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Would McCain or Obama be Better for Britain?

Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador to the United States during 9/11, writes in the Telegraph:
I have no idea - I have never met him - what Obama thinks of Britain, though in one of his attacks against Bush, he dismissively brackets the UK with Togo. McCain, whom I knew well and liked, is to all appearances a declared anglophile. But, none of this is relevant. America will act on an unsentimental calculation of where its national interest lies. The problem with the rhetoric of the Special Relationship is that it implicitly denies this reality, putting a burden of expectation on the ties between our two countries, which they cannot bear.

Whoever wins, Britain must rest its relationship with America on four propositions: is America our single most important ally and partner? Absolutely. Does this mean that our national interests will always coincide? Absolutely not. Should we stand up for our interests when they diverge from the Americans? Absolutely. Will having rows with the US from time to time fatally undermine the closeness of the relationship? Absolutely not.
While Meyer concludes with a subtle endorsement for Obama, overall he leaves the impression that neither Obama nor McCain will necessarily be better for Britain, since "America will act on an unsentimental calculation of where its national interest lies." That is, it does not matter who is president, because the United States will always act the same way, based on what is in its best interests.  As President Lincoln once said: "I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me."

However, the argument that neither president will be better for Britain (or other allies in Europe, or the transatlantic alliance as a whole) attributes too little influence to the US executive branch.  The fact is, different presidents push different policies and weigh the importance of allie's opinions differently.  If Al Gore had been president in 2003, there is a good chance the US would not be at war in Iraq (or at least would have approached it in a less unilateral way), which would have prevented the transatlantic alliance from reaching a major low following the Iraq invasion. 

McCain and Obama have different approaches to foreign relations, different world views, and different personal styles -- and one of them will be "better" for Britain than the other, regardless of events.

Social Welfare in Europe and North America

This is a guest post from Andrew Zvirzdin.  Originally from upstate New York, Andrew is currently pursuing a Master's degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy. He previously studied at Université Libre Bruxelles, University of Rome Tor Vergata, and Brigham Young University. He has worked on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and as an Assistant Editor for Scandinavian Studies. Andrew specializes in political economy, international finance, and EU–US relations.

Andrew ZvirzdinFreedom Fries are out of style, but Europe is still taking a beating this campaign season. Republicans are gleefully using Barack Obama's recent visit to Europe as evidence that he wishes to import European-style welfare states back to the United States “to grab even more of our liberty and destroy our hard-earned livelihood,” as Mike Huckabee recently put it.

Just how evil are European welfare states compared to the United States?

OECD data indicates that the differences may not be as large as we may think. Consider two key indicators:
Continue reading "Social Welfare in Europe and North America"

Here is Your Article on McCain: There are no Articles on McCain!

We your Editors have received some reader emails this week that express concern we are writing about Obama too much, McCain too little.

I tend to agree Obama is covered disproportionately on AR, but I think it is important for people to realize that our main objective with AR is to identify key articles in the media, and respond to them -- the source of our problem is the fact that the media as a whole is biased toward talking about Wonder Boy Obama, and so our pool of content is limited as it is. 

We are not a news organization, but a blog that responds to news.  Subsequently, our disproportionate coverage of Obama reflects the media's disproportionate coverage of him.  The scant coverage of McCain is not limited to our website.  In fact, it seems the biggest news on McCain this week is that he is complaining about nobody wanting to write news about him.  And he is correct. 

In comparing Obama and McCain’s media entourages during Obama’s trip abroad last week, the
Globe and Mail found that:
Trailing in [Obama’s] charismatic wake was a whole legion of the top stars of the U.S. press corps. All three news anchors of the big networks were with him...  And back at home, during what was undeniably Obama Week in American journalism, when Mr. McCain touched down on a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., there was... but one lonely local newsperson to witness the arrival of the other nominee.
However, McCain has not always been on the losing side of media bias.  Steven Chapman from Real Clear Politics makes the simple observation that the media is fickle; one day’s rock star can be old news--or no news--the next:
Continue reading "Here is Your Article on McCain: There are no Articles on McCain!"

What Do You Want to Know from Obama's German Fans?

Berlin is abuzz about Senator Obama's upcoming speech on Thursday 7:00 PM local time. How many folks will come to see the messiah? Many press outlets quoted a city government official's estimate of 10,000 to one million people. Wow, that is so precise! It seems that nobody else dares to publish an estimate. This will be an exciting event. It could be huge or quite small...

It is unprecedented. Anne Applebaum writes that Obama's world tour indicates a change in America's political culture: American voters are aware of the damage the current administration has done to the US image and are not indifferent to how their country is perceived abroad: "The Most Popular American in Europe Since Elvis"

I will attend his speech and try to capture the mood in the audience with my video camera. I will also conduct random interviews with ordinary folks in the audience.

What questions shall I ask? Is there anything you would like to know from German Obama fans and critics? (I will also ask American Berliners and others.) I guess, one of the obvious questions would be: Will you support sending German troops to southern Afghanistan, if President Obama asks for it? What else? I'd appreciate your input! Thanks.