But take a look at this review of last night's show-and-tell event at West Point in der Spiegel, the premier German news magazine:
The Magic Is Gone
There's no praise or gloating evident. No support for the course of action chosen or the goals half-heartedly set. In fact, there is ridicule and confusion at the so obvious pandering and self-contradictory message. They were not impressed.
It was as though Obama had taken one of his old campaign speeches and merged it with a text from the library of ex-President George W. Bush. Extremists kill in the name of Islam, he said, before adding that it is one of the "world's great religions." He promised that responsibility for the country's security would soon be transferred to the government of President Hamid Karzai -- a government which he said was "corrupt." The Taliban is dangerous and growing stronger. But "America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars," he added.
When laid out so clearly the see-saw of the Messiah's policy is cause for derision. He wants desperately to be all things to all people and in the process is nothing for anyone. As a campaigner it is an asset to offer something for every voter to feel as though they are a beneficiary. As a leader the responsibility shifts to requiring tough decisions, positive action and the spine to take the consequences of a mis-step if one should occur. Just as a parent must discipline a child rather than accede to every whim of the toddler, so also a leader must be willing to lead.
It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage.
Unfortunately it takes the Germans to tell us this truth.