Germans love Obama -- but does it matter?

Written by Reg Henry on .


Last week, with his usual vacuousness, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer told us how presumptuous Barack Obama was because he was going to be speaking at the Brandenburg Gate and the Democratic candidate didn't understand "that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn."
Then he spoke at the Brandenburg Gate and 200,000 Germans turned up and were wowed. Apparently, they thought that Obama had every right to be there - and as it is their gate, and not Charles Krauthammer's, they were in a better position to know.
But does it matter that everywhere he goes foreigners have greeted him enthusiastically? They can't vote, after all.
It does matter. In a perverse way, it was George Bush who gave Obama the right to speak at the gate. People in foreign countries, just like many Americans, have been repelled by Bush's arrogant and reckless behavior for nearly eight years. They embrace the idea that America at last may elect someone different, someone who isn't a disgrace to a great nation that in their hearts they want to love.
Of course, John McCain may yet win the presidency (among those who can vote he isn't far behind, according to polls) but as McBush he won't win the hearts and minds of the world.  He could go to the Brandenburg Gate himself and see how many friendly people turn up. My guess would be only the curious or the hostile.
Yes, Germans can't vote in this election. But long ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence with "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind."
Those who dismiss Obama's popularity on this trip should also have a decent respect for mankind's opinions. Without them, America can stay in Iraq for 100 years and still lose the War on Terror - to name just one thing that needs international support to eventually succeed.










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