While never overly influenced by what foreigners say about the U.S., its priorities and its leadership, I am always nevertheless interested and sometimes fascinated by the voices from overseas as they observe us. This morning, from German newspaper Der Spiegel:
Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric -- and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.
One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that would be well-received.
Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond "enthusiastically" to the speech. But it didn't help: The soldiers' reception was cool.
One didn't have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearingIt was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.
An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan -- and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war -- and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate.
I don't usually watch a whole Obama speech, as I've never agreed that he's even capable of the "soaring rhetoric" for which he's famous. But I did watch the speech last night, and this morning I'm thinkin' the Germans are very insightful. You can finish reading the observations here: