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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.

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Kyle Atwell on :

I am still not seeing why Clinton would care about the transatlantic relationship more than Obama? Holmes arguments appear to be: 1) Obama won Iowa, and therefore must be less Atlantacist 2) Obama was chair of European Committee and did not hold any meetings. OK, not impressive on Obama's part, but whose to say Clinton would have done different? Is it that Clinton would have held more committee hearings, or that she was never given the opportunity to fail in this regard? Holmes clearly seems to support Hillary, and made a false (or if not false, at least a weakly defended) argument based on this bias. As far as I can tell, there is not much evidence to argue whether Clinton or Obama would seek a more Atlanticist agenda.

Pat Patterson on :

Kyle-I was still writing and editing my comment and posted before I saw yours. My apologies! I agree completely that this idea of a revival off of the very scant evidence presented by Dr. Holmes seems unlikely. Dr. Holmes who seems to be the go to guy for the Huffington Post, the Democratic Underground and The Nation. As I posted his veiled endorsement of Sen. Clinton seems entirely at odds with his continued attacks on Pres. Clinton during and after that administration.

Pat Patterson on :

One could hope that if Sen. Clinton was elected such a result could happen but what evidence is Prof. Holmes using to predict such an occurence? What action did Pres. Clinton take regarding the Atlantic relationship that would give any indication of what Sen. Clinton would do? It's hard to make out this claim since Holmes, throughout the 90's, exorciated Pres. Clinton for being a naif with regard to foreign policy going so far as to posit the idea that Clinton had lost Russia by trying to create an America on the Moskva or Neva. And in doing so put Europe at an even greater risk from a resurgent and authoritarian Russia.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

@ Pat and Kyle I agree it is "very scant evidence," if any at all. [u][url=http://coffeehouse.tpmcafe.com/blog/coffeehouse/2007/dec/20/where_in_the_world_have_clinton_obama_biden_romney_and_others_traveled_to_more_on_the_experience_vs]Clinton has been to Europe a lot as a Senator, while Obama has not. [/url][/u] This might not say sooo much, but it does say something. And why has Obama signed to chair that subcommittee on Europe, if he does not travel to Europe and does not convene a policy meeting on it? Okay, [u][url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/959-Barack-Obamas-Lack-of-Real-Interest-in-Transatlantic-Cooperation.html]I am repeating myself.[/url][/u] I guess, the question in this thread should be whether Clinton is really such an Atlanticist. I think she might be the most Atlanticist of all presidential candidates, followed by McCain.

Pat Patterson on :

Here's a link to a more thoughtful view of Sen. Clinton's foreign policy ideas and expertise. [url]http://www.investors.com/editorial/cartoons/CartoonPopUp.aspx?id=283555499832816[/url] Hey, that survey said my candidate of choice was Gen. Patton. I didn't even know he was running?

Kyle - Atlantic Review on :

Great link Joerg. I am disappointed that Europe is so low on Obama's radar, as Steve Clemons is quoted: "This adviser [to Obama], who must remain unnamed, said that he/she had worked very hard to get Obama to Europe this past year -- but that in the end, a planned trip fell through. This person also admitted that despite his/her own efforts to move Senator Obama towards more focus on Transatlantic issues and the fact that nearly all of the major challenges facing the United States today required significant, robust collaboration with Europe -- 'Europe just isn't high on the list of Barack's priorities.'" Obama's travel is only since 2004, while Clinton's campaign provided her all-time travel roster, which did include some Euroepan countries. Of course, this includes her travel as the First Lady as well, so I am not sure if this really signifies she will be more focused on Europe, or rather that she has had more time to get to Europe. I would be interested to know how many times she has been there since 2004. I would also like to hear some police statements on European/US relations from all the candidates. I would also like a new car, but some things just aren't likely to happen.

bashy on :

