The man whom Chancellor Angela Merkel calls “dear Barack” was back in Berlin on Saturday, his lanky figure and easy smile a reminder for Germans of a different era that ended not so long ago.
But former President Barack Obama had not come to speak about the past. He came to speak to the future: some 300 young leaders from across Europe, who had gathered for a town hall-style meeting in the German capital.
It did not take long for Mr. Obama to touch on one of his main concerns — and the reason he had come to what he called “the heart of Europe.”
Europe, Mr. Obama suggested, is one of the main battlefields between liberal democracy and far-right populism.
“Nationalism, particularly on the far right, is re-emerging,” he told a packed auditorium. “We know where that leads. Europe knows better than anyone where that leads.”
“It leads to conflict, bloodshed and catastrophe,” he said.
This past week was the tenth anniversary of Obama’s speech in Prague on nuclear disarmament. Here’s the transcript and also a video.