Wexler: Extraordinary opportunities for transatlantic relationship
Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, said there are extraordinary opportunities for the transatlantic relationship under an Obama administration, but cautioned that expectations may be way too large to meet.
"A sea of change is about to come and is of enormous proportions," he told a group of policymakers and journalists at a lunch meeting hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels. He went on to caution that Europe must be part of this and no longer has the option of blaming Bush for policies that they do not like from America. Wexler also encouraged Europe to not wait for the inauguration, but to engage in an honest discussion among themselves about what they want and need from the United States.
He said we will see "dramatic" differences in policy under an Obama administration. Using Iran as an example, he said Obama will be committed to change here due to the tremendous opposition he faced during the campaign on this issue. However he again stressed the need for Europe's involvement and cooperation on any negotiations or sanctions that are to take place.
The current administration has dealt with Russia in a cavalier way and because of this, Russia has felt isolated and acted out said Wexler. He said he feels there would be a change in how the United States deals with Russia through more dialogue and stressed that with respect to Iran "the Russian piece is essential." Wexler praised European High Representative Javier Solana's efforts regarding Iran and said we shouldn't minimize the negotiations that have gone on that included Russia, but that Iran had gone on to not act in good faith.
He also said that Obama will close the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, but will need the help of Europe to figure out the details to do this. He said there will be a complete about face on Climate Change, but now the hard part of how to deal with the problem begins.