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Obama-Gate (The Brandenburg Gate, That Is)

The puzzling image of Obama that is currently the subject of passionate debate in America has now reached Germany. Following the leaden Bush years, one would in fact like there to be a youthful, reformist new-start in America, such as Obama incarnates. But when one has a closer look, one begins to have doubts: To what end exactly is this magic of "change" -- the word of the year in the USA -- supposed to be used? Or is it the magic, after all, just a magic of self-promotion?

Obama's foreign policy escapades of the last few weeks have many of his European friends wondering whether one will be able to be as enthusiastic about a President Obama as one is at the moment about the candidate. His latest flip-flops, whether on the Iraq War or the death penalty, give reason to suspect that Obama is a very great showman, but a very limited strategic thinker. He is indeed "amazing."

(Translators note: The original German title of this piece is "Tor Obama." Tor can mean "gate" -- as in the "Brandenburg Gate" [Brandenburger Tor] -- but it can also mean: "fool.")

The above article first appeared here in German on the collective blog Die Achse des Guten [The Axis of Good]. The English translation is by John Rosenthal.

Wolfram Weimer is the editor in chief of the German political monthly Cicero.