TNR on Germany’s Obasm: Cheering a ‘Projection’ of their Own Desires

Today’s The New Republic website features an article by Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of the German weekly Die Zeit , about Germany’s wild infatuation with Obama. Joffe argues that 

By vast margins, Germans and Europeans believe in Obama as the Savior & Redeemer who will deliver them from the last eight years of George W.

However, they are bound to be disappointed. Their enthusiasm comes less from a studied analysis on Obama’s positions, and more from a conviction that he will be whatever they would wish for in an American president- a humble believer in post-patriotic multi-nationalist institutions, not in any unique American place in the world.

Joffe finds two reasons why Europeans are in for a surprise:

Barack Obama is possessed of a pliable identity that oscillates between Barry and Barack, between White and Black, between the Harvard Law Review and the Chicago slums, between a leftish voting record in the Senate and a right-of-center message on the stump. He is neither saint nor softie, but the most consummate power politician to come out of Chicago since Richard Daley the Elder. Following classical electoral ritual in the U.S., Obama has been moving steadily to the right, be it on the death penalty, gun control, or Iraq. Europeans haven’t quite processed his pilgrimage to the center, and if they have, they seem not to care.


Sure, President Obama would speak more softly than did Mr. Bush in his first term, but he would still be carrying the biggest stick on earth. He will preside over an America that is still No. 1 and not part of a multipolar chorus populated by Russia, China, India, and the E.U.

Germans should have read the foreign-policy chapter in Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. There are passages in there which read like pure Bush–on unilateralist action, on the right of pre-emption, on playing the world’s “sheriff.” Obama’s upshot: “This will not change–nor should it.” This doesn’t mean more Bushism if Obama is elected. But it is a useful reminder that the U.S. plays in a league of its own–with global interest, with global military means, and with the willingness to use them.

The cheering crowds in Europe tell us more about Europeans than they do about Obama.

For the full article, click here.

2 Responses to TNR on Germany’s Obasm: Cheering a ‘Projection’ of their Own Desires

  1. oao says:

    the problem with obama is that he is hugely ignorant and unaware of it. he confuses charisma with knowledge and reason and has no idea how naive he is when it comes to the politics of the world, let alone the ME ones.

    the ME dictators will have it for lunch, surrounded as he is by anti-semites, multicultis and appeasers.

  2. Joanne, says:

    If anyone thinks that Europeans, especially the Germans, are ga-ga over Obama, this op-ed piece in the New York Times should serve as a corrective:

    It says that Europeans wince at what they see is Obama’s demagoguery and naiveté.

    But read the article; it’s really interesting. And should cure us of our naiveté when we read articles, even if one happens to be by a German publisher who should know better.

    Who knows, maybe it’s Joffe who’s right. Then again, maybe not. Just don’t jump to conclusions after reading one article.

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