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Romney, Obama and the Future of Europe (Die Welt, Germany)


In the eyes of the European public, Obama has mutated from a shining figure to a lesser light. And it turns out that there is only thing worse than aggressive leadership by the United States: the absence of such leadership. … The good news for Europeans is also the bad news: it won’t make much of a difference who wins.”


By Alan Posener


Translated By Stephanie Miller


April 27, 2012


Germany - Die Welt - Original Article (German)

President Obama delivers yet another successful one-liner, at the annual White House Correspondent's Dinner, April 29. Watch the president's comments below.


C-SPAN, U.S.: President Obama speaks at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner , April 28, 00:17:45RealVideo

Now that the tragicomedy of the Republican primaries is over, the real election campaign for the most powerful office on Earth has finally begun: Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama. Ideologues in both parties will depict the battle as a showdown between a right-wing, anti-populist, reactionary capitalist on the one side, and a left-wing, Islam-pandering, anti-church social revolutionary on the other.


But the reality is an awful bore: In the race for the Republicans is a candidate that is pragmatic to the point of having no principles at all, and for the Democrats, the hope of leftist-liberals to whom reality has issued several swift kicks. Romney is a wooden speaker, but a competent manager. Obama is a gifted orator, but lacks an agenda and so far good fortune. If Obama is less reminiscent of the great reformer Lyndon B. Johnson than of John F. Kennedy - who was said to be more form than substance - then Romney is more of a George Bush Sr. than a Ronald Reagan.


The Tea Party will be tamer


The first lesson drawn from Romney’s victory in the primaries is: The Tea Party revolution against the establishment is over. If one bears in mind those who were at times considered favorites - among them a businessman whose program consisted solely of a nine percent flat tax, and a Catholic fundamentalist who questioned the separation of church and state - then Romney, despite his right turn on health care reform and tax cuts, seems like a return to “business as usual.”


Romney might win - if present trends continue, but at best with a slim majority.  And if he does, he, too, will have to deal with a Congress that is politically-paralyzed by the intransigence of both parties, and would only have hope of accomplishing anything as a centrist. And while Barack Obama may resort to left-wing rhetoric as a candidate, as president he would continue to pursue a policy of the center. “Yes, we can” and “Change we can believe in” have turned into a campaign of the lesser evil, similar to Gerhard Schroeder’s campaign against Edmund Stoiber in 2002, after the euphoria surrounding the Red-Green “renewal” evaporated.


But let us not forget: after Schroeder’s victory came Agenda 2010.


[Editor’s Note: Agenda 2010 was bitterly opposed by large sectors of the German body politic, and was reported to be the largest cut in Germany’s social welfare system since World War II.]


Spend and save simultaneously


Something similar is needed by the United States. Four years after the crash, the economy remains in the doldrums. Growth rates are below par and the national debt is higher than the total debt of the euro zone. Both Obama and Romney advocate forms of Keynesianism: Romney wants to stimulate the economy through tax cuts, Obama through investment.


But given the debt, both Romney and Obama will have to square the circle: economize strategically to prepare the country for the future and make tactical investments to keep the nation from slipping into recession. No matter who inhabits the White House in 2013, he will have to touch at least two sacred cows: Medicare, the free and absurdly expensive health care program for the elderly; and lavish health care provided military forces. It is true that Romney promises to spend four percent of the gross national product on defense every year. But that is hardly realistic. Once the imperial adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan are over, the military will have to provide - in the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower- more “bang for the buck.”


What does all this mean for Europe?


What does all this mean for Europe? When George W. Bush - elected as the advocate of a “humble” foreign policy - announced after 9/11 an agenda that would use America’s position as sole superpower to bring peace to the world through democracy, continental Europeans were appalled. Many longed for a multi-polar world in which the E.U. would have greater influence.



Le Figaro, France: Why the U.S. Presidential Campaign Has Gone to the Dogs
Amal al-Oumma, Egypt: Egyptians Can Learn from American Presidential Race

Le Figaro, France: Ann Romney and Michelle Obama: The Battle for FLOTUS Begins

FTD, Germany: 'Class War' Obama Playing ‘Dangerous Game’ with Romney
Daily Mail, U.K.: 'Graceless' Santorum Exits - Fails to Mention Romney

Telegraph, U.K.: Rick was More 'Interesting' than Mitt

Economist, U.K.: Romney's 'Fake' Woman Problem

Guardian, U.K.: Santorum: Proud Pennsylvanian Departs with Head Held High

Guardian, U.K.:Rick Santorum Says Farewell – and Real Campaign Begins

Gazeta, Russia: ‘Hysteria’ over Romney’s ‘Flattery’ of Russian Influence

Le Monde, France: The Misery of the 'Electoral Circus'

