Obama the European?
WASHINGTON – Barack Obama began his second term as US President with an inaugural address that presented a broad vision of American government. In Europe, the prevailing reaction highlights that, between the lines, America’s first self-proclaimed “Pacific president” delivered the most “European” inaugural address in recent memory.
Obama’s speech not only embraced the core principles of social democracy as understood in Europe, but also heralded a new era of American engagement in global governance issues. But, notwithstanding Obama’s Euro-enthusiasm, valid questions remain concerning his administration’s foreign policy.
Along with frequent references to America’s founding principles and to the touchstones of US history, Obama presented a vision of society, government, and foreign relations with which most Europeans could identify, including explicit references to women’s rights and, for the first time in such a high-level speech, gay rights.