June 19, 2013
June 12, 2013
Stephanie Hanes: Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect
Fred Weir: In tweak to US, Russia would 'consider' asylum for Snowden
June 10, 2013
The Kosher Gourmet by Anjali Prasertong: A tart filling so good it might not make it to the crust
June 5, 2013
John Rosemond: Mom, Dad: Talk More and listen less
Egypt court sentences 43 pro-democracy workers to prison
June 3, 2013
Molly Hennessy-Fiske: Military judge to consider letting Fort Hood shooting defendant represent himself
May 29, 2013
Andrew Connelly and Helene Bienvenu: The Little Synagogue that Refused to Die
May 24, 2013
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb: When I didn't so 'humbly disagree'
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
Jewish World Review
July 18, 2008
15 Tamuz, 5768
Spectacle in Berlin
Barack Obama is a man in a hurry. He had barely quieted the criticism of his using the presidential seal with his name on it as a prop for his speeches before he suggested that he wanted to follow Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton to Berlin to make a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. He got a lot of public reminders that Reagan and Clinton waited until they were sworn in to use the famous gate as backdrop.
The history and reflected glory of the Brandenburg Gate has trapped ambitious men before. What was built as an elaborate toll gate to collect from everyone entering and leaving the city quickly became a symbol of national honor. Napoleon marched under it when he entered Berlin in triumph in 1806. He seized the bronze goddess of peace and her chariot, pulled by four horses, from her place atop the gate and took it home to Paris as booty of war. France returned it eight years later, and the Germans gave her a new identity, calling her Victoria, goddess of victory.
When Paris fell to the Nazis in the summer of 1940, the Wehrmacht troops marched through the Brandenburg Gate swathed in swastikas. After Berlin was divided between East and West following the war, the bronze fell into neglect and disrepair, to be restored to monumental glory only when Germany was unified.
Barack Obama wants to bask in a little of that reflected glory, perhaps to ride in his imagination on one of the horses of the goddess of victory. Stung by critics, he dispatched his men to scout for other sites. There are lots to choose from. The restored Reichstag, with its gorgeous glass dome, would make a splendid photo-op, marking the return of democracy to Germany. The new United States Embassy on Pariser Platz is a symbol of renewed U.S.-German relations but George Bush the elder got there first, cutting a red ribbon to open the embassy on the Fourth of July. He also should be wary of the embassy because it resembles a vast bunker with its security requirements, and Berlin has given bunkers a bad name.
Obama could take a short walk from the embassy to pose at "Germania," an exhibition of models of the buildings Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, planned as a grand city to celebrate Nazi triumph after World War II. The Volkshalle, or people's hall, was modeled on Hadrian's Pantheon in Rome, intended as a world capital "comparable only to Egypt, Babylon or Rome." The hall would have been so large that the breath of the spectators would have become moisture to fall as an indoor rain. Sen. Obama could reflect there on how the hot air of big talk sometimes comes to naught.
A speech at the Olympic Stadium would recall the cheers for Jesse Owen, the black runner whose four gold medals in 1936 humiliated Der Fuehrer, mocking his rants of Aryan superiority. Sen. Obama could make the point that using the Olympics to score cheap political points is risky business. (China, take note.)
The senator could find a heroic backdrop at soon-to-close Tempelhof International Airport, nexus of the Berlin Airlift that saved the city's residents from cold and hunger when the Soviets tried to strangle West Berlin into submission in 1948.
The senator's scouts will confront difficulty and irony no matter where they pose him in Berlin. He's not running for office in Germany, and wherever he goes he'll remind thoughtful folks back home that George W. Bush is responsible for the warm relationship with the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama in Berlin might even remind American voters of some of Hillary Clinton's sharp criticism in the primary season, such as her remark that although Sen. Obama had been chairman of a Senate subcommittee on Europe, he never called a single hearing.
Spectacle draws crowds, but it can't replace substance. Merkel offered John McCain equal time in Berlin, but he probably doesn't need it. Aware that spectacle at the Brandenburg Gate might look more like the Nuremberg rally than an American-style political rally, a chastened Obama told The New York Times that he doesn't want the setting to distract from his message. "Our goal is for me to lay out how I think about the next administration's role in rebuilding a trans-Atlantic alliance."
The Europeans are swooning over Barack Obama, and wherever he speaks he'll no doubt stir big crowds. But Europeans still don't vote in our elections. Not yet.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.
Suzanne Fields Archives
© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
David Ray Skinner
Ask Doctor K