President Obama found the time to zip over to Copenhagen for the Olympic bid - at the last moment, if we are to believe the reports, yet there is no time for a visit to Berlin on November 9 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He will be winging it to Oslo to pick up a Nobel Peace Prize in December though even he is paying lip service to the fact that he in no way deserves such an award. But, no time for a visit to Berlin.
President Obama appears to enjoy the luxury of Air Force One at his around the clock disposal. He uses it weekly. He jets all around the country, campaigning for fellow Democrats, raising money for Democratic fundraisers. He even buzzes off to NYC for "date night" with Michelle. So, we know he is not adverse to air travel.
Why no Berlin trip, we may ask? True, he didn't acknowledge the seventieth anniversary of the start of the Second World War in Poland. It was a low key ceremony, according to the reports, and was attended by Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. Instead, Obama told the Polish people that he was yanking the plans for the missile defense shield system from them. Poland and central Europe are on their own.
An article by Arthur Chrenkoff at Pajamas Media states: "Obama's no stranger to Berlin, having given a campaign speech there in July last year against the backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate, surrounded by an adoring crowd of 200,000 Germans. But that speech, for all its international content and poetic evocations of Berlin as a beacon of freedom, was really about Obama. Now, when it's about his country and his predecessors, the president will not even vote present. That John F. Kennedy could go to Germany and be "a Berliner" told you all you needed to know about that Democratic administration. That Barack Obama won't do so now sadly tells you all you need to know about the current one."
Perhaps Obama doesn't find anything extraordinary in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Perhaps it's not worthy of celebration, in his world view. Perhaps he would have to acknowledge a Republican president in the process. After all, Obama has proven to be the exact opposite of who he promised he'd be - he is not post partisan, etc.
This ceremony will be a big deal - confirmed guests include Lech Walesa, Kofi Annan, and Mikhail Gorbachev. Joe Biden will be sent from the U.S. Remember when Obama went to Tiergarten in Berlin to do the big "citizen of the world" campaign speech? Maybe he realizes most of the rhetoric of that speech has gone amiss.
Obama hasn't stood up to vicious dictators at all. He turned his back on the people of Iran, the ones risking their lives after the last election. He turned his back as Russia goes more deeply into the tyranny of its past. He didn't meet with the Dalai Lama for fear of offending the Chinese. There is Burma, Sudan, Darfur. He looks uncertain to the world over Afghanistan.
The trip to Berlin would be worth his time.