Today, speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, President Obama paid appropriate tribute to the brave East Germans who rebelled 60 years ago against Communist dictatorship:
"Today, 60 years after they rose up against oppression, we remember the East German heroes of June 17th. When the wall finally came down, it was their dreams that were fulfilled."
But he drew a strange lesson from their uprising:
"Their strength and their passion, their enduring example remind us that for all the power of militaries, for all the authority of governments, it is citizens who choose whether to be defined by a wall, or whether to tear it down."
In 1953, the citizens of East Germany chose freedom. But their uprising failed. It failed because it was repressed by superior power—by armed force, by military might. If you were a 30-year old who sought freedom in 1953, your dream of living in freedom wasn't fulfilled until you were 66. And it was fulfilled in large part because of Western military strength, and in particular Ronald Reagan's military build-up.
So it's not enough for citizens to "choose" freedom or justice. Freedom needs to be backed by strength. Otherwise it loses. Otherwise we see what Leo Strauss called "the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or of justice unable to use the sword.” Contra Obama, the lesson of 1953—and of the Weimar Republic, to which Strauss was referring—is that merely wishing for justice, and seeking freedom, is not enough.
It would pay greater honor to the brave men and women of 1953 to acknowledge this fact.
President Obama spoke to the Israeli people today, at the Jerusalem Convention Center. His remarks moved his administration toward the pre-Obama consensus views of the Clinton and Bush administrations, indeed at several points echoing Bush’s 2008 speech to the Knesset. But he presented a view of the chances for peace with the Palestinians that was far rosier than reality permits—or than he may really believe.
President Barack Obama admitted today in a Virginia speech that he's "become more humble":
"But in order for us to make that happen I'm going to need you. You know, the one thing about being president is, after four years, you get pretty humble. You'd think maybe you wouldn't but actually you become more humble--you realize what you don't know," said Obama.
It's Valentine's Day, and today the Republicans heard President Obama say those three little words they never thought they'd hear: "out of money." While speaking on early childhood education in Decatur, Georgia, the president said, according to the White House transcript:
In his State of the Union Address this evening, President Barack Obama will encourage Congress to adapt a cap and trade plan to deal with climate change. Energy, climate, and taxes are a sizable portion of Obama's speech.
Tonight, the President will deliver the usual boring laundry list of promises about jobs, prosperity, affordable education, wide roads, and a blissful future. And in the morning, millions of Americans will take a harder hit when they buy gasoline, which is, for most of them, not a discretionary purchase.
Fox News reported yesterday that Chuck Hagel, who has been nominated as the next secretary of defense, failed to “disclose at least two recent speeches on the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict” in paperwork filed with the Senate.