About a month ago, in his speech in Berlin, Obama reminded his audience, "[L]ook at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one." It seemed like an innocuous thing to say, but it's the basis for a new round of criticism from McCain.
"There are those who say that our day as the free world's leader has passed, that our moment is waning. They point to the anti-Americanism that is sometimes heard in Europe and elsewhere, and take this as a sign that America no longer has the strength or the moral credibility to lead. The criticisms tend to pass or quiet down when global threats and dangers appear. In times of trouble, free nations of the world still look to America for leadership, because they know the strength of America remains the greatest force for good on this earth."My opponent had the chance to express such confidence in America, when he delivered a much anticipated address in Berlin. He was the picture of confidence, in some ways. But confidence in oneself and confidence in one's country are not the same. And in that speech, Senator Obama left an important point unclear. He suggested that the end of the Cold War proved that there was, quote, 'no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.' Now I missed a few years of the Cold War, as the guest of one of our adversaries, but as I recall the world was deeply divided during the Cold War -- between the side of freedom and the side of tyranny. The Cold War ended not because the world stood "as one," but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership."
Putting aside McCain's not-so-subtle reference to his background as a prisoner of war, again, I'm not at all sure what, exactly, McCain is whining about here.
Indeed, McCain seems to have gotten Obama's speech backwards. Obama talked about taking on global challenges -- counter-terrorism, global warming, counter-proliferation, the international drug trade -- and encouraging Europeans to join with the United States because, "No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them."
Why would a man running to be Leader of the Free World publicly reject the notion of international cooperation on global challenges?
Obama's message in Berlin need not be controversial. We saw an American political leader, addressing Europeans waving American flags, encouraging people everywhere to rally to confront problems we can't resolve on our own. As Obama described it, encouraging our allies to follow our lead ultimately serves our interests, and the interests of free people around the globe.
McCain perceives this as lacking "confidence in America." I'm afraid today's bizarre criticism says more about McCain's twisted worldview than Obama's faith in American strength.