To Peter's post below, see James V. Schall, SJ, who was so shocked by the President's "remarkably sane address" in Oslo that he even speculated whether he would change his abortion stance. David Brooks heard it as a reflection of Obama's roots in the Christian realism of Reinhold Niebuhr, who is a kind of intellectual great-uncle to today's neo-conservatives. "The Oslo speech was the most profound of his presidency, and maybe his life." Brooks explains: "Other Democrats talk tough in a secular way, but Obama's speeches [at West Point and Oslo] were thoroughly theological. He talked about the 'core struggle of human nature' between love and evil."
As I argued in numerous posts during the 2008 campaign, Obama's autobiographies reveal no deep-seated love for this country. This nihilism has encouraged him to use American principles (as expressed in Lincoln and the Declaration of Independence) to castigate America and even to undermine our own self-interest.
UPDATE: In similar fashion, Damon Linker uses Niebuhr against the neo-cons: Niebuhr abhorred American exceptionalism, he argues.
But I agree with Professor Schall that the speech raises a question (though not on abortion; did Reinhold Niebuhr ever write anything about the subject?): One great American theme concerns the education of the arrogant rookie, the brash youth who learns to respect the veterans' wisdom and uses their virtues to enhance his own talent. It is not too late for Obama to follow that path. That would be a more noble ending than the one he appears careening toward. In the meantime, conservatives need to continue his education.