I remember a liberal democrat from england (don't remember the name) said when he had a meeting with president bush that bush listen to everything he had to say. even though we didn't agree, bush said I respectfully disagree. the libdem said the meeting was better than with president clinton, because when you don't agree with clinton he got all upset and yrlling and so on. I believe it, look at the campaign the clintons are running against obama it is nasty. remember the clintons lie with such ease. I think McCain would be better, if nothing else he would tell you what he thinks, not what you want to hear.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Re your last sentence: I think McCain has been flip-flopping on a few issues, just like any other candidate. What he "thinks" now will be different from what he thinks after elected president. Still, McCain comes across more trustworthy than Clinton. Personally, I like McCain and Obama better than Clinton, but on the issues, Clinton is supposed to be my favorite candidate. So what is more important? a) The issues, i.e. what the candidates have promised to do. Or b) Whether a candidate's character and personality and story gives a good trustworthy impression? I answered a few questions at this Dutch political compass, which is a damn slick website: [url]http://www.kieskompas-usa.nl[/url] According to this political compass I am [b]extremely moderate [/b]regarding Iraq, terrorism, national security. And Hillary would be my choice: [img]http://atlanticreview.org/uploads/mypolitics.jpg[/img] For a bigger picture, click here [Url]http://atlanticreview.org/uploads/mypolitics.jpg[/url]

Kyle Atwell on :

I come up as slightly more conservative on the economic axis then all of the Democrats, but still in the circle (closest to Obama). On the social axis I am right in the middle of the Democrats, closest to Edwards. I plan to vote for Obama though. I think that sends a powerful message to the world that will help the US image.

Kyle Atwell on :

PS - I am skeptical of surveys like this... not enough questions. I think I am probably more hawkish on foreign policy, which is what I focus on, but this doesn't really take that into consideration.

nomad ak franchie on :

I am social progressive on the right side, dunno which guy whas on the border between the conservative and liberal right side of my pic though, he was an elder one, Ron Paul ? otherwise, seems they all stayed in their own quaters ; well anyway, my favorite is Giuliani ; he did a good job in NY, cleared out the mafiosi and clerics corruption... as a lawer, he would do a good job to clear out all the corrupted enterprises that participated into the starting of Irak war ; half of the fighters there are of private cies ; I wrote intentionnally "fighters" instead of soldiers.

bashy on :

McCain has flip-flopped on some issues. He does want us to win the war. that is important to me. I did that thing on the dutch web site . I agree mostly with fred thompson who dropped out. so then it said huckabee. who I don't really care for. some of the issues are not so important to me. what I want to know do people like Hillary or is it Bill. Myself I don't like anything about her, even if she sheds a tear. I like obama better, but I wouldn't vote for him either. I like fred thompson, but he is out. I can live with rudy, mitt, or McCain.

Pamela on :

If Hillary wins, I'm pulling the covers over my head for the next 4 years. Full disclosure here: My husband knows her, has worked with her ever since she came to the Senate. He finds her to be extremely intelligent, very hard working and quite charming. I also know military people who were assigned to the White House during the Clinton adminstrations. They were told in no uncertain terms that when she was around to hide. Literally. The woman has a bug up her ass about the military and she took every opportunity to show them scorn and contempt. One example: One person I know served as a 'bomb doctor' - looking for and defusing stuff that goes BOOM! He was 'sweeping' a room after she had a luncheon for some people when she came in and told him to clear the dishes off the tables. He refused. She had him written up. His CO called him in and said he was required to read and sign the document, which he did. His CO then threw it in the trash. Ask any military people who have come within a country mile of the Clintons what they would do if they get back in the White House and they all have the same reaction. They go for their service revolver and point it at their head. "Their anti-European animus, while crudely uninformed" is a bullshit statement. It was quite informed with the toxic anti-Americanism wafting from Europe and more than deserved. Would Hillary be any better? Probably. Europe will be so busy falling all over itself kissing up to any President that isn't a Republican, there wouldn't be much work involved - especially if Strove Talbot comes back to State. He'd probably suggest the United States join the European Union. But beware. She'll sell your butts down the Seine for China.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"Europe will be so busy falling all over itself kissing up to any President that isn't a Republican" Maybe for one month. Perhaps even two months. Then it is over. There will be plenty of stuff to disagree with the new president. Let's keep in mind that Bill Clinton was not all that popular in Europe during his two terms. He is much more popular now then when he was president.

Pat Patterson on :

That's not much of a compliment to the 40th President considering William F Buckley once did a column that was headlined something to the effect that compared to Pres. Clinton he was nostalgic for the days of Pres. Carter.

