In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 15, 2008 / 12 Tamuz 5768

Why Does Obama Want To Campaign in Berlin?

By Anne Applebaum

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Odd." That's what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said when told of Barack Obama's plan to deliver a major campaign speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, right where the Berlin Wall used to be, where Ronald Reagan once famously called upon the Soviet Union to "tear down this wall," and not far from where John F. Kennedy once said, "Ich bin ein Berliner" — "I am a Berliner" — to show his solidarity with the citizens of what used to be a divided city. One can see her point. We would find it odd if foreign politicians made campaign speeches in front of the Lincoln Memorial or asked to use the Washington Monument as a political backdrop.

But not everyone agreed. "We will prepare a warm welcome for him." That's what Klaus Wowereit, the mayor of Berlin, declared when he heard of Merkel's misgivings. And no wonder. With Obamamania spreading rapidly across Germany — the latest poll shows that 72 percent of Germans want him to win — Wowereit, a Social Democrat, could hardly fail to be enthusiastic about a big, crowd-pleasing outdoor Obama speech. It gives him an opportunity to get in a dig at the center-right chancellor, to promote his city, and to get his picture taken with the most popular American since Elvis.

Though one can understand both sides of what has become a lively little controversy (Brandenburg Gategate?), at a deeper level, both are missing the point. The truth is that not only the Germans but foreigners in general should be delighted in principle by the Obama plan, however awkward it may be in practice. And they should be delighted not because of the publicity it will bring Berlin's mayor, but because of what it says about America's rapidly changing political culture.

To put it bluntly: Since when do American candidates, particularly candidates who are not incumbents, conduct their campaigns abroad? No one I've talked to can think of a real precedent. Yet here we are, just a few months away from the election, and John McCain has just returned from Mexico and Colombia, where he was promoting free trade, inspecting the war on drugs, and, coincidentally, learning the details of the release of the FARC hostages. Even if he quietly drops the Brandenburg Gate idea, Obama is still planning meetings with French and British leaders, as well as at least one speech in front of a large crowd of foreigners. This wouldn't be happening — couldn't be happening — unless the campaign staffs didn't reckon that "abroad" matters at some level to American voters.

Of course, we're still a long way from a U.S. presidential debate on the question of Moldova's territorial integrity or the Congolese peace process. But, clearly, at least some Americans care a lot about how their country is perceived abroad, and they are aware of the damage to America's image done by the current administration. All blustering aside — and, yes, I do realize that you don't want everybody to like you all the time — this is largely a good thing: It matters how America is perceived abroad, and not just because it's nice to be popular. When America and American values are admired in other countries, American politicians have more influence on foreign affairs.

It's also useful for American voters to spend some time thinking about how their president will be perceived abroad, because that's where he's going to be spending a lot of his time, like it or not. Bill Clinton was a domestic-policy wonk who wound up trying to negotiate peace in the Middle East. George W. Bush wanted to do immigration reform and Social Security and wound up doing Iraq. If Obama or McCain is going to be preoccupied by foreigners, perhaps it's not a bad idea for both of them to prove they can cope.

I don't want to exaggerate this change: The traditionally large gap between what American voters want from their president ("It's the economy, stupid") and what their president actually does much of the time (foreign policy) will surely remain. Indeed, it may turn out that the Obama campaign is mistaken in assuming American voters will like seeing their candidate in front of a foreign backdrop. Perhaps they'll be offended.

Nevertheless, it's worth pausing to note this cultural moment, however temporary. I don't think anyone ever predicted that the Brandenburg Gate — built by Friedrich Wilhelm II, mutilated by Napoleon, admired by the Nazis, and stranded on the East-West border during the Cold War — would someday be considered a mainstream American political cliché, an acceptable campaign backdrop on a par with New Hampshire diners and the national parks, by anybody's campaign staff. Foreign-policy mavens everywhere, savor this moment while it lasts.

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.

Gulag: A History  

Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. JWR's Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion Sales help fund JWR.

Comment on JWR contributor Anne Applebaum's column by clicking here.


07/01/08: Citizen Athletes: How did a guy who can't speak Polish end up scoring Poland's only goal of Euro 2008?
06/24/08: Why do we expect presidential candidates to be kind?
06/17/08: Pity the Poor Eurocrats
06/12/08: Is the World Ready for a Black American President?
05/28/08: The Busiest Generation: America seems to value its children's status and achievements over their happiness
05/20/08: Leave Hitler Out of It: The craze for injecting the Nazis into political debate must end
05/13/08: A Drastic Remedy: The case for intervention in Burma
05/07/08: A Warning Shot From Moscow?
04/23/08: Radio to stay tuned to
04/17/08: China learns the price of a few weeks of global attention
04/01/08: Head scarves are potent political symbols
03/26/08: The Olympics are the perfect place for a protest
03/19/08: Could Tibet bring down modern China?
03/12/08: Have political autobiographies made us more susceptible to fake memoirs?
03/05/08: Why does Russia bother to hold elections?
02/20/08: Kosovo is a textbook example of the law of unintended consequences
02/06/08: A Craven Canterbury Tale
02/06/08: French prez' whirlwind romance reminds voters of his political recklessness

© 2008, Anne Applebaum