Obama’s symbolic problem

Barack Obama’s foreign trip is, as multiple press accounts affirm, “aimed at bolstering his foreign policy credentials” (CNN) and “an effort to look presidential on the world stage” (Chicago Tribune). In other words, a symbolic gesture — and it might help Team Obama to choose their symbols wisely:

Barack Obama, when he arrives in Berlin on July 24, will hold his speech at the Siegessäule monument in the heart of the city. . . .
The Siegessäule — or Victory Column — was erected in memory of Prussia’s victories over Denmark (1864), Austria (1866) and France (1870/71). The column originally stood in front of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, but was moved by Adolf Hitler to its current location in 1939 to make way for his planned transformation of Berlin into the Nazi capital “Germania.”
“The Siegessäule in Berlin was moved to where it is now by Adolf Hitler. He saw it as a symbol of German superiority and of the victorious wars against Denmark, Austria and France,” the deputy leader of the Free Democrats, Rainer Brüderle, told Bild am Sonntag. He raised the question as to “whether Barack Obama was advised correctly in his choice of the Siegessäule as the site to hold a speech on his vision for a more cooperative world.”
Andreas Schockenhoff of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats said, “the Siegessäule in Berlin is dedicated to a victory over neighbors who are today our European friends and allies. It is a problematic symbol.”

(Via Hot Air.) Congratulations on your tasteful gesture, Team Obama. Welcome to your Dukakis tank ride. Obama-Eagleton ’08!

UPDATE: Discerning Texan at Astute Bloggers:

I cynically commented the other day that the only thing missing from Obama’s German “rally” was Albert Speer; now I’m not so sure I wasn’t actually on to something…

Directed by Leni Riefenstahl?

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