We Get Excited Easily: Habermas on Obama and Human Rights
Jurgen Habermas received the Spanish Brunet Prize for Human Rights recently. He was asked about the implication of Obama's election for human rights. Here is what he said:
"Obama is an American phenomenon. After eight years of Bush, Obama has been a great gift...Something that sets us apart from the Americans is that they have a great willingness to get excited with things. The history of Europe in the twentieth century has been quite complicated, with disasters and dictatorships. Perhaps it is appropriate that here in Europe we are less enthusiastic and have both feet on the ground."
After these last two weeks--in which Obama has adopted the Bush position on not releasing military abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan, has decided to keep the flawed military commissions system for trying detainees in Guantanamo, and has pledged to keep some detainees in permanent preventative detention--maybe we should learn to be more European.