The Obama World Apology tour never seems to end, does it? Although over time, it has morphed from apologizing for perceived wrongs committed against poor little rest of the world by mean old America, into simply apologizing for mean old America existing in the first place. At every step this administration eschews the idea of American leadership and declares the virtue of world governing bodies. The latest is a soundbyte doozy though.
Eyeblast has video of Vice President Biden with the latest bit of obsequiousness in a speech delivered to the European Union earlier this month. If you haven’t time to watch I’ll summarize for you. “Some people say America leads the free world. But you know what has two thumbs and disagrees? This guy.”
“As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the “capital of the free world.” But it seems to me that this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.”
Sometimes when presidents are elected, they siphon off old vestiges of previous administrations. Perhaps they discard a rarely used perk or discontinue a tradition such as the playing of “Hail to the Chief.” But never has this nation seen an administration treat the idea of American exceptionalism in the same manner you would a used Oval Office carpet. Sure, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden recognize that America was once the leader of the free world, they simply think that the line of thinking is something to be admired in a museum, taught in history books, but practiced no longer.
How exactly would Brussels claim that status? Do they spend massive amounts of money defending the free world and policing the trade routes of the world? In Afghanistan, do they play a primary or even secondary combat role in the most obvious Western effort to defend liberty against its enemies? Not exactly. The US still picks up the tab for most of those efforts, as it has for the last sixty-five years. If we hadn’t done so, there wouldn’t be an EU in the form it takes today, and if we stopped, it’s likely that the EU wouldn’t survive under the economic pressures of providing for its own security.
For a little contrast, check out this firebrand British politician ranting at the EU for having a “loathing for the very concept of the existence of nation states.” I don’t know what set that guy off, but it was awesome to watch regardless. “Pretty much a non-country”? BURN!
Anyway, here is the full Biden speech for context:
Mr. President, thank you for that welcome. It was a delight to have you in Washington and at the White House. And it’s a great honor – and I might add, a privilege – to be able to address such an esteemed body. I served in a parliament that only had 535 members total. This is even a greater honor.When President Reagan – I remember President Reagan’s speech here in 1985, and to quote an Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, speaking of his Ireland in a poem called “Easter Sunday, 1916? he said, “All has changed, changed utterly. A terrible beauty has been born.” Much has changed since 1985. Much has changed, and a terrible beauty has been born.
As you already know, ladies and gentlemen, not only am I pleased to be back here in Brussels for the second time as Vice President – as you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the “capital of the free world.” But it seems to me that this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.
As a lawmaker for more than 36 years in our Parliament, I feel particularly honored to address the European Parliament. President Obama and I were the first running mates in the last 50 years in America to make it to the White House from our legislative bodies. So we both come to our executive jobs with a deep appreciation for the work you do here in the bastion of European democracy.
Together with my former colleagues in the United States Congress, you and I represent more than 800 million people. Stop and think about that for a moment: two elected bodies that shape the laws for almost one-eighth of the planet’s population. That’s truly remarkable.
And now under the Lisbon Treaty, you’ve taken on more powers and a broader responsibility that comes with that increased influence. And we welcome it. We welcome that, because we, the United States, need strong allies and alliances to help us tackle the problems of the 21st century, many of which are the same but so many are different than the last century.
Let me state it as plainly as I can: The Obama-Biden administration has no doubt about the need for and strongly supports a vibrant European Union. We believe it’s absolutely essential to American prosperity and long-term security. So have no doubt about that.
When I chaired the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee for all those years, I had the opportunity to meet many European lawmakers from the national legislative bodies, including some of you who are in this room today. So I appreciate – after all those years, I appreciate what a consequential step it has been to build the only multinational parliament in the world elected by universal suffrage. So much has changed.
And I’m pleased that through the – through the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue, you are building a strong relationship with the United States Congress. And I hope that the office you opened in Washington last month is going to enhance those ties.
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