Summary: President Obama
makes his rst trip to Europe amidgrowing signs that European lead
ers may resist his calls for helpon resolving the economic crisis,contributing to Afghanistan, andmanaging detainees from Guanta
namo. Europeans quietly wonderabout the depth of PresidentObama’s commitment to Europe.The upcoming NATO and G-20summits, and the debates overAfghanistan and economic stimu
lus, will test the commitment of leaders from the developed anddeveloping worlds to the kind of liberal internationalism neces
sary to rekindle the prosperityand peace in which our commonvalues can ourish.
Foreign Policy Program
President Obama makes his rst trip toEurope amid growing signs that Euro-pean leaders may resist his calls or helpon resolving the economic crisis, con-tributing to Aghanistan, and managingdetainees rom Guantanamo. Just belowthe surace, however, Europeans are wor-ried that the United States may be luredaway rom its historic commitment to thetrans-Atlantic alliance that dened the20th century and toward a rising Asia thatsome say will dene the 21st.Europeans quietly wonder about thedepth o President Obama’s commitmentto Europe. Ater all, his rst-ever visitsto France and Germany took place only last summer. British observers poredover every diplomatic detail o PrimeMinister Gordon Brown’s recent visit toWashington or any hint o a slip in close-ness (and ound several). It did not gounnoticed that the rst oreign leader tovisit President Obama in the White Housewas Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, orthat Asia was the destination o Secretary o State Hillary Clinton’s inaugural tripabroad.In act, U.S.-European ties have enduringstrengths that will not easily be erodedby the resurgence o Asian nations likeChina and India. America and Europehave the largest bilateral trade relation-ship in the global economy. Transatlanticperspectives on climate change are muchmore closely aligned relative to thoseo developing Asian nations that acedierent trade-os between growth andthe environment. Most undamentally,Europeans and Americans share a set o values grounded in liberal democracy andopen societies