Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Europe hearts Obama

Earlier this week I received a postcard from a European friend of mine who said, "I hope Obama pulls it out so that there are some jobs left in your country." While he said it at least partly in jest it is symptomatic of the adoration he enjoys on the other side of the Atlantic:
A majority of Europeans in 14 countries said they wanted an Obama victory, with the Dutch and Norwegians the strongest Obama supporters in Europe: nearly three-quarters in both countries said they preferred him to McCain.

In France, 64 percent chose Obama against four percent for McCain, and in Germany, where an Obama rally in Berlin gathered some 200,000 people in July, the Democratic presidential contender was supported by 62 percent of those polled compared with 10 percent for McCain.
Like many of his domestic admirers this phenomenon can be explained largely by the fact that:
  • Obama is from a different political party than the reviled George W. Bush
  • A wildly biased media (European media bias is really another level)
  • He is a blank slate that one can project their hopes and wishes on to
In the minds of many Europeans Obama is seen as a learned man from an international background (studied international relations in undergrad, has a father from another country, spent part of his childhood years overseas) that understands and seeks to engage the international community. Or something. The problem with this is that Barack Obama is still an American and will largely behave according his own self-interest, which will inevitably produce conflicts with Europe and others on matters such as trade and troops in Afghanistan.

As this post notes, one European columnist may have it right when he says "Eventually, we will all hate Obama too."

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