Obama and Europe

Activists of youth movement, Europe Has No Alternative, unveil a billboard showing former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Barack Obama in Belgrade March 1, 2008. The billboard reads: "Barack Obama, be always with us" and "Kosovo is Serbia". The youth movement tries to underline the need for developing a dialogue with the world, opposing the policy of self-isolation.

Will Barack Obama quickly repair our relations with our European allies?

Robert Kaplan and Matt Yglesias are sure he will but Alex Massie isn’t so sure.  Dan Drezner thinks Alex too pessimistic.

In, “Will Obama Fix Transatlantic Relations?,” I argue that Obama will be much less of a departure than most seem to think, both because Bush’s policies aren’t what they seem and because national interests and domestic politics matter much more than personalities.

Click the link for the expanded analysis.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Further, giving the shifting tide that is the EU and it’s loyalties, it seems logical to ask what a shift toward subserviance to ‘Old Europe” buys us at this stage.

  2. Drew says:

    “..both because Bush’s policies aren’t what they seem and because national interests and domestic politics matter much more than personalities.”

    Not to blow smoke, but bravo, James.

    I so often get blank stares when I press people to tell me just exactly what Bush should have done differently on the international scene, and what Obama will do differently. Once we get past the necessary and simplistic “the Iraq War,” comment I get stone, cold silence. Not to minimize the war, but is that all there is?

    The Rolling Stones, er, Obama World Tour is interesting pop culture. But now real European financial, trade and security concerns will be on the table, and within the policy sphere for Obama’s consideration.

    The feel good atmosphere and cult of personality supported by “Hope, Change, Moment in History, blah, blah” works for rock stars – and US Presidential candidates – but not for actual US Presidents.

  3. Maggie Mama says:

    Well, Bithead, to answer your question: “subservience” would buy Obama the continued adoration of the American MSM.

    The media prefers Europeans over the vast majority of the US citizenry, whom they dismiss as bourgeois. Europeans have je ne sais quoi … history, perhaps. And, of course, such excellent aged wines. ;-D

    Even if he doesn’t do the “lick their boots” routine, the MSM will probably announce Obama is their new “saviour” anyway.

    After all, Barry has such savoir-faire!

  4. caj says:

    I think Obama is perfect for repairing relationships in Europe..I think that was pretty evident during the election who the Europeans wanted to win.
    He has such charisma and that goes a long way, also he is very smart and will fit in well with all the heads of state.
    Couldn’t have had a better choice for President in more ways than one….the country and the world will see what a big difference he will make.