Thursday, July 10, 2008

Brandenburg unt Obama

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel wonders aloud at Sen. Barack Obama's desire to give a speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate in the now unified capital of Germany, Berlin; we should look back at two previous American Presidents who have given historically momentous speeches in Berlin.

First it was President John F. Kennedy who said 'Ich bin ein Berliner!' to tell the Soviet leadership that Berlin was important to American and the West's interests. That it was not some pawn to be easily traded. Who can forget American tanks facing off against a Soviet tanks at Checkpoint Charlie?

Then we have the memorable speech given by President Ronald Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to 'tear down this wall!' that was met by clamorous applause by those who heard it in West Berlin and around the world.

Will Sen. Barack Obama's speech rise to the quality President Kennedy outlined in his 1961 speech about the Berlin Crisis?
I hear it said that West Berlin is militarily untenable. And so was Bastogne. And so, in fact, was Stalingrad. Any dangerous spot is tenable if men -- brave men -- will make it so.

I seriously doubt we will hear any such sterling speech of statecraft. After all Sen. Barack Obama is not President of the United States, just a guy chasing after the office.


Tom said...

Having been in Berlin just a few weeks ago at the sites of the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, I was struck by the historical significance of the events which took place at these places (and others). A visit by an American politician seeking the Presidency just doesn't seem to be on par with the actions of Kennedy or Reagan.

Anna said...

It is very sub-par. A naif aping his betters, Kennedy and Reagan, hoping to be mistaken for such men of stature. The comparison is startling.