An academic tries to make the case that our peripatetic president’s business trips abroad do not constitute an “apology tour,” as some of President Obama’s critics have often alleged.
“Obama always links the expansion of democratic citizenship with economic development and praise of the free market,” Martin J. Medhurst, a professor at Baylor claims in an article which appeared in Citizens and Statesmen last year. Citizens and Statesmen is a journal published by St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. “In Russia, he claimed that ‘the free market is the greatest force for creating and distributing wealth that the world has ever known,’ and that despite being subject to risk, ‘that risk is overwhelmed by opportunity.”
To be sure, that may be the most libertarian quote ever seen from this White House. Professor Medhurst has researched his subject rather exhaustively: He “read and analyzed every speech and news conference that President Obama gave outside of the continental United States from January 2009 through December 2012.”
Nevertheless, Professor Medhurst really has his work cut out for him when arguing that the president is representing the United States rather than making excuses for it. The strain shows in several passages:
- “On a host of issues from securing nuclear materials to climate change to drug trafficking to immigration policy, Obama promised American leadership and cooperation.”
- “And in Cairo, Obama confessed that, ‘in the middle of the cold war, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.’”
- “Not only does he defend American honor, but he calls for a halt to the tendency to blame America first. In a speech to the Summit of the Americas, Obama observed: ‘It’s not just the United States that needs to change.’”