- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Daniel Freifeld of NYU’s Center for Law and Security attended Barack Obama’s speech in Prague yesterday and was kind enough to write up an account of the event for us:
Here at President Obama’s first public speech abroad since being elected President, I found two actors from the hit HBO show “The Wire” standing in the VIP section. Tristan Wilds, who played the heart rending part of Michael Lee, and Andre Royo who played recovering drug addict Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins (seen here with his daughter). They, along with a handful of other actors on location in Prague to film the forthcoming movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, “Red Tails,” took some time off to catch the speech (Lee explained that although the film is set in Italy, director George Lucas chose Prague because it more closely resembles the Italy of World War II than Italy itself does today).
Warm-up music for Obama included a live performance by Druhá Tráva, a Czech bluegrass band, and recorded music by U2, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Kanye West (whose music I doubt would have ever been used to warm up a George W. Bush crowd).
Hanging out off to the side was Obama foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough and senior adviser David Axelrod:
Another interesting note: disparate cheers were heard in the crowd when Obama said “The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against [potential Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile activity],” a statement he immediately hedged by setting Iranian “persistence” as a condition precedent for following through with the proposed radar installations. Recent opinion polls suggest the Czechs are becoming increasingly worried that the installation would unnecessarily antagonize Russia and make Europe less secure, not more. Judging by that tepid response following Obama’s statement, the crowd seemed to be a fair reflection of where Czech opinion is heading on this issue.
Daniel Freifeld is the Director of International Programs at the NYU Center on Law and Security