Why the US has not drifted away from Europe’s problems
With less than two years left in President Barack Obama’s final term in office, the debate about his foreign policy legacy is now well underway in Washington. Early on in the Obama presidency, there was much talk about the so-called American “pivot” to Asia and whether it would come at the cost of the transatlantic partnership. Today, almost all observers agree that the United States will eventually reduce its involvement in Europe and – in the long run - spend an increasing amount of energy and resources on Asia. Yet, over the past few years, Europe has continued to take up a more prominent space on the agenda of the “first Pacific president” than initially expected – or maybe hoped for.
This development is most noticeable vis-à-vis the crisis in Ukraine and the West’s relations with Russia. Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, Moscow’s behavior once again ranks near the top on the list of foreign policy concerns in the US capital. And apprehensions are not limited to policy circles in Washington, D.C. A recent Gallup poll found that Americans increasingly see Russia as the US’s number one enemy. Similarly, Russia’s favorability ratings among the American public are now the worst since the fall of the Soviet Union.