A year ago, the city of Berlin was so important to Barack Obama that he conducted a campaign event there. This year, though, the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin’s most notorious Cold War symbol and the end of the Iron Curtain doesn’t interest the leader of the free world. Der Spiegel reports that Obama has taken a pass on the celebration of the demolition of the Berlin Wall (via HA reader Constantius):
US President Barack Obama has shelved his plans to attend festivities marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will reportedly take his place at the Nov. 9 celebrations.
Germany is going to have to wait longer than expected for US President Barack Obama’s first official visit. Citing government sources in Berlin, Reuters reported on Friday that Obama will not attend the anniversary festivities marking two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The event will take place on Nov. 9 — just two days before Obama embarks on a long-planned trip to Asia on Nov. 11.
According to the German television channel n-tv, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will stand in for the president. It is considered unlikely that her husband, the former President Bill Clinton, will accompany her.
Berlin is going all out for the anniversary, with such luminaries as Kofi Annan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa expected to be in attendance. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing hard to complete ongoing coalition negotiations soon so that her government is fully formed in time for the festivities.
Hot Air readers will remember how Obama treated Berlin … when it was all about Obama:
It’s not the first country in Europe to get snubbed on a war commemoration, either. The White House blew off the Poles and their observance of the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, and then announced that the US would reverse itself on missile defense on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion a fortnight or so later. The Obama administration seems to have a pretty poor sense of history, especially for a group that prides itself on maintaining its international standing.
This case is especially egregious, for two reasons. First, as noted above, Obama used Berlin when he needed to show that he could make America popular abroad. Second, the US played a very large role in helping to bring down that wall, and certainly made it a cause celebre for almost 40 years. Its 20th anniversary should have the American head of state to underscore our part in that history.