Pat Patterson on :

Maybe I got the numbers mixd up as Pres. Clinton was the 42nd President and Pres. Reagan the 40th. Understandable considering every Republican running now seems to be wearing the mantle of Reagan much like Hercules and the lion's head. Except for Rep. Ron Paul who seems to be channeling Huey Long and Father Coughlin.

Pamela on :

I went to a dinner held by CAIR for former Iranian President Khatami. I asked Khatami, given that Bush is in his last term, how would he like to see US policy toward Iran change with a new administration? His answer? 'More like Clinton'. I feel so much better.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I agree. Another thing to keep in mind: European central bankers still haven't forgotten how George Soros kicked their asses in the 80's, and they certainly haven't forgiven. The candidate (and family) most associated with Soros's Move On is, of course, the Clintons.

David on :

Senator Obama routs Hillary in South Carolina. Could be bad news for the Senate Committee for European Relations, but good news for America. And Pamela may be able to stay out from under the covers.

Pamela on :

It's just after 9 pm here on the East Coast. CNN is reporting that Caroline Kennedy has an op-ed in tomorrow's NYT endorsing Obama. "A Man Like My Father". Oh man. Caroline Kennedy has never endorsed anyone. She's stayed very private. This is a big deal. I wonder what her uncle Teddy will do now?

Elisabetta on :

President Clinton is already comparing Obama's victory to Rev. Jackson's in '88; rainbow coalition didn't do to well. And it does seem that the majority of the votes for the two major candidates were differentiated by race (numbers in Slate). All in all, politics just got interesting again for the mo'. I think President Clinton is going to attempt to force Obama into a 'sister Souljah' moment regarding some aspect of the Afrocentrist oddness in his church. It is just the type of centrist issue the Clintons love to manipulate in order to divide and radicalize the electorate. Beauty of it is, Obama would have to answer the call. Too many lies about Muslim this or that to shluff off an attack on his church. It goes straight to the basis of his appeal as well as an affable, highly-educated normal guy. Normal guys that head the Harvard Review that is, but compared to the oiliness of Edwards and the maddened HRC I for one could see having cuppa and half-sandwich with Obama and enjoying it.

bashy on :

it seems so far the democratic race is only about should I vote for the first black or the first woman for president. rice should run, she is a woman that can wear dresses and is twice as black as obama. then we can see if the dems will cross over and vote republican.

David on :

No, it's about who can best change the disasterous course of the nation. An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that America is headed in the wrong direction. Why would the 'dems' vote for someone who helped to set the nation on that course?

John in Michigan, USA on :

"An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that America is headed in the wrong direction" True, but irrelevant once you step outside the campaign bubble of simplistic change rhetoric and into the real world of politics. A large number (maybe even half) of those who want change, want change towards the right, not the left.

Kyle Atwell on :

I know polls are shifty, but here is word from National Journal's Polltrack about the latest CNN/WSJ polls: "Respondents also expressed greater confidence in the Democratic Party to lead on a range of issues than the GOP, suggesting that Bush may have damaged his party's reputation as well as his own. On the top three issues that they said the federal government should address -- economic growth, the war in Iraq and health care -- respondents said the Democratic Party would do a better job than the GOP." It came to me as an email so I don't have the link to this quote.

David on :

I am heartened by the huge turnout for the Democratic primaries. It dwarfs the participation in the Republican primaries and caucuses - even in Republican strongholds like South Carolina. Why are Democrats out-fundraising Republicans 2:1?

John in Michigan, USA on :

This comments section was more interesting when it stayed on topic. My comment #11.1.1 probably contributed to this problem, so I withdraw it, even though I believe I could easily defend it. In this partisan season, partisans will say anything in order to feel good about themselves for a few minutes. I am not partisan, since I haven't decided who I'll vote for. I am really more interested in analysis and insight than "winning".

bashy on :

what and hillary will make a difference? I don't think so. her and bill can spin all they want, of course msm will help them. she voted for the iraq war and bill was for it too. I remember before the vote alot of democrats said we have to talk to people from the clinton circle. well, then they voted for the war. obama and hillary are using the same people in their campaigns. they are just changing their stories now. so, we go backwards.

Nope on :

Who cares? The big question is: Why in the hell do we STILL have military in Europe?? LET THEM DEFEND THEMSELVES. And if they can't? Who cares?

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