NATOSource|Daily News of the World's Most Powerful Alliance

October 30, 2009

From foreignpolicy.com: Despite George W. Bush's defiant "you're with us or you're against us" public stance, he actively solicited advice and input from his NATO partners. Obama, by contrast, is saying all the right things in public about transatlantic relations and NATO but adopting a high-handed policy and paying little attention to Europe. And Europe is taking a hint...

[I]n Britain, where the public loves Obama, the government has been obsessed, after repeated slights -- the infamous CD set gifted to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a press conference canceled due to light snow (or was it fatigue?), being denied a private meeting with Obama at the Pittsburgh summit, etc. -- with the notion that the two countries' "special relationship" is over...

[French President Nicolas] Sarkozy complained at the United Nations that "President Obama dreams of a world without weapons but right in front of us two countries [Iran and North Korea] are doing the exact opposite." There are also sharp differences over troop levels and strategic objectives in Afghanistan, Turkey's candidacy for the European Union, and the future of the French nuclear arsenal...

But if Obama's ratings are slowly falling on the continent, one place where they are already low -- lower than Bush's, certainly -- is in the countries that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dubbed "New Europe." While Bush made Eastern and Central Europe a top priority -- as evidenced by the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic and the push for NATO expansion for Georgia and Ukraine -- his successor is clearly more concerned about relations with Russia, the very country whose influence New Europe is trying to avoid. (photo: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty)

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