Barack Obama left America several days ago on a journey to prove he knew something about world affairs. He secured agreement from Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq that his plan for withdrawal of US forces within 16 months was in accord with thinking of the Iraq government. He presented a picture to Israel of a man who just might be able to help that nation work out its differences with Palestinians. Yesterday, an estimated 200,000 cheering and enthusiastic Berliners roared their approval of the man from America they believe is the exact opposite of the man from Texas. Obama began his speech insisting he was not a politician or a candidate for president, but simply a proud American from a family of immigrants who had made good in the land of democracy. But, he also made certain Berliners knew he understood their city had been a beacon of democracy during the famous Berlin airlift of the 1940s. “In the darkest ours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning.” How could any proud Berliner not roar with approval?
Obama openly stated there is a feeling in Europe his nation no longer listens to the Old World, but he intended as president “to build new bridges” from the new to the old world.
He emphasized, there is need for allies, “who will listen to each other, learn from each others, and, most of all, trust each other.”
Obama also offered challenges to Europeans to help win the war in Afghanistan, help rebuild prosperous Iraq and work to win the war against terrorism. Perhaps, the greatest challenge posed was “to come together to save the planet.”
All in all, it was a speech that aroused enthusiasm and hope among Europeans that America was turning away from the brinkmanship warlike attitude of Bush towards one in which there would be cooperation before any decisions are made regarding world peace or war.