Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Basis for a Sound Alliance?

Bush was always an excuse for Europeans to avoid heavy lifting. The Europeans like talking and not taking action. So when President Obama goes to Europe, cheering crowds will get all misty eyed at his speeches and then go home and cheer their governments' refusal to help us fight in Afghanistan just as heartily (tip to Stratfor email):

There is no question that Obama and the major European powers want to have a closer relationship. But there is a serious question about expectations. From the European point of view, the problem with Bush was that he did not consult them enough and demanded too much from them. They are looking forward to a relationship with Obama that contains more consultation and fewer demands. But while Obama wants more consultation with the Europeans, this does not mean he will demand less. In fact, one of his campaign themes was that with greater consultation with Europe, the Europeans would be prepared to provide more assistance to the United States. Europe and Obama loved each other, but for very different reasons. The Europeans thought that the United States under Obama would ask less, while Obama thought the Europeans would give more.

Nope trumps hope. European countries will only pretend they are our allies more publicly if we don't ask them to do the things that allies do.