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Obama might be Europe’s Pied Piper

Tribune Media Services

I remember the first time my wife and I visited Europe and the Middle East. The trip resembled Sen. Obama’s current version of speed travel, but without the entourage, security and network coverage.

Armed with Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on $5 a Day,” we crammed as much as we could into 18-hour days, hitting the museums, art galleries, cathedrals and restaurants.

When the tour ended, we had impressions and a slightly better view of the world.

There is a difference, though, between a view of the world and a worldview.

A view of the world means you might like London and I might prefer Paris, but each preference can be equally valid because it is a matter of individual taste.

A correct worldview is a way of not just looking at other countries and people, but having an intellectual and moral center that allows one to distinguish between good and evil; right and wrong; sound economic, social and political policies and bad ones.

There is a reason America is what it is. The economic power and military might are effects, not causes of America’s greatness.

It is because we offer the lives of our young and much of our fortune to defend liberty for ourselves and promote it for others that we are blessed with liberty.

Too many other countries – especially European countries – receive liberty as America’s gift, but contribute little to it.

This week, Europe will cheer Barack Obama as if he were Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, the commander of Allied troops that liberated Europe from Hitler; or John F. Kennedy before the Brandenburg Gate near the beginning of the Berlin Wall; or Ronald Reagan in the same place near its collapse.

Obama is no Eisenhower, Kennedy or Reagan. He might be more like the Pied Piper, leading Europeans to their doom.

Does Europe believe that if it follows Obama he will lead them away from world conflict? Blind faith in Obama won’t save Europe from war.

Like the wise monkeys of the old Japanese maxim, Europe neither sees nor hears evil. It sees no evil in Iraq or Afghanistan; it sees no evil in the tide of immigration from countries that believe freedom and pluralism are offensive.

Twice, Europe had to be rescued by the United States and protected from the Soviets because it failed to hear the thundering hoofs of approaching evil.

Will Europeans respond if Obama asks them to supply their fair share of troops for NATO or expand their participation from mostly noncombat roles?

Do Obama supporters think he can sweep Europeans off their feet, as he has done to so many Americans?

Maybe, but a difficult period will follow the one-night stand, one that requires commitment and a long-lasting relationship based on an equal partnership. Europe has demonstrated little taste for such commitment in the past.

Obama has 300 foreign policy advisers, many of them veterans of the Clinton administration. Why so many? Perhaps because he is an innocent abroad and, while he may have a rosy view of the world, his worldview needs improvement.

E-mail Cal Thomas at calthomas@tribune.com.


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