Tags: obama | europe | fading | mania

Obama Mania Waning in Europe

Monday, 02 Nov 2009 09:06 AM


MARRAKESH, Morocco — The election of Barack Obama as president seemed to most Europeans to be unadulterated good news, marking an end to the perceived unilateralism and indifference to allied views of former President George W. Bush.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, center, before chiding President Obama on Iran in a speech at the United Nations in September. France wants no deal that would let Iran keep enriching uranium.

But nine months into Mr. Obama’s presidency, trans-Atlantic relations are again clouded by doubts. Europe and the United States remain at least partly out of sync on Afghanistan, the Middle East, Iran and climate change.

Many Europeans argue that Mr. Obama has not broken clearly enough with Bush administration policies that they dislike, while some Americans argue that the Europeans are too passive, watching Mr. Obama struggle with difficult issues, like Afghanistan and the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, without providing much substantive help.

Many of these concerns will be central to the United States-European Union meeting in Washington beginning Tuesday that Mr. Obama will lead, and they were the subject of debate at a World Policy Conference run by the French Institute of International Relations in Marrakesh over the weekend.

Mr. Obama remains popular with the European public, but a senior European official said that he was worried about an underlying disaffection. “It’s dangerous, because we must not get into a spiral of dissatisfaction on both sides,” he said. These generalizations lack real substance, he said, but the criticism runs that “the U.S. thinks that Europeans don’t want to do anything to help and the Europeans feel that the U.S. is naïve and not delivering enough.”

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