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Obama Stresses Security Policy Differences with McCain

In his nomination speech, the Democratic presidential candidate reiterates his commitment to direct diplomacy with Iran and his hawkish position on Pakistan, which I describe at I am also asking whether Obama is an Atlanticist and look forward to your views on Germany's security policy of free-riding.


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David on :

Didn't Barack Obama make it clear in his Berlin speech that, yes, he is committed to repairing the US-Europe alliance? Does that qualify him as an Atlanticist? Hasn't his (and Biden's) response to the Georgia conflict been much more in sync with Europe's?

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Obama and Biden sound tougher on Georgia than most (West) European governments, I believe, but I am ready to be convinced otherwise. I don't have the answer to your other questions, except to say that rhetoric is one thing, policy another. I am hinting once again at Obama's work in the Senate, and yes, I am not going to bring it up again. Endnote: It would be great to have a modern day definition of what it means to be an Atlanticist. Any volunteers? The cold war definitions of Atlanticist are no longer valid, I believe. There are hardly any real Atlanticists left in Europe and the US, I think... What do you think?

John in Michigan, USA on :

You asked for a definition of Atlanticist. We understand that "Western" or "The West" has a certain meaning, even though the countries that can be defined as Western are scattered all over the globe and aren't really West of anything. I suppose the main reason to keep the term Western is because it defines countries and cultures that share the philosophical, artistic, and ethnic heritage of Western Europe. Atlanticist would be defined the same way, the countries that share the heritage of the (North) Atlantic region. We needn't be concerned that some of the emerging Atlanticist countries and regions are not bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps Atlanticism only seems poorly defined because we take so much of it for granted. For example, everybody is all excited about the potential for Russo-German trade. [url=]But Detlef's figures[/url] show that Germany's trade with Atlantic countries is huge compared to the Russian trade. Even if every Russophilic policy currently being debated in Germany were to be approved, it would probably take 10-20 years for Russian trade to grow enough to even catch up to the Atlantic trade (which is also growing, although more slowly). Russian trade would not replace Atlantic trade, it would simply add to it. And trade is only part of the equation. The Atlantic trade both reflects and promotes the shared values, shared institutions, etc. that define Atlanticism. But Atlanticism perhaps is changing. In the bi-polar world, one pretty much had to be an Atlanticist or a non-Atlanticist. Now it is possible to be both an Atlanticist and have other affiliations as well.

Don S on :

Excellent point, Joerg. Perhaps I'm smokin' dope, but sometimes I see Obama's conviction that he cn easily repair the Alliance as overconfidence based upon shallow information. Obama seems to think that because his name isn't Bush, he's a Democrat, will smile more, and has another style - that will be enough to heal the divide. I don't see it at all. I've spent a bit of time the last 3 years on a few of these discussion boards, and seems to me that the divide is quite a bit more fundamental than that. If Obalam wins the problems won't just evaporate when he takes the oath. He will call on Germany to send more troops to Afghanistan - and Germany will reply they they don't have them, that Afghanistan is lost anyway, and why don't you just go away? Like they did with Bush, probably more cordially. They might send another 100 if Obama lets up on something substantive like the Iran trade restrictions.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I have signed up on Atlantic Community and posted about Obama in the comment to [url=]this post[/url]. Also I commented [url=]here[/url] on a previous AR post, which applies to this one as well.

David on :

It seems to me that Angela Merkel has been pretty forceful in her condemnation of Russia, so if there are differences with Obama/Biden they are minimal. I just read this piece: [url=]Merkel Wants to Step up the Pressure on Russia[/url]. Obama's foreign policy team (including Susan Rice and former Sec'y of Defense Bill Perry) has been adamant in stressing engagement with Russia and avoiding Cold War rhetoric.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Off topic, but I want to take a moment and congratulate Sen. Obama for making history as the first African-American Presidential nominee of a major party. It is no small accomplishment.

Joe Noory on :

You're applauding his genetics? It's misplaced. You should thank his parents if that kind of thing matters to you that much.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Not his genetics, which are irrelevant, but his heritage. Granted, it is an adopted (by choice, and later, by marriage) heritage, but it is his nonetheless. He is as African-American as Colin Powell, who made history in a lesser way being Sec. of State, 4th in line for the Presidency.

Dwight on :

I have never thought that there can be any special interests between America and Germany... Interesting post, I haven't read the link yet but think I will like it as well! have a nice day!

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