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Obama’s Vision for Renewed Relationship with Europe


via The New York Times

Transcript of Obama’s Berlin speech

It seems to me that after George W. Bush’s disastrous foreign policy, and with our reputation diminished around the world because of it, Obama’s going to reach out to illustrate what a new Democratic president can do to bring about renewal between nations. But in the end, Senator Obama comes to Berlin as a citizen and it’s simply one speech. However, no one can doubt that this is not only an effort of breaking down barriers that Bush built, but establishing a new marker for the next president, if Obama is able to make the sale.

Aides to the Obama campaign have suggested that the speech in Berlin was neither a campaign nor a political event. When a reporter asked the senator if he considered the address a campaign event, he said with a puzzled look: “As opposed to?”

“It’s not a political rally,” he added. “Hopefully, it will be viewed as a substantive, articulation of the relationship I’d like to see between the United States and Europe. I’m hoping to communicate across the Atlantic the value of that relationship and how we need to build on it.”

While Mr. Obama may well be the first American presidential candidate to deliver a speech in Berlin, several presidents have made important addresses in the city, including John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Mr. Obama shrugged off any comparisions.

“They were presidents, I am a citizen,” Mr. Obama said. “But obviously Berlin is representative of the extraordinary success of the post World War II effort to bring the continent together and to bring the West together. Then, later to bring the East and the West together. So I think it’s a natural place to talk.”

What will the reaction be at home? Like it or not, the Obama team has raised the bar with this speech at this setting, especially coming after a week that candidates dream about. For some checking in it could be their first impression; for others another look at a man trying to make history by grabbing a bit of the past and bringing it into the future as comparison. We’ll see how it plays and if the media writes a real review or decides to get even for Obama’s… er… audacity.

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