In his appearance before employees of the CIA Monday — part inspirational, part pep rally — Mr. Obama held forth on the need to improve our image in the world, and on how in adhering to this great nation’s principles of justice and right we could only be made safer. He was here to assure the employees of the CIA of his support, to explain, again, the release of those memos. And to describe, as he did, with some eloquence, how great and exceptional a democracy we were.
That no such estimation of the United States managed to infiltrate the content or tone of the president’s remarks during his European tour — nary a hint — we know, and it is not surprising. He had gone to Europe not as the voice of his nation, but as a missionary with a message of atonement for its errors. Which were, as he perceived them — arrogance, dismissiveness, Guantanamo, deficiencies in its attitudes toward the Muslim world, and the presidency of Harry Truman and his decision to drop the atomic bomb, which ended World War II.
No sitting American president had ever delivered indictments of this kind while abroad, or for that matter at home, or been so ostentatiously modest about the character and accomplishment of the nation he led. He was mediator, an agent of change, a judge, apportioning blame — and he was above the battle.
Please do read the whole thing. I haven’t enough time this morning to comment much on this piece, but I thought it was important to point out.