It is pretty clear why the president is refusing to accept the personal invitation of the German chancellor and attend festivities marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
It would smack of American triumphalism – our success in defeating perhaps the most odious of all the odious ideologies of the 20th century. Obama doesn’t do “triumphalism.” That would place America above other nations – something that he has explicitly condemned.
So he will be conspicuous by his absence. And another European ally has been embarrassed by this president. Rick Richman of Contentions adds this:
President Obama has reportedly informed the German government that he will not travel to Berlin on November 9 to participate in the 20th-anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is an unfortunate decision on multiple counts.
First, it is another slight to another European ally – one that is going all-out to celebrate the event. The invitation to Obama was extended personally by Chancellor Angela Merkel last June.
Second, it is a failure to correct the historical misstatement of his citizen-of-the-world address last year in Berlin, when he credited the fall of the wall to the “world standing as one” and failed even to mention the names of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
Third, it is an embarrassment for the United States not to be represented at the highest level for the commemoration of an event of this magnitude. As Matt Welch writes in the November issue of Reason magazine, November 1989 was “the most liberating month of arguably the most liberating year in human history” – the end of the Soviet Union and communism in Europe and a 50-year Cold War that was a worldwide ideological battle. It was battle led by America.
Fourth, it is an opportunity for Obama to give a speech in which he does not apologize for his country but celebrates the triumph of freedom that has been the driving force of American history from its beginning through his own election.
Perhaps the president is also still enamored of the idea that if he doesn’t offend the Mighty Putin, he can entice the iron man of Russia to support sanctions on Iran. One can imagine what the former KGB official thinks of these celebrations. By staying away, Obama once again grovels at Putin’s feet, looking for favors that will not be forthcoming.
We better get used to this idea that the president is voluntarily choosing to eschew any thought of American exceptionalism while deliberately weakening America in order to make us no more important in the international order than Sweden.