When they arrived in Strasbourg, the president and first lady Michelle Obama were welcomed by Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Image Credit: Jason Reed of Reuters
Obama Uses Guilt And Poor Reading In France
Barack Obama refers to the Marshall Plan and slams the idea of the pursuit of national sovereignty through the detention of some really bad actors in Cuba in order to gain sympathy for a shared response to the al-Qaeda threat that continues to grow in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In a teleprompter speech delivered in Strasbourg, France that was followed by a “Town Hall” style question and answer period, the 44th President stated, as he did at his speech to open the G20 Conference of nations, the he was not there to lecture … but to listen. The problem with this phrase in the speech is that he went on to lecture the audience on the responsibility to participate in military actions (NATO) and the surrender of leadership of the United States in the areas of free trade. He lectured against the use of trade barriers going forward on the relationships between Europe and the United States, this at a time his Government is looking to pay for the extraordinary expansion of Government Spending and corporate takeovers in key financial and manufacturing industries.
The beauty of a teleprompter speech is that all words will be in front of the reader in the order that the that they are supposed to be delivered … the problem of a teleprompter speech is that there is ample opportunity to have the words scroll slower (or faster) than the reader can speak. In the case of the Strasbourg speech, Barack’s flubs added to the disingenuous nature of his remarks.
In a “you can’t make this up” moment, the first person to ask a question in this hall setting in Strasbourg, France was an American – that’s right, in a hall full of Europeans the first person to a microphone that was being carried by one of the hall’s AV staff was (I am going to call it as I see it) a plant! USA TODAY's Rich Wolf reports from the scene that there are some empty seats in the upper reaches of the arena. He estimates the building is about 80% full. Maybe this is the reason that the first questioner was an American.
"In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world," Obama said, boldly taking aim at the country that just elected him last November. "There have been times where America's showed arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." Image Credit: AP
This example of American leadership excerpted and edited from Bloomberg –
Obama Says U.S., Europe Both Must Change to Bolster Alliance
By Edwin Chen and Hans Nichols, Bloomberg
President Barack Obama said the NATO alliance has been damaged by both past U.S. arrogance and “casual but insidious” anti-Americanism in Europe.
“America is changing, but it cannot be America alone that changes,” Obama told a crowd of about 3,500 students and local residents at the Rhenus Sports Arena in Strasbourg, France, his second stop on an eight-day European trip.
“I’ve come to Europe this week to renew our partnership, one in which America listens and learns from our friends and allies, but where friends and allies bear their share of the burden,” Obama said.
“We are confronting the greatest economic crisis since World War II,” Obama said. “The only way to confront this unprecedented crisis is through unprecedented coordination.”
Obama said that in a speech he’s planning to give in Prague near the end of his trip he will outline his goal of a “world without nuclear weapons.”
The spread of nuclear weapons or the theft of such material “could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet,” he said.
"In recent years, we've allowed our alliance to drift," Obama said in a campaign-style town hall meeting on the France-Germany border city of Strasbourg, ahead of the 60th anniversary NATO summit. Image Credit: Google Maps
This example of American leadership excerpted and edited from Cover It Live, USAToday -
As it happened: Obama town hall in Strasbourg, France
USAToday - Obama town hall in Strasbourg - Cover It Live – 7:25 PM France, 4-3-2009
The president begins his remarks with comments on threats around the world.
"This weekend in Prague I will lay out an agenda that seeks a world without nuclear weapons."
"There have been times when America has shown arrogance ... and been dismissive," toward Europe, Obama says.
But in Europe, he adds, "there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual and divisive."
"On both sides of the Atlantic these attitudes have become all too common," the president continues. "They are not wise and do not represent the truth."
"America is changing, but it cannot be America alone that changes."
"history shows us that we can do improbable, sometimes impossible things."
"Now, we must not give up on one another. We must renew this relationship for a new generation. ... Together I'm confident that we can achieve the promise of a new day."
He's now going to take questions from the audience.
"My French and German are terrible," he admits, but there are translators in the audience.
The first person Obama calls on is from the U.S.
"I did not call on the American on purpose," he jokes.
The woman asks about what he expects his legacy as president will be.
After only two months in office, Obama says, “That's a daunting question.
My first task," he says, is to get the economy moving.”
“The richest nations must have a strategy that recognizes it is not just charity to assist the developing world in feeding children and combating poverty,” Obama says.
"If young men are standing idle ... and feel completely detached and removed from the modern world, they are more likely" to resort to terrorism, he adds.
President Barack Obama's biggest applause lines came from his affirmation of closing the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba, but one wonders how many of these Europeans would applaud if these detainees moved in next door to them?!
American leadership has been replaced with American celebrity here in Carter's Second Term.