The sensitivity shown by President Obama in avoiding Berlin and going instead to Dresden and to Buchenwald was at first misinterpreted as a snub to the German Chancellor - an indication of poor relations between the United States and Germany. Yesterday the President rebuked the press for deliberate trouble-making. "Stop it" he said, in so many words.
Dresden is the image of the suffering of Germany in the Second World War. And Buchenwald the name for the destruction of our common humanity. In paying homage to what was lost at Buchenwald, and in visiting the gloriously restored Frauenkirche in the city so shamefully firestormed as Germany lay defeated and undefended, President Obama avoided any pretence that there have not been terrible divisions in peoples and in beliefs, yet asserted that they are capable of being overcome. To have gone to Berlin and then straight to the Normandy invasion beaches would have been as wrong as speaking as he did in Egypt without such a public recognition of what Buchenwald is, and made.
Both Leaders were pleased with their discussions, and gave measured and solid reassurance that the responses of two of the world's most powerful economies to the economic crisis were not opposed. Nor are they disapproving of the other, but informed and responding to analyses of events as they occurred, in consultation. Certainly there are differences but not conflict.
It is a sadness that Mr Brown, in his propaganda operations and from his very nature, has sought to misrepresent the policies being followed by the United States as being led by him, and those in Europe as mistaken and opposed to his 'saving the world'. In attempting to draw his trademark 'lines' and demonise any view other than his own, he does a typical disservice to the United Kingdom's credibility in the outside world.
President Obama would do a great service to England if he would tell Brown to "Stop it" too.
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