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.