Posts Tagged ‘Berlin Wall’
November 13th, 2009 at 5:12 pm
Our Dour Leader

While touring Asia, President Barack Obama continued his recent backhanding of the international community. Last week it was failing to attend the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall falling. Today, it’s telling Asian markets to perish the thought of relying on future American spending.

President Barack Obama has come halfway around the world to personally deliver the message to East Asia that the global economy can no longer count on the U.S. consumer to keep it afloat.

In what White House aides call a “major address” here on Friday, and in planned comments in Singapore and China next week, Mr. Obama will press his push to “rebalance” the world’s economy, urging China to adjust its economic policy to spur domestic consumption as the U.S. encourages less consumption, more savings and more exports.”

But perhaps the news isn’t all bad for Asian exporters.  With the increasing purchasing power of the federal government under Obama’s rapacious domestic agenda, Asian businesses will soon be able to find a new buyer for their goods: the all-encompassing federal bureaucracy!

November 8th, 2009 at 3:48 am
Ich Bin Indifferent
Posted by Print

Back before he took his oath of office, there were moments when Barack Obama seemed to have an intellectual clarity that occasionally allowed him to transcend partisanship. One such moment came in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal’s editorial board during the 2008 presidential primaries, when he made the (utterly true) claim that Ronald Reagan had been a transformative president in a way that figures such as Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton had not.

Of course, the fact that Obama wasn’t praising the content of Reagan’s legacy was obvious at the time.  Long before he was praising the virtues of Whole Foods arugula to Iowa caucus-goers (denizens of a state without a single Whole Foods location), The One was a Columbia undergraduate sympathetic to the nuclear freeze movement that thought Reagan was Dr. Strangelove with Pomade.  So this is a man who has never been a fellow-traveler with us Reaganites.

That being said, there are certain times when presidential grace requires biting history’s bullet (especially when it’s in service of a noble cause).  Thus, President Obama’s decision to snub Germany’s invitation to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s demise is as petty as it is revealing.

Two decades ago, the world witnessed the parting shots of perhaps the most protracted struggle between liberty and tyranny in human history. That this victory was achieved without any actual shots owes to the man that Obama once rightly recognized as transformational.  Yet while Obama was able to take time out of his presidential campaign to visit a Germany eager to enshrine him as a golden calf, he can’t find room in his day-planner for a return trip to celebrate the greatest human liberation of the 20th century.

Being wrong about the Cold War in the 1980s can be chalked up to an honest mistake fueled by a lack of intellectual sophistication. Being wrong about it 20 years later ought to disqualify you from any public office … let alone the highest in the land.

November 5th, 2009 at 5:48 pm
More Oval Office Dithering?

What if suddenly, after eight years of a “cowboy presidency” and the election of a worldly, foreign policy-hesitant President, America’s biggest nemesis voluntarily offered to deescalate tensions? As the Obama Administration waits for such a breakthrough moment with North Korea, Iran, Hamas, Sudan, Venezuela, and others, a new article in Foreign Policy by David E. Hoffman analyzes the actions of a different man in a similar moment.

Hoffman’s primary criticism of President George H. W. Bush during the tumultuous year of 1989 is that he failed to appreciate the scale and speed of change inside the Soviet Union. On more than one occasion, Bush took a cautious, wait-and-see approach when evaluating Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev’s liberalization programs of perestroika and glasnost. It literally took the Berlin Wall falling down before Bush convinced himself that Gorbachev was serious about implementing fundamental changes both inside and outside Russia.

The title of the article, “1989: The Lost Year,” reflects the missed opportunities that, if realized and acted on, could have led to a much smoother Soviet transition from orthodox communism. Would President Obama be able to distinguish real reforms from empty platitudes, or would he make the same mistakes as Bush Senior? For all of the current president’s stubbornness in ramming through his domestic agenda, he’s shown a conspicuous lack of clarity when it comes to foreign affairs. From urging restraint during the Russian invasion of Georgia to dithering on Afghanistan troop levels, Obama shows signs of being caught off guard in the unlikely event his overtures to America’s enemies actually work.

October 31st, 2009 at 10:36 am
How the Berlin Wall Was Actually Opened

There is a fascinating story in today’s Washington Post describing the events that led up to the opening of the Berlin Wall. Although there were many well-documented causes, particular events and their sequence of occurrence had much to do with making November 9, 1989, the day the most visible barrier to human freedom fell. An excerpt:

Even the exact hour mattered: The wall opened when many East German political and military leaders were sequestered in meetings, and many significant Soviet leaders — because of the time difference — were already asleep. What if they’d had time to fortify the borders before the flood of people arrived? As it was, none of them could mount an immediate response, and soon it was too late to undo the events of the evening.

We like to think that all great events have great causes, and obviously long-term political, economic and military forces shaped the Cold War — and how it ended. But momentous events are also a sort of ambush of history, when all those long-term pressures come together in an unexpected way. The opening of the Berlin Wall, largely unintentional, was such an event, an unsettling thought for those who see history as the result of strategy and planning by pivotal leaders.

If only a few things had been different, we might not have such happy memories to celebrate next week. But thanks to the mumbling of a sleep-deprived East German official, some overzealous Western reporting and the willingness of East Germans to risk a trip to the wall, the Cold War reached a swift and peaceful conclusion.”

Read the entire article here.

October 21st, 2009 at 9:33 am
Peace at Any Price

Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal posted a great piece comparing (or rather, contrasting) President Barack Obama’s words and record on human rights. From President Obama’s recent decision to cancel an appearance at the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to his extending money-laden olive branches to Sudan and Burma, the candidate of hope and change is summing up to be depressingly less than foreign democracy advocates anticipated.

Remember the White House’s timidity during the riots and retaliations in Iran earlier this year? There were people agitating for freedom while an American president worried what world opinion would think. Apparently, President Obama made the “right” decision, since his version of “engagement” garnered him a Nobel Peace Prize. It’s too bad that – so far – he’s more interested in securing peace with governments than peace for the people they allegedly serve.