Part of the concern about Obama lies in the fact that he is the first U.S. president in generations to have no firm ties to Europe. Previous American presidents passed around invitations to Camp David or Crawford. Eisenhower played golf in England, and Kennedy sent Jacqueline to Paris to charm de Gaulle. Nixon and Ford had the help of the European-American Henry Kissinger, and Carter had the Pole Zbigniew Brzezinski to advise. Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar who knew European political history better than most of Europe’s leaders. Obama shakes hands with all in the Oval Office, but the personal stroking of European leaders is not taking place. (photo: Department of State)
From Newsweek: The one policy Obama is firm on is his desire to see the U.S. and NATO allies emerge successfully from the conflict in Afghanistan. But he now faces the liberal FDP in Germany calling for the withdrawal of German troops as it appeals for votes in September’s elections. In Britain, opinion polls show majority support for bringing British soldiers home. Eager to garner these votes, the opposition Conservative Party has said it wants a timetable for handing things over to the Afghan Army and bringing U.K. soldiers home.