Jan Techau, head of the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Studies at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) wrote an insightful op-ed in July, which is still very relevant. Techau described the European attitude towards the US election campaign:
It is just like when worried parents are wondering what kind of boyfriend their beloved daughter is going to be bringing home this time. It is true that they no longer have any say whatsoever in the choice, but nevertheless they have a very concrete idea of exactly what he should look like.Although most Europeans believe that US voters will decide the future of transatlantic relations on November 4th, it is actually Europe that will determine the meaning, benevolence and usefulness of transatlantic. We have to make up our minds:
The burden of debt, trade deficit, crisis in the financial markets, the dollar exchange rate and recession force the giant [= the United States, ed.] onto a more pragmatic political course, but America will not be able to change its foreign policy as much as many Europeans would like to see. For this reason the question of who would be a more comfortable president for Europe is neither here nor there. The meaning, benevolence, and usefulness of transatlantic relations are in reality actually decided upon in Europe and not in America. It is the Europeans who will have to give up their reluctance in all things concerning global governance. Without robust and sometimes hard contributions to international stability and conflict resolution the world will become an unsafer place, as America becomes (in relative terms) weaker.Read Jan Techau's op-ed: America Votes, but Europe Decides on the Future of Transatlantic Relations.