News, Switzerland: Cows, Pigs, Women and American Conservatives

Le Figaro, France: Lunatic Fringe Runs Romney’s Nomination Campaign

News, Switzerland: Study Reveals that Facts Don't Matter to U.S. Conservatives
San-in Chuo Shimpo, Japan: World Hopes Republican Spat Improves Policies
Le Figaro, France: America’s ‘Right’ Makes the French Right Seem ‘Left’
News, Switzerland: Rick ‘Ahmadinejad’ Santorum
Hindustan Times, India: Santorum: 'Prince of Sanctimony'
Jeune Afrique, Senegal: 'Oddball Extremist' Santorum Could Make Obama's Day
NRC Handelsblad, The Netherlands: Santorum Wrong on Euthanasia in Netherlands
Jornal De Negotios, Portugal: Taxes: Warren Buffett, His Secretary, and the Grocer
Gazeta, Russia: America's Young People Turn Against 'Patriotic Bravado'
Le Figaro, France: Gingrich Success Reflects Republican 'Personality Disorder'
Tokushima Shimbun, Japan: State of Union Sends 'Wrong Message' to Pyongyang
Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany: America: 'Land of Inequality'
Liberation, France: It is 'Yes We Can' in America Once More
Liberation, France: Finally, Obama Chooses Combat Over Conciliation
FAZ, Germany: U.S. Republican 'Civil War' Proving Hopelessly Divisive
Der Tagesspiegel, Germany: The Republicans: Right Where Obama Wants Them
Nachrichten, Austria: Newt: America's 'Hypocritical Moralizing Apostle'
Diario de Cuyo, Argentina: Chavez and Obama: A Common Electoral Challenge
China Daily, China: Republican Race 'Hijacks' China-U.S. Relations
Diario de Cuyo, Argentina: Chavez and Obama: A Common Electoral Challenge
News, Switzerland: Romney's Core Presidential Competency: 'Shameless Lying'
Samidoon, Palestinian Territories: 'Thank You Newt: Your Insolence is Required!'
Le Quotidien d’Oran, Algeria: Gingrich's 'Fervent' Wish: 'Final Solution' for Palestinians
FTD, Germany: U.S. Republicans Must Expunge 'Radicalism' and Choose Romney
Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia: Putin is Better than Goldman Sachs
Liberation, France: Democracy Crippled: Economics Replaces Separation of Powers
El Pais, Spain: Occupy Wall Street: Will it Help or Hinder Reelection of Obama?



Under Obama the U.S. has been much more cautious - so reticent, in fact, that the president had to put up with European criticism for being late in supporting the Iranian protest movement, the “Arab Spring” and the Libyan rebels. From North Korea to Iran and all the way to Syria and the Sudan, China and Russia are lining up to oppose U.S. policies without having to pay a price.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


Obama himself has declared his disinterest for the Middle and Near East, which has something to do with the fact that America - unlike Europe - no longer needs the region’s oil. On the other hand, the E.U. has capitalized on the leading power’s weakness to plunge itself into crisis over the euro and global insignificance as a result of a host of disagreements.


Europe is disappointed in Obama


Moreover, Europe’s instinctive anti-Americanism continues, although “neo-liberals” and “neo-cons” have been replaced by “neo-Keynesians” as the target of criticism. In line with this, we are embracing - admittedly controversially - a Thatcheresque regimen of economic austerity that also damages American exports and puts Obama’s reelection at risk. “It’s the economy, stupid!” also applies in 2012.


In the eyes of the European public, Obama has mutated from a shining figure to a lesser light. And it turns out that there is only thing worse than aggressive leadership by the United States: the absence of such leadership. Might Romney succeed where Obama has been denied? Could he, like Reagan after the “malaise” noted by Jimmy Carter, infuse America with new confidence and help it gain new global importance? Could Obama accomplish this in a second term?


It’s doubtful on both counts. Whoever leads America during the next four years must above all try and get the economy back on its feet, reform the welfare system and end the bomb-throwing in the domestic political trenches. In foreign policy, the greatest challenge remains relations with the second most powerful country in the world - China. The good news for Europeans is also the bad news: it won’t make much of a difference who wins the 2102 election. Either way, we’re home alone, and not only must we get our house in order, but we have to pay more attention to the neighborhood than ever before.  




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US May 1, 01:59am]







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