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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

There are some fine phrases, but I am disappointed overall.

Obama, sadly, felt the need to emphasize his American identity and his love of country.

What else could he be but American? He comes as an American candidate. He sounds like an American. He talks from an American perspective. He didn’t need this weak, saccharine-flavored emphasis.

As far as the love of country, hasn’t the world had enough of American jingoism?

It has been nothing but a source of pain and injury to others, death and destruction on a rather massive scale from the holocaust in Vietnam to the destruction of Iraq.

And there is something painfully embarrassing about the need to tell crowds you love your country. It really reminds me of the urges of Fundamentalist Christians to declare their love of the Lord.

That Puritan strain seems to drench, almost like cheap cologne, much of America’s communications, from info-mercials for mops to policy speeches abroad.

Do other foreign leaders come to America and make featured speeches about their love of Britain or France or China?

At least he spared us a team of baton-twirling girls in red, white, and blue sequined panties.

Obama’s line about finding the future for the children was ghastly stuff. Where do you hide a future?

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On an issue of substance, more troops to Afghanistan, Ms Merkel has already told him no.

Europeans for the most part understand the futility of this American crusade.

And I do think it inevitable that Obama disappoint Europeans, although there will never be the intense antipathy George Bush invites with every utterance.

The Americanism stuff in Berlin only suggests how difficult, almost impossible, it is to be truly different at the top of American politics.

There is a large group of very wealthy and powerful people whose views drive American policy. They have interests in keeping a conservative state at home and an aggressive imperial force abroad.

Presidents come and go, and anyone abroad who thinks they have the power to greatly shift the emphasis of America simply does not understand the country.

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