Nearly everywhere you turn, one hears that the world is fascinated by Barack Obama. Europeans have "Obamamania," and Germans imagine Obama speaking in Berlin like Kennedy did in 1963. I've been asked occasionally, does it matter to Americans what Europeans think? In a recent radio program I did with Wisconsin Public Radio, a number of callers said that it mattered to them that America's image had fallen in recent years, but Europeans might be careful here. In 2004, British readers of the Guardian contacted Americans to urge them to vote for Kerry, a move that backfired, with Americans somewhat predictably telling them to, shall we say, back off, to use somewhat more polite language.
It's interesting to observe that Obama has said relatively little about Europe at this point, in contrast to John McCain's assertation that one of his top priorities as president would be to revitalize transatlantic relations. As we move from the primaries to the next stage of the campaign, this summer is a natural time for candidates to develop their foreign policy positions with an eye on the general election. Presidential candidates often make trips abroad in the summer of an election year before the intensity of the fall campaign begins, and both sides of the Atlantic will be listening closely.
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