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Republican Candidates on Europe

The Republican presidential candidates demonstrated some suspicion and negativity towards Europe, concludes the Atlantic Community:

Huckabee claims Europe is (unintentionally) to blame for some of the US' biggest terror threats, Romney is using an anti-European stance to further his campaign, Giuliani is turning away from Europe to focus on Asia, while McCain, appears committed to revitalizing transatlantic relations.

What do you think? Is that a fair assessment of the candidates' statement on Europe? And if yes, is their suspicion and negativity towards Europe justified?

The good news is certainly that John McCain is the frontrunner. For Europe he would be better than any other Republican candidate.

I appreciate your comments here and on Atlantic Community. Full disclaimer: Atlantic Community is my day job as editor-in-chief. Registration is required for commenting, but is real fast.

Parag Khanna: "Europe's Influence Grows at America's Expense"

The short-lived age of US hegemony is over, with no hope of return.  Instead of comfortable primacy, the United States will struggle as one of three global superpowers.

This is the 21st century described by Parag Khanna in an essay published in New York Times Magazine, titled “Waving Goodbye to Hegemony” (HT: David Vickrey).  Khanna, a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, bases the essay on his new book, “The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order,” to be published by Random House in March (the book is already the second bestseller at Amazon).  Here is Khanna’s line of argument:

Continue reading "Parag Khanna: "Europe's Influence Grows at America's Expense""

Clinton Most Likely to Rebuild US-European Alliance

Will "the Bush Administration’s unfathomably cavalier and gratuitously alienating attitude toward America’s European allies (...) change substantially on January 20, 2009?" asks Stephen Holmes, a professor at New York University School of Law, on Project Syndicates.
After all, the current Administration’s denigration of “old Europe” was not just a rhetorical aside, but a centerpiece of its reckless approach to foreign affairs.  That is why any serious break with the disastrous Bush legacy should start with rethinking and rebuilding the Atlantic Alliance.  That a renewed Atlanticism would be a priority for either Obama or Huckabee is extremely doubtful, however.
Candidates have no incentive to focus attention on a subject, such as the strained Atlantic Alliance, that seldom if ever enters the consciousness of the average voter.  Obama’s failure to convene a single policy meeting of the Senate European sub-committee which he chairs (a committee that oversees, among other things, US relations with NATO and the EU) has had absolutely zero resonance among the electorate at large.  When the topic arises, the Republican candidates, for their part, seem less blandly indifferent than overtly hostile to Europe.  Their anti-European animus, while crudely uninformed, reflects, among other factors, the scorn for secularism typical of Southern white evangelicals and the perverse notion promulgated by some distinguished Republican defense intellectuals that Europe today can contribute little or nothing to American security. (...) Other candidates, notably Hillary Clinton, would be more likely to conduct an intensely Atlanticist foreign policy, placing emphasis on rebuilding America’s alliance with those extraordinarily prosperous countries best positioned to help the US face the daunting challenges to global stability that lie ahead.

Military Leaders Outline Plan for New Transatlantic Bargain

A group of European and American military leaders co-authored a report that was released last week, titled Toward a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World, Renewing Transatlantic Partnership (PDF version available from CSIS). The top brass – all with NATO experience – argue that the Alliance remains critical to both Europe and the US:
We are convinced that there is no security for Europe without the US, but we also dare to submit that there is no hope for the US to sustain its role as the world’s sole superpower without the Europeans as allies.
The manifesto begins by arguing that many current and future threats – such as terrorism, international crime, demographic shifts, energy security, climate change, etc. – cannot effectively be addressed by any single country on its own. Instead, NATO provides the best opportunity for western countries to address new threats because it "links together a group of countries that share the most important values and convictions and that took a decision to defend those values and convictions collectively."

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Lifting Sanctions Against Syria?

"With American goods already flooding Damascus, analysts say lifting restrictions will help counter Iran's influence," writes the Christian Science Monitor:

Provided that goods are not manufactured in the US or produced with more than 10 percent of American content, both increasingly the case with the globalization of production, American companies are not restricted from selling goods in Syria although the goods are not then classified as American. "Typically you have Ford cars inside the market. When they opened the showroom you had people from the US embassy attending. Ford cars are manufactured in Germany, not the US, so they are not banned from being exported here," says Syrian economist Jihad Yazigi.

Charlie Wilson's CIA Strategist is in Charge Again

The Washington Post describes Michael Vickers' plan to build a global counterterrorist network. The plan is focused on a list of 20 "high-priority" countries. According to the Post, "Vickers hints that some European countries could be on it."

The plan deploys a variety of elite troops around the world, including about 80 to 90 12-man teams of Army Special Forces soldiers who are skilled in foreign languages and at working with indigenous forces.

Vickers is Assistant Secretary of Defense and used to be the principal CIA strategist for the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan in the 1980s. The movie "Charlie Wilson's War" portrays Vickers in that role.

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"All Germans Are Racists"

I appreciate very much the many smart and insightful comments on Atlantic Review. (Thank you all!) Once in a while, someone leaves a stupid comment. Yesterday someone called Ahmed left such a comment on "Racism in Germany" posted in May 2006. His comment starts with "Racism in Germany is an inborn error, from which every German citizen suffers." I wonder whether Ahmed realizes that this statement is racist? The comment is so stupid that it is funny.

Europe is a Threat to the United States

Asked by the BBC (video) where he sees the biggest threat coming from, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff answers that the US is increasingly concerned that "Europe will become a platform for terrorists." Chertoff said he had seen "home-grown terrorism begin to rise in Europe".

The Homeland Security officials have been increasingly concerned for a long time now. In July 2005, Atlantic Review quoted a Brookings Fellow writing in Foreign Affairs: "The growing nightmare of officials at the Department of Homeland Security is passport-carrying, visa-exempt mujahideen coming from the United States' western European allies."

Apparently the nightmares have not been all that bad in the last two and a half years. Business is considered more important. That's why the US is not canceling the the visa-waver program for Europeans. The Bush administration is not as tough in the war on terrorism as they present themselves.

Related posts: "Terrorists on Honeymoon" in Lower Saxony and WSJ: Russia and Jihadists Target America's "Giant Aircraft Carrier with Sausages" and NYT's Correspondent Mark Landler's Shrill Coverage of Germany

Meanwhile, Germany is preparing to send 250 combat troops to northern Afghanistan as part of NATO's quick reaction force to join in the search for and fight against terrorists. This marks a departure from the Bundeswehr's current mission. To date only stabilization forces have been deployed to the main German base at Masar-i-Sharif, reports DW World.