OPINION

Obama is no Kennedy

John O'Neill

Barack Obama enjoys greater popularity in other countries than any president since John F. Kennedy. This popularity was in evidence during Obama’s recent visit to Canada. Led by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, members of Canada’s Parliament were praising Obama with chants of “four more years.”

But in contrast to Kennedy’s popularity in other countries, the popularity Obama commands is rooted in an anti-American strain encouraged by Obama himself. His popularity in Canada is no exception, as the liberal government of Trudeau nurtures an anti-American agenda.

Nor is Obama’s appeal to anti-American sentiment in other countries a new phenomenon. The outpouring of support the world over the night Obama was first elected president in 2008 had much to do with anti-Americanism.

Lest one doubt that Obama encourages this anti-American sentiment, look no further than his speech in Cairo in early 2009 when he indulged Third World grievances against the United States for the former’s self-inflicted wounds. This is in great contrast to Kennedy’s speech in Berlin in the summer of 1963 in which he praised democratic capitalism as superior to the since failed communist experiment.

Shortly before Obama’s visit to Canada, Trudeau admonished Americans for knowing little about other peoples. Implicit in this admonishment was the request for Americans to pay closer attention to Canada.

As the old saying goes, Trudeau should be careful of what he asks for because he might get it. Indeed, if there is anyone Canadians like less than an American who knows nothing about Canada, it’s an American who does know something about Canada.

But Obama said nothing during his recent visit to Canada to refute Trudeau’s insult. Trudeau subscribes to an anti-American agenda and he views Obama as his ideological soul-mate.

Were Obama to get back to the basics of American exceptionalism — an unapologetic view of U.S. power and influence — Americans could then take pride in his popularity in other countries. But Obama revels in anti-American platitudes about U.S. power and influence being the root of the world’s ills.

It might be understandable that Obama is often compared to Kennedy. Obama, like Kennedy, is a young and charismatic president. Also like Kennedy, Obama knocked down an ethnic barrier to the White House.

And like Kennedy, Obama enjoys international popularity. But there is an important contrast between the popularity the world-over that Kennedy enjoyed and that which is enjoyed by Obama. Whereas Kennedy stressed an America to which the world could aspire, Obama sees himself as a friend to movements the world-over which are anti-American in spirit. This is a sentiment which Kennedy would never have indulged.

John O’Neill is a writer in Allen Park.