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The Obama Administration's Engagement of Europe

President Obama has made "an unprecedented three trips to Europe during his first six months in office (including heavy lifts in Turkey and Russia)," writes Damon Wilson, Director of the Atlantic Council's International Security Program. Yet, most of his praise goes to Vice-President Biden, who flew four times over the Atlantic to make major policy announcements:

He proclaimed the Russia reset policy in Munich and previewed the administration's AFPAK review at NATO - and tackled the toughest issue on the continent: how to advance a Europe whole and free that includes the Balkans and Europe's East.  He has advanced a vision for Europe that has long enjoyed bipartisan support, but over which many, including some in the administration, have cooled as we've hit more difficult tests with Ukraine and Georgia.

Wilson concludes that Biden's four trips have helped define the Obama Administration's policy toward Europe. Moreover, rather than repudiating George W. Bush's Freedom Agenda, "Biden is rebranding it to ensure that its objectives in Europe sustain bipartisan support." Is it too early to evaluate this "rebranding" or the new administration's policy in general?

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John in Michigan, US on :

'rather than repudiating George W. Bush's Freedom Agenda, "Biden is rebranding it to ensure that its objectives in Europe sustain bipartisan support."' Exactly. As part of this rebranding, Obama will insist (in public) that he has repudiated the Bush Freedom Agenda completely. An aside: the Bush Freedom Agenda also had bipartisan support, until things got difficult in Iraq. And, based on the war funding debates, it regained bipartisan support after Iraq improved. "Is it too early to evaluate this "rebranding" or the new administration's policy in general?" Yes. Especially since Biden plays such an important role. This could all turn out to be one elaborate "gaffe". Still, these are promising noises from the Obama administration. We will see what happens when the next "difficult test" occurs.

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