- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2009

‘DEAR BARACK’

The foreign minister of Germany this week issued a gushing tribute to President-elect Barack Obama, praising his “courage,” calling his campaign “thrilling” and citing his victory speech as “music to our ears!”

“You rekindled the American dream for which countless people the world over have admired your country for more than 200 years, the dream of a society that has the power to change, that is open to new ideas and that gives those with courage room to take their destiny into their own hands,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote in an open letter to Mr. Obama.

Mr. Steinmeier, a socialist who plans to challenge conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel in September elections, said he shares many of Mr. Obama’s goals like shutting the U.S. “prison camp” for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, promoting global “climate protection” policies, eliminating nuclear weapons, opening talks with Iran and stabilizing Afghanistan and Iraq.

He also makes an indirect reference to charges that the Bush administration violated civil liberties in the war on terrorism.

“Every country has a duty to defend its values, security and the safety of its citizens,” Mr. Steinmeier said. “But no battle, even one against terrorism, is worth undermining the achievements of our own civilization, thus compromising democracy and the rule of law.”

The foreign minister declared his joy over the approaching presidential inauguration.

“I am now 53 years of age and never before to my recollection has there been such a feeling of hope and confidence about the inauguration of a U.S. president, not only here in Germany but worldwide,” he wrote in his message printed on two full pages Sunday in the German news magazine, Der Spiegel.

“The expectations placed in you are almost beyond human dimension, and the challenges you will face from day one are huge: a still-fragile financial system, an economy heading for recession and an uncertain, changing world.”

Mr. Steinmeier, whose paean was distributed by e-mail by the German Embassy, also said he was enthralled by Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, especially his visit to Berlin in July.

“Your campaign was thrilling,” the foreign minister wrote. “You gave people in the U.S. and beyond enthusiasm for a new start toward a shared future. You want to act in a spirit of partnership and to embark on a new course. …

“Dear Barack Obama, you are part of a new generation. … Like no one else, you stand for change and a new beginning for your country, for social and ecological modernization, for greater opportunities through education, for a fairer health system, for a society where no one is left behind, for determined action in a crisis.”

Mr. Steinmeier noted that Mr. Obama’s victory speech “was directed not only toward America, but toward the whole world.”

“That,” he added, “is music to our ears!”

OBAMA IN POLISH

Obamamania has struck the Polish Embassy.

Ambassador Robert Kupiecki has invited guests to a reception Friday to meet Christopher von Marshall, the Washington correspondent for the German newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, or Daily Mirror, and author of a new biography of President-elect Barack Obama.

The invitation notes that Mr. von Marshall was a “witness of Obama’s election campaign” and “author of ‘Barack Obama, Czarnoskory Kennedy.” The title translates into English as “Barack Obama, Black Kennedy.”

The invitation adds that the book is “the only biography of Barack Obama in Polish.”

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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