEBRATE AMERICA……WHEN HE ACTUALLY HATES AMERICA…..MOST LIBERALS HATE AMERICA…..if the truth be spoken.

DAVID

November 1st, 2009
12:09 pm

Kyle…….has his eyes closed the real Barack Obama……..AJC would not have hired a true conservative to comment on Obama……….OBAMA hates America & all that America stands for..

Don Beringer

November 1st, 2009
12:17 pm

The President has the good taste not sustain all this self-congratulatory behavior since the end of World War II. It has been sixty-four years since that event and twenty since the fall of communism and it seems that Europeans are a bit tired of all this American strutting. All the American movies and melodramas played in Western Europe over the years trumpeting the eternal debt all “freedom loving people” owe have rendered our deeds as a tiresome drone by now. And that goes for the photo ops. and the fist shaking at the wall in Berlin. Europeans, east and west, seem to be getting along just fine now. Give them some privacy to get it on.

Linda

November 1st, 2009
12:32 pm

Mr. T @ 10:55 AM on 10/31 commented that Reagan’s policies almost brought our economy to the brink of collapse last yr. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but if it was Reagan, then why did Clinton BRAG in 2004 before the economy tanked that his adm was responsible for the “staggering” “$800 B” in loans to borrowers who couldn’t qualify & why did Clinton ADMIT in Aug., ‘08 that the Dems resisted any efforts by the Reps to increase standards & tighten up on Fannie & Freddie? I haven’t seen any evidence that the pres. is cleaning up “this mess.” The Dems have spent trillions of dollars, added to the deficit, printed money & unemployment continues to rise.

Not Going to Use My Usual Name @ 1:44 PM on 10/31 commented that Bush invaded Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was approved by congress who had the same intelligence as did the WH. If more politicians were willing to do what they “personally believed to be right no matter what anybody else thought,” as long as it’s in the best interest of the American people, we might be better off.

HDB

November 1st, 2009
1:25 pm

“It owes to our history, however imperfect, of molding and standing behind heroes like those of Berlin, extending liberty like no other nation has done.”

Wow..extending liberty?? Please inform the American people of the constitutional RIGHT to buy and sell slaves that has YET to be repealed. I give you Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

Celebrate American liberty? This nation imprisons and executes more of its people than any other “civilized” nation save China!!

If Obama goes to Germany, conservatives would call hin the jet-setting President; if he stays, he’s pilloried about not going to celebrate! Damned if you do….damned if you don’t!!

Chris Salzmann

November 1st, 2009
5:45 pm

Cedric E. Arle October 31st, 2009 2:02 pm SAID: Thank you for highlighting Obama’s inactions and damage to American interests. Had he only put as much effort into pro-American activities, the welfare of our nation and citizens might not have declined so severely.

CHRIS SAYS: Oh, you mean if he was only more like George Bush or Dick Cheney. Naturally, these two folks had put SO MUCH effort into pro-American activities, right? If ONLY he were more like those two discredited idiots, correct? NEWS FLASH: We had an election where the legacies of those two was put to the test and their legacies were decisively defeated. Get over it. I’m going to enjoy watching folks like you crying pathetically for the next 7 years. Gee, what did the recent WSJ/NBC poll state: Only 17% of the population call themselves Republicans now? Good luck trying to win the next couple of Presidential elections with numbers like that. Yeah, the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Kristol are doing so much good for the Republican Party. As a Liberal, my fervent hope is that Sarah Palin gets on the Republican ticket again. Wishful thinking but then you conservatives are so good at shooting yourselves in the foot.

Alan

November 1st, 2009
6:48 pm

Kyle,

typical right wing drivel, whine, bellyache. Why don’t you just start typing, democrats bad, republicans, GOD. I am from Dalton as well. Thank the lord I escaped that little narrow minded insignifcant blight of a town. Most people up there are just like you. Maybe you should go back.

Pablo

November 1st, 2009
9:42 pm

It’s funny that liberals are now outraged that conservatives and republicans criticize President Obama for what he does or does not. If my memory serves me right, liberals would not waste any opportunity to slander, bad-mouth, chastise and pretty much insult “W’ every time he would do so much as breathe. They created the toxic environment that their ‘lord and savior’ has to live in now, and they whine and complain about it. Very funny indeed.

deborahinAthens

November 2nd, 2009
7:23 am

Someone needs to remind you all the reason that Obama has had to be an apologist for this country is primarily because of the ineptitude, absurdity and general overbearing arrogance of George Dubya Bush. That one person set this country back thirty years with his stupid comments, his ill advised invasion of a country for no good reason when every other leader of the major western nations were trying to make the man see reason. We are now perceived to be weak, and we are, because we will never be able to “win” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention everyone told the dingbat that the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. So now we have a president that has had to spend his first ten months in the White House cleaning up Dubya’s messes. Kind of hard to go around the world acting like we’re so great when we are perceived to be morally and fiscally bankrupt.

Peadawg

November 2nd, 2009
8:44 am

I agree w/ Chris Salzmann. If Obama would have gone, you would have written a blog about how he’s wasting his time.

Brad Jones

November 2nd, 2009
8:48 am

Kyle, perhaps you should wait until you start shaving before trying to write profound opinion pieces.

lmno

November 2nd, 2009
9:07 am

It is not inherently weak to apologize. In fact, acknowledging mistakes is, in general, an excellent way to start a dialogue.

I have no problem with the President of the United States acknowledging mistakes that we, as a country, have made in history.

In fact, it would be a weaker position to ignore them.

Conservative Hypocracy

November 2nd, 2009
9:11 am

I don’t know the exact quote but Fredrick Douglass said that – paraphrasing – a REAL patriot is one who has the maturity and character to examine his nation, question its flaws and address them accordingly …

You people who “won’t apologize for America or its history” are ignorant boobs. If you can’t or won’t realize that throughout history America has committed terrible atrocities around the world and at home, and that’s not revisionist history to “pacify minorities” (what an ignorant statement!!!) then there’s nothing that can be said for your level of stupidity.

America is, I believe, the greatest nation on earth and has done LOTS of good for the world. BUT our President finally stood up and faced up, albeit with just a couple of speeches/remarks, to America’s falicies throughout history. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. In fact, it is admirable. Now let’s re-establish our greatness, address our flaws and move forward.

Don’t be a red-white-blue colored glasses wearing, America-can-do-no-wrong spewing idiot. Show some intellectual capacity to look at things with some degree of objectivity and maturity.

Chris Broe

November 2nd, 2009
9:21 am

Mr. Dork-in-chief, tear down this blog!!

(the penguins go wild).

Left wing management

November 5th, 2009
11:52 am

Where to start here. As usual, this simply illustrates the fact that conservatism, at its most basic, consists of an absolute refusal of critical thinking. Because critical thinking starts with criticism of yourself, and by extension, of your own house, as it were. Which is precisely what conservatives militantly refuse to allow, thereby allying themselves in one important respect with the absolutists and terrorists of various stripes around the globe who brook no critical examination.

The role of a president of the United States, Mr. Wingfield, is not that of a big Chamber of Commerce president, a mere cheerleader as you make it sound. And certainly not when you are representing a country that is in the unique position of being the only one as the world’s only remaining superpower whose relationship with the rest of the world is asymmetric in a double sense as it were. That is, in its immense power it has a disproportionate effect on people all across the globe without those people having any direct say in its policy-making process. The president’s job, therefore, is to try to show some sensitivity to this unusual and disjointed relationship, difficult as that may be. He should neither simply ignore it, nor give way to it entirely, but should find creative ways to work within the confines of the situation. Whether Obama is doing that in an effective way or it, is of course debatable. But it will not work to do as you and your fellow conservatives do and simply whine that he doesn’t unapologetically extol the virtues of the ‘brand’ that is the USA. That brings only contempt, and rightfully so. Equally ineffective is to be simply ashamed of the sins of the USA or embarrassed by the asymmetrical nature of the relationship I referred to, but I’m far from convinced that this is what Obama is doing, whatever you may say to the contrary.

[...] Democrat Chief Executive refused an invitation from Germany’s unified leader to commemorate the moment that ended the mass imprisonment of half the globe by adherents of the socialist ideology of Karl [...]