Let Us Talk

July 24, 2008

Thursday: Obama Has ‘Very Open’ Talks With Germany’s Chancellor Merkel

  Senator Barack Obama has held “very open” talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin; just hours before he is due to give a major speech on US-European relations.

Obama travelled in a motorcade from Berlin’s Tegel airport to a private meeting with Mrs. Merkel at the chancellery, opposite the glass-domed Reichstag parliament building.  Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman said the German leader had “very open” and wide-ranging talks with Senator Obama, touching on foreign policy issues including Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East peace process.

  Their talks also covered the trans-Atlantic economic partnership, climate and energy issues, the state of the global economy and international cooperation to “solve important global questions,” Ulrich Wilhem, Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman, said in a statement.

Merkel and Obama stressed the “great significance of close and friendly German-American relations,” he said, adding that the talks were conducted in “a very good atmosphere”.

Obama paused as he entered the gates of the chancellery to wave at a group of Bavarian teenager school children, whose class happened to be ending its tour of the building.

“We were really close,” an excited Michaela Schmid said. “It was super, a real highlight.”


July 23, 2008

Thursday: Will There Be Cheers For Obama In Europe?

 It is no exaggeration to say that relations with Europe have been among the most egregious, and most avoidable, failures of George W. Bush’s presidency. It was not just his excessive arrogance over Iraq – although that war served to reinforce European hostility.

It wasn’t just one thing about George W. Bush that disconnected him from his European counterparts. It was Bush’s lack of experience and knowledge of the world outside of the United States, it was his obvious lack of interest in how people outside of America perceived the world, it was his arrogance of not even caring to learn, it was his aggressive language, it was his cowboy manners, it was his general way of thinking and the posture he took that all combined to sever relationships with European leaders.

Because of these reasons this trip to Europe is important for Senator Obama.  Obama have rightly identified relations with the populous and national leaders of Europe and the United Kingdom as being very important.

With center-right governments in power in Germany and France, and the Conservatives growing in the U.K. the climate for mending fences between the U.S. and Europe is improving and Obama wants to take advantage of the time and opportunity.

Even though Obama has not been in the U.K. or Europe recently, our cousins across the pond have been keenly watching the 2008 elections and it is Senator Obama who has captured their imagination – other candidates not so much. With his relative youth, his allegorical gifts and the ground-breaking ideas he brings to the table, public opinion polls show that if Europeans had a vote, Barack Obama would be elected President of the United States by 60 points tomorrow.

Even though the decision on November 4 is America’s to make and even though all foreign governments have a duty to observe neutrality in other countries elections, it doesn’t mean that “Obamania” won’t break out in Berlin on Thursday!

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