Obama Frustrates Europe on Climate Change
“Obama Has Failed the World on Climate Change,” blares a Spiegel op-ed by Christian SchwÃ¤gerl. The essay is another data point in the growing notion that the new American president’s aura is fading on the other side of the Atlantic.
But, as I argue in my New Atlanticist essay “Obama Disappoints Europe Ahead of Copenhagen,” this was all too predictable. Indeed, Bob Manning and I both predicted it before Obama was inaugurated. Obama is, like George W. Bush before him, president of the United States. Our priorities are simply different from those in Western Europe.
Obama’s personal ideology on climate change and other environmental issues is much closer to that of the European leaders than was his predecessor’s. But there’s simply no way that Obama is going to swim upstream on this one in the midst of two shooting wars, a global recession, and a major fight to reform the healthcare system.
Obama is a cautious, pragmatic politician. This is a fight he can’t win. He’ll therefore avoid entering the ring.
None of this will prevent Bruce McQuain and others from enjoying some well-deserved Schadenfraude.