Apparently Obama took TOTUS I and TOTUS II with him to Brussels so he could read a speech to the conference there:
While the president would certainly prefer to heed the polls which show Americans and Europeans are deeply suspicious of the notion that they have a responsibility to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, Obama has not abdicated his role as leader of the free world. Appearing before an audience in Brussels on Wednesday, amid a hastily convened summit of Western nations, Obama delivered an unnecessarily flowery address which he surely hopes will be etched into the history books in much the same way Churchill’s unpopular speech in Fulton was.
The president’s speech spanned generations and continents as he sought to remind the audience of their responsibility to history. Summoning the dormant spirits of duty and obligation, he invoked the trials faced by doughboys in the trenches of Europe and South Africans struggling to bring down the Apartheid government. A handful of modern observers might view these struggles of the 20th century as merely preamble, a sort of adolescent stage of human development which has given way to the enlightened period we now inhabit. But this was unlikely to have been the president’s purpose.
After recapping the great events which shaped the bloodiest century in human history, Obama warned that, in the absence of resolve to meet today’s challenges head-on, the bad old days may not be so old after all.
“I come here and insist we must never take for granted the progress that is won here in Europe and around the world, because the contest of ideas continues,” Obama warned in the most important two minutes of his marathon address in Belgium.
“Russia’s leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident,” he continued, “that in the 21st Century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force. That international law matters. That people and nations can make their own decisions about their future.”
Turning to the apathy which may yet consign Ukrainians to fates determined by Moscow, Obama cautioned that the world may yet construe their interests “narrowly.” He observed that the global economy is not dependent on a free Ukraine and that American and Western European borders are not directly threatened by Russia. “But that kind of casual indifference ignores the lessons that are written in the cemeteries of this continent,” Obama counseled. “It would allow the old way of doing things to regain a foot hold in this young century.”
The message implicit in the president’s address is so unpopular that even he broached it gingerly: that American hegemony has yielded a peace and prosperity unparalleled in history, and we should endeavor to maintain it for as long as possible. Obama laid the foundations of an argument in favor of renewed American engagement to secure the gains the West won after the Cold War. It is a debate that will likely recur throughout the century.
But it will be up to the globe’s thought leaders to make the case that the unstable, multi-polar world which will fill the vacuum left by a retreating America will be more dangerous, more likely to draw military forces into real wars, and make it harder to preserve the unimpeded global commerce which has made Westerners so complacent today. But Obama served his history well when he laid the groundwork for that debate today in Belgium.
That was from Noah Rothman at Mediaite. My reaction was:
Meh. Another Obama speech.
I’m not objecting to anything in particular that Obama said. Frankly, I didn’t even bother to listen or read a transcript. I’m guessing not many people did.
Obama has no credibility left (not that he had much to begin with.) His political capital is gone. He’s like a virgin who can’t get it up on his wedding night. He doesn’t know what to do and couldn’t do it even if he did. The foreign leaders who aren’t ignoring him are laughing at him. He gets no respect from allies or enemies here or abroad.
Ducks don’t get any lamer than Obama. His is a failed presidency. Unfortunately it still has nearly three full years to go.
Somewhere, Jimmy Carter is smiling.