ForeignPolicy: Four years after Barack Obama's landmark Berlin speech, the transatlantic alliance is fading fast. What went wrong?

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    Jul 26, 2012 7:21 PM GMT
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/07/24/the_end_of_the_affair

    John McCain may have called Barack Obama the biggest celebrity in the world, but the place that has held the U.S. president closest to its collective heart has always been Europe. When he took to the stage in Berlin on July 24, 2008, a crowd of 200,000 Germans abandoned their usual reserve to flood screaming and cheering into the Tiergarten.

    They came to see an aspiring American president give flesh to all of Europe's fantasies about American leadership: multiethnic and multilateral; pragmatic and peacefully minded; social democratic in his goals and so eloquent in their expression. Obama promised to purge the sins of George W. Bush and give new impetus to the alliance for a new century. "America has no better partner than Europe" he said.

    The paradox is that while Obama successfully healed the transatlantic rift, he may also be the American president who presided over the end of the West as a political community.

    Four years on from Berlin, Obama would still trade his approval ratings in any European country with those in his native United States. In June, the Pew Global Attitudes Survey showed that nine out of 10 voters in France (92 percent) and Germany (89 percent) would like to see him reelected, as would large majorities in Britain (73 percent), Spain (71 percent), Italy (69 percent) and the Czech Republic (67 percent). And at a tactical level, Europeans and Americans are cooperating more closely -- on a range of issues from Iran to Syria -- than they have for many years. Even when they disagree, they do so with civility and a surprising absence of rancor.

    But Obama's stellar personal ratings in Europe hide the fact that the Western alliance has never loomed smaller in the imagination of policymakers on either side of the Atlantic.

    Seen from Washington, there is not a single problem in the world to be looked at primarily through a transatlantic prism. Although the administration looks first to Europeans as partners in any of its global endeavors -- from dealing with Iran's nuclear program to stopping genocide in Syria -- it no longer sees the European theater as its core problem or seeks a partnership of equals with Europeans. It was not until the eurozone looked like it might collapse -- threatening to bring down the global economy and with it Obama's chances of reelection -- that the president became truly interested in Europe.

    Conversely, Europeans have never cared less about what the United States thinks. Germany, traditionally among the most Atlanticist of European countries, has led the pack. Many German foreign-policy makers think it was simply a tactical error for Berlin to line up with Moscow and Beijing against Washington on Libya. But there is nothing accidental about the way Berlin has systematically refused even to engage with American concerns over German policy on the euro. During the Bush years, Europeans who were unable to influence the strategy of the White House would give a running commentary on American actions in lieu of a substantive policy. They had no influence in Washington, so they complained. But now, the tables are turned, with Obama passing continual judgment on German policy while Chancellor Angela Merkel stoically refuses to heed his advice. Europeans who for many years were infantilized by the transatlantic alliance, either using sycophancy and self-delusion about a "special relationship" to advance their goals or, in the case of Jacques Chirac's France, pursuing the even more futile goal of balancing American power, have finally come to realize that they can no longer outsource their security or their prosperity to Uncle Sam.
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    Jul 27, 2012 12:16 PM GMT
    Heh - it's sort of funny watching liberals obsessed over a small gaffe with Romney abroad when we have another candidate who has said he is busy visiting all 57 states. Of course it's a bit sad that in reality, the Obama Administration has been a significant negative on the international front when it comes to American interests - and global ones in its kowtowing to despots and dictators.
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    Jul 27, 2012 12:35 PM GMT
    Threads get lost quickly, but this one has excerpts from two articles (Washington Post and Wall Street Journal) that describe the failures in Obama's foreign policies and why the US is not respected. Yours truly added one big disaster that the articles did not include.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2557191
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    Jul 27, 2012 2:22 PM GMT
    BareMusculine said
    riddler78 saidHeh - it's sort of funny watching liberals obsessed over a small gaffe with Romney abroad when we have another candidate who has said he is busy visiting all 57 states. Of course it's a bit sad that in reality, the Obama Administration has been a significant negative on the international front when it comes to American interests - and global ones in its kowtowing to despots and dictators.


    We sort of do have 57 states, all those bases added and everything.
    And how has he been negative with American interests?


    Only in the fevered right-wing imagination.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 27, 2012 4:42 PM GMT
    Gee.... I dunno

    Maybe you should ask Romney to go back to Britain

    He's so good at smoothing things over ... eh? icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 27, 2012 5:06 PM GMT
    Speaking as a Brit and a European, all I can say is Obama's visits seem to have impressed us far more than Romney's has. Romney is like a Reagan clone (minus the charisma), with the diplomacy skills of Nikita Khrushchev

    George Bush dragged Europe into an unnecessary war in Iraq. If any single thing caused a cooling in European-US relations, it was that.
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    Jul 27, 2012 7:59 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 saidSpeaking as a Brit and a European, all I can say is Obama's visits seem to have impressed us far more than Romney's has. Romney is like a Reagan clone (minus the charisma), with the diplomacy skills of Nikita Khrushchev

    George Bush dragged Europe into an unnecessary war in Iraq. If any single thing caused a cooling in European-US relations, it was that.


    Yes and your views I see are so representative of all Brits. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jul 28, 2012 1:11 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Ex_Mil8 saidSpeaking as a Brit and a European, all I can say is Obama's visits seem to have impressed us far more than Romney's has. Romney is like a Reagan clone (minus the charisma), with the diplomacy skills of Nikita Khrushchev

    George Bush dragged Europe into an unnecessary war in Iraq. If any single thing caused a cooling in European-US relations, it was that.


    Yes and your views I see are so representative of all Brits. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Unlike King Tut Socal, I would not presume to represent the views of an entire nation, but I think I am on pretty safe ground in saying Romney made himself about as welcome here as a fart in a space suit.

  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jul 28, 2012 1:26 AM GMT
    Why do you regularly post one person's strongly biased opinion pieces, and try to pass them off as fact ?

    It just makes you look like a liar and a boob.

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