Tears in the Tiergarten? Obama is just another politician from the age of spin.

It was fitting that warmonger Obama should make his speech in front of the Siegessaule. This ugly monument to Prussian militarism was moved to its current place and enlarged by the Nazis at the end of the 1930s. The Goddess of Victory sports wings, as if from the Imperial Habsburg eagle. They formed the backdrop to Obama’s message that the American eagle now needs German military support for its wars in Afghanistan and into Pakistan.

It was typical of the Europeans that they welcomed this man on an electoral mission as if he were a cross between a peacenik and a pop star after the warlike Bush years. They were with their media taken in by the show, and failed to listen to the substance. In a way the speech was a studied slight to Germany, as it was clearly intended for American eyes and ears, not for those patiently listening beneath the Victory column. It was understandably critical of the lack of German support for NATO in Afghanistan to impress the Republicans back home, on the basis that the alliance is committed to this long and difficult war, but it is mainly American and British troops who are dying there. It set out to show Americans that the Senator can draw a crowd of seemingly friendly Europeans, after the Bush years of tension with the leftwards inclining chattering classes of the EU.

To me it revealed how Obama will not be a force for change , despite the promises. He came over as a cynical politician speaking above an audience so his spin doctors could project him in the way they choose to the folks back home. He made it clear he is as committed to war in the Middle East as Bush, and wishes to draw more troops and more countries into the conflict. There was no statement of war aims, no understanding of how they might win, no recognition that trying to contain a terrorist movement by occupying successive countries where they might hide is not necessarily to way to stop them. In short there was no new thinking, and no hint that lessons had been learned.

Many in the German audience heard the bit they wanted to hear – withdrawal from Iraq – whilst ignoring the rest of the message – the war goes on elsewhere as if nothing had changed. To those of us who think the whole war on terror was misconceived, this was not the message of change we wanted. This was another politician from the age of spin who may be good at that, but who has nothing new to offer that will help the world he claims to love. I felt all that was lacking was a cue for the American eagle to join him beneath the Golden Goddess of war, and for the Pentagon endorsements to roll as the film came to an end.

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4 Comments

  1. mikestallard
    Posted July 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    The British got rather big headed after the Crimean War and this led to several fairly unnecessary wars in Africa and the North West Frontier. War became rather fun – a bit like football really – except that we were Premier league and the others were pretty much local teams. (Gordon at Khartoum?)
    And then the First World War sprung, quite unexpectedly out of the undergrowth like a hungry lion.

    I wonder, myself, if the USA is not at the same sort of stage in their development? I would compare the end of the Cold War to the Crimean, myself.
    And I quite agree, Senator Obama does not seem to be the man to reverse the trend.

  2. johnnydub
    Posted July 25, 2008 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    I'm disappointed in you John; I wouldn't normally accuse you of having a narrow vision.

    Pakistan is the single biggest issue in World security… not Iran.
    Where are al queda based.. where are the training camps.. which is the only nuclear country on the verge of civil war and failed statehood? Which other country would concede it's territory to Muslin extremists, and use them to carry out a genocide on another group with a seperatist agenda?

    Iran are nasty.. but predictably so… The world has to deal with their prioxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, but these goals are understood, if incredibly difficult to achieve.

    Whereas Pakistan is a far more dangerous conundrum. You've seen the huge damage that one rogue scientist achieved in spreading nuclear intelligence round the world.. Now imagine a failed state with scientists selling their knowledge for a new home… Why worry about Iran potentially building a bomb for terrorists when that scenario is much more likely today in Waziristan…. What happens if a bunch of extremist loons from Pakistan get a nuke onto Indian/ kashmiri soil?

    WHat Obama is doing is preparing the US and the rest of the world that they're going to have troops in the field for a long time to come, but in the right field tackling the right enemy.

    McCain in backing a war which was about the establishement of a 21st Century Saudi Arabia in terms of a rich pliant oil profit extravanganza in the Middle East (after that county became far too disrupted). He is committing a sin just as mortal as bush in starting it, maybe more so as with his experience you'd have thought his soul would clearly drive him to ensure that american (and british) boys would not be killed in an economic profit grab for the oil cabal.

    Finally, as long as we're in Iraq, we're in absolutely no position to tackle Iran should that situation escalate.. and the possiblity of an Israeli air attack rushed through before Obama's potential inauguration should keep us all awake at night.

    Bottom line, Obama is giving a clear, consistent and morally justified road map going forward… McCain has thrown away the majority of his so called values he ran on as the maverick previously, to embrace the core Neocon bible which has got us into the incredible mess.

    Yes Obama is slick. But he isn't Tony Blair. There's a moral character in the man. I would implore you to reappraise him.

  3. Freeborn John
    Posted July 25, 2008 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I remember my O-level history teacher telling me that there were only 3 British prime ministers in the 20th century who ever changed anything; Lloyd George, Clement Atlee and Margaret Thatcher. “All the rest managed the status quo” he told me. Tony Blair mentioned the word “radical” more than anyone I ever heard but he and Gordon Brown seem to have been content with a ‘managed decline’ of the legacy they inherited. Obama talks about ‘hope’ and ‘change’ even more than Blair talked ‘radical’ but I have a feeling that status-quo is what he is offering. It is curious that electorates seem to like the sound of radical change so long as they know it is not really on offer.

  4. average joe
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Nasty piece, John. You are normally a reasonable fellow but not on this ocassion.
    Obama is going to give McCain a good hiding.
    Get used to it.
    To describe Obama as a warmonger is a ridiculous statement, I just don't understand where you are coming from.
    Could it be you are upset on behalf of McCain? The only reason he was chosen as the Republican candidate was because the Republicans know they haven't got a hope of winning.
    Politically the current Conservative leadership is closer to Obama than McCain.
    Thank God.

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  • By obama military on July 25, 2008 at 8:20 am

    […] place and enlarged by the Nazis at the end of the 1930s. The Goddess of Victory sports wings, as ihttp://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/2008/07/25/tears-in-the-tiergarten-obama-is-just-another-politician…Remarks of Senator Barack Obama on the Military Commission Legislation …About Sen. Obama. News […]

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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