In Berlin Obama made a public address, and Bild, Germany’s leading mass-circulation newspaper, compared the event to President John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963.
An examination of the transcript of Obama’s speech indicates that, despite his oft-proclaimed mantra of “change,” he seems to advocate many of the same internationalist positions as the neoconservative Republicans who have dominated U.S. foreign policy during the Bush administration. He proclaimed, “Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for president, but as a citizen — a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.”
After reminding the Germans of the extraordinary effort made by Americans in operating the famous airlift to Berlin after the Soviets cut off land access to the city in 1948, Obama said that Berlin was “where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.” Taking a position that Republicans George W. Bush and John McCain would not disagree with, Obama advocated that NATO’s role be greatly expanded from its original stated goal of defending Europe from the aggression of the now-defunct Soviet Union and that the role include nation building: “The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation.”
Obama opined that the world faces new dangers — from terrorism to global warming — “that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.... No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone.”
Regarding Europe in particular, Obama said: “In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent.” Regarding globalism in general, he claimed: “The burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together.... Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.”