Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Equidistance

In the IHT, John Vinocur takes a look at the U.S. Presidential candidates' policies on Europe and Russia, and concludes that there is not much likelihood of Europe and the U.S. seeing eye to eye on these issues for a while, at any rate. In particular, of Senator McCain, who is about to embark on a tour of European capitals, he notes that
the membership list for the League of Democracies he promises to create in his first term doesn't include Russia. He also wants the G-8 group of industrial powers to exclude Russia from its summits.

That's a lot to digest for a nervous and hardly united EU where any American representing foreign policy firmness can be quickly caricatured as a Donald Rumsfeld - whose strategy McCain abhorred.

Even in France, where the Sarkozy line six months ago was all about Russia's "brutality," McCain may now hear concern for Russian "sensibilities," and that, in Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner's words, Moscow must now "have the place that belongs to it."

All of this comes down to more, much more, American-European divergence.

If Europeans want to label McCain as the next postulant for a trouble-making White House, they ought to hear Hillary Clinton on how George Bush gave Putin's confrontational policies "a free pass." Or Barack Obama's put-down of "anti-American posturing from European allies that enjoy the blanket of our protection."

Feel familiar? Whoever the new president, whatever the New Europe, the evidence says you've been here before.
Hat tip: Leopoldo

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