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A European View of the US Election Campaign

Ulf Gartzke, a visiting scholar at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, writes that many Europeans are captivated by and invested in the outcome of the US presidential election campaign:

In electing a young black politician with a Muslim father, Americans would do something that is pretty much unthinkable in any country in Europe, where politics are traditionally dominated by a white old boy's club (notable exceptions like German chancellor Angela Merkel notwithstanding). In this context, however, Europeans must not forget that Obama (despite having a very Europe-savvy foreign policy team) is not known to be an Atlanticist. Senator Clinton, for her part, has many European admirers dating back to her time in the White House with Bill, who remains a very popular figure in Europe.

According to Gartzke, McCain would be good for Europe as well:

Senator McCain, too, would represent a clear break with several of the Bush administration policies that Europeans find particularly egregious. He would close Guantanamo, ban the torture of U.S. detainees, and, most important, would get serious about the fight against global warming. Furthermore, the decorated war veteran is strongly committed to NATO

Read Gartzke's entire article "If Europe Could Vote" in The Weekly Standard.

Personal comments: I believe Gartzke's views of the presidential candidates are representative for the German policy community, perhaps even for the wider European group of politicians and policy analysts: A preference of Clinton and McCain over Obama.

The German public would elect Barack Obama. According to a Forsa poll from early February, 43 per cent of Germans said that Obama would be a better president, compared to 39 per cent for Hillary Clinton. Interestingly enough, a supporters of the Left party and of the Christian conservatives mostly prefer Clinton, while supporters of the Social Democrats, Free Liberals and the Green Party mostly prefer Obama. (Source is this German Stern article.) Gartze also describes how the European media and "big chunks of public opinion" are gripped by "Obamania."

Reuters reports that Senator Obama urged European nations to step up their efforts in Afghanistan:

"You can't have a situation where the United States is called upon to do the dirty work, or the United States and Britain are called upon to do the dirty work, and nobody else wants to engage in actual firefights with the Taliban."

The Reuters post and many other interesting articles are recommended by our readers and posted in the sidebar on the right. Check it out.

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:

German Paper: "America Remains Model to Emulate"

US Presidential Candidates: Who's Good for Europe?

Clinton Most Likely to Rebuild US-European Alliance

•  Barack Obama's Lack of Real Interest in Transatlantic Cooperation


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Joe Noory on :

Erik Svane noted the same thing [url=]here[/url]. Never mind whatever symbolism a President Obama might represent to Europeans, much less to Americans, it says more about ones' own inability to see past someones' color or gender if their genetic identity is a reason to vote for them. The old joke goes: "marrying a woman for her looks is like buying a house because of the paint." So far, Barack Obama has as much depth as that coat of paint. Moreover his indulging of trade restrictions is bad for Europe and suicide for America.

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