The Iowa Caucuses and the Atlantic Alliance

What do the victories of two relatively inexperienced outsiders, Barak Obama and Mike Huckabee, in the Iowa Caucuses mean for American foreign policy in general and the Atlantic Alliance in particular?  It is too soon to predict, on the basis of a plurality of votes cast by a sliver of eligible voters in a small state, who will eventually prevail in the nomination process.  But it is not too soon to ask if the Bush Administration’s unfathomably cavalier and gratuitously alienating attitude toward America’s European allies will change substantially on January 20, 2009.

Commentators seem to agree that the voters who chose Obama and Huckabee felt that they were rejecting the status quo.  To put the missteps of the past behind them, they apparently voted for the candidates about whom they knew the least.  But exactly what status quo did they imagine they were rejecting?  Upon inspection, the “politics as usual” that they apparently sought to rebuff looks nebulous.  Obama has repeatedly linked Hillary Clinton, whose political team is personally and ideologically committed to wresting power from the current incumbents, to the thinking dominant in Washington from 2001 to 2007.  Even more oddly, the genial and erratic Huckabee says that the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, represents the powers that be. 

To focus the discussion, we can ask the following question: Did the status quo rejected by the Obama’s and Huckabee’s voters include the deterioration of American-European relations under the Presidency of George W. Bush?  After all, the current Administration’s denigration of “old Europe” was not just a rhetorical aside, but a centerpiece of its reckless approach to foreign affairs.  That is why any serious break with the disastrous Bush legacy should start with rethinking and rebuilding the Atlantic Alliance.  That a renewed Atlanticism would be a priority for either Obama or Huckabee is extremely doubtful, however.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/EJpQPLm;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now