Notes on Obama’s Great Torpor

Barack Obama’s speech at Moscow’s New Economic School this past Tuesday is an incredibly rich text that warrants reading in full. Below are a few notes on the speech that occur to me. I offer them subject to amplification and correction by readers in the comments:

Obvious omission 1: Lack of any explanation for reason why United States “has been blessed by Russian immigrants”

Obvious omission 2: Lack of any mention of the Soviet pact that immediately preceded “our alliance in the greatest struggle of the last century.”

Russian immigrant to United States whom Obama should have named instead of Alexander Ovechkin: Walter Krivitsky

Number of times he cites his own previous comments or quotes himself: 4

Number of times he invokes his own biography: 2

Number of times he refers to “extremists” or “extremism” instead of “terrorists” and “terrorism”: 3

Number of references to Islam as “a great religion of peace and justice”: 1

Number of passages that echo “We Are the World”: 3

Number of reminders that “words must mean something”: 1

Words that must mean something, but we’re not sure what: “We have seen old hatreds pass, illusions of difference lift, and human destiny in the hands of more human beings.”

Words that must mean something other than what appears to be intended: “Russia has cut its way through time like a mighty river through a canyon, leaving an indelible mark on human history.”

UPDATE: Claudia Rosett capably translates Obama’s Moscow speech:

Obama delivered what is by now familiar as his trademark mix of historical omissions and revisions, sweeping statements about the “arc of history” and phrases of hope, change and moral equivalency. He brought up, yet again, America’s “imperfections,” dismissed as outdated the brand of American moral certitude and leadership that brought victory in World War II and called for collaboration, convergence and partnerships forged on common ground and progress toward a shared future. Call it Brotherhood 2.0….

Rosett’s column has much more of interest on Obama’s speech. Via Instpundit.


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