Friday, July 25, 2008

"By This Foreign Policy Speech Will Future Ones Be Measured"

Booman (Booman Tribune:)
Once again, Bush's glaring failures have opened the door for someone else to step up and do the job that he is singularly incapable of performing.

And, yet, parts of this make me uneasy. I'm all for an American Restoration up to a point. But I'm also firmly convinced that America cannot afford the costs in dollars and security risks that are entailed in being the sole hegemon of the West. We cannot be responsible for carrying the load on anti-proliferation, UN Security Council enforcement, and humanitarian efforts. We need to share more of the load and that involves sharing more of the leadership. Other countries need to increase their capabilities. In return, we need to become more deferential and collaborative. If nothing else, our taxpayers need the relief. But it's more than that. There is a cost to being the leader that goes beyond dollars. We also suffer increased security risks and with that comes pressures that undermine our basic civil liberties. We can be a Republic or an Empire, but I am not sure we can long be both.

Nevertheless, Obama's performance was excellent. And it demonstrated for the first time in a long time just how indispensable American power is in the short-term.
Meteor Blades (Daily Kos):
I think I can reasonably say that I don't see America and especially American foreign policy through rose-colored glasses. And I can guarantee that I will find myself in opposition to aspects of that policy should Obama win the Presidency. Already I have arenas of disagreement with him on foreign policy.

But today, I was given hope for change. It made me proud to be an American.

As with all policy, foreign policy is more than words. Carrying out a new vision, tearing down all those walls and confronting all those problems, whether of genocide or global warming, will be far harder than speaking in the warm sun before an appreciative crowd. But I was inspired today to believe it can happen. Thank you, Senator Obama.
Al Giordano (The Field):
I must offer a critique of the moral equivalency Obama drew between terrorists and poppy growing farmers in Afghanistan (for whom he used the drug-warrior language of "traffickers putting heroin on our streets") but on the other hand I thought the words overall were far more progressive, and shining light upon injustices throughout the world, than anything a US president has said abroad in recent decades. And as the Fox News commentators' stuttering response indicates, he didn't give an inch to those who wanted to portray giving a speech abroad as somehow un-American. That was the major risk of holding the speech there in Berlin, now a risk averted.
Greg Sargent (TPM):
"I know my country has not perfected itself." The line, again, has a hint of a plea; he's asking Europe to forgive America the sins of the Bush years, while insisting that there's nothing incompatible whatsoever between patriotic love of America and caring what the rest of the world thinks of us.

And really, this brings us right back to his candidacy. In a sense, the message of his very presence in Berlin is this: If slavery is the ultimate national sin, then the fact that he's running for president, and very well may win, and is promising the rest of the world a better America if he does win -- well, then all of this would achieve some sort of movement in the direction of that perfection that stubbornly continues to elude us.
Joseph Palermo (Huffington Post):
Obama's appearance in Berlin today shows that it's time for the United States to rejoin the civilized world. That is all he was really saying. His speech shouldn't be overly scrutinized for its content (he spoke diplomatically). Much more important is WHERE he said it and to WHOM. The enormous gathering of over 250,000 Berliners, full of hope and good will, would never have assembled to hear a speech by John McCain. Today, even George W. Bush couldn't pull that many people together in Berlin to protest against him. (He's old news over there).



Blogger telarc said...

Check out this hopeful Obama video from Maria Muldaur’s “Yes We Can!” Tons of friends, too, like Amma, Joan Baez, Jane Fonda, Holly Near, Phoebe Snow, Marianne Williamson, and more.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Howard Martin said...

Thanks. I was a fan of Maria Muldaur back in the Jim Kweskin Jug Band days.

7:40 AM  

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