Friday, July 18, 2008

Obama's European Photo Op: A study in Irrelevance

Barack Hussein Obama is hoping to stage a well managed photo op with his grand tour of Europe. With the Brandenburg gate in the background, he hopes to bask in the glory of the scattered fragments of the Berlin Wall. Obama hopes to fill the large shoes of Kennedy and Reagan, who also came to Berlin. It should be remembered that the jaded press corps erupted into contemptuous laughter at Reagan's famous "Tear down this wall" speech that was only a few years later heralded as prophetic. In the words of Kennedy, "Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan."
I look at Obama's trip not in the context of politics, but in the context of marketing. There are entertainers who barely achieve a modest success here in America, but thrive abroad. Julio Iglesias, a household word for decades across Europe is not nearly as well known here. Dean Reed , frustrated at the elusiveness of stardom in America, found his fame in the USSR and Eastern Europe. On a more ominous note, the manufacturers of Thalidomide, a drug marketed for morning sickness in the early sixties tired of the American regulatory gauntlet and sold Thalidomide in Europe. Not long afterward, hundreds of children were born to mothers who took the drug during their pregnancy with an array of crippling birth defects.
It is tempting to compare the widespread skepticism of some of the American electorate with the Food and Drug administration of the 1960's and with Europe's contrasting laxity. European voters support Obama by a lopsided majority. Seventy two percent of Germans support him. Similar percentages prevail in other countries in Northern Europe. It is doubtful that they have researched the dangers of an Obama presidency and the deformities he might bring to the American body politic.
Europeans are fond of lecturing America piously on everything from race relations to our image abroad. One would expect a bit of humility from a continent that has seen two world wars in the last century. One would expect silence from those who have major problems with a restive Arab minority that now moves freely across a united Europe. The European Union is in the throes of a population implosion. Its population is shrinking. This is wreaking havoc on their generous social welfare system. The only short term solution is the importation of able bodied workers, who in large numbers want to transplant a fundamentalist variant of Islam to Europe. Much of the rampant crime that plagued New York under Lindsay, Koch and Dinkins is now the scourge of Europe from London to Stockholm, from Paris to Amsterdam. The forces that feed this disorder show no sign of abating. Reasonable solutions have been deemed politically correct. The parties of the right in Europe have been handled a political windfall as they amass votes by simply speaking of reality as seen by the man on the street.
America has done an admirable job of admitting its failures and building a promising future. We are making potentially catastrophic errors with failure to seal our borders. Our energy policy is the incoherent product of partisan strife. On the balance, it should be noted that a citizenry of incredible diversity enjoys statutory equality within its borders. A morally and politically aware populace truly wishes to expand America's economic opportunities to all its citizens. Good people can make a bad system work. Bad people can make a good system work. We have the fourth of July and Memorial Day. Lebanon honours Samir Kuntar, who bashed a little girl's brains in In his name they have declared a national holiday. Lebanon is evil. I can not drown that reality in fancy phrases. With all of its faults America is better. It is ultimately the decency of individuals that ensures the smooth function of government. America a wellspring of such goodness and decency upon which to draw for its future .
It would be far more fitting for the European Union to send a delegation to America to study and to ask questions. Americans are getting to know Obama very well, which is why his margin in the polls over McCain shrinks daily. He will never receive the scrutiny in the European press that he so richly deserves. That is why his trip to Europe is irrelevant. That is why his trip should be ignored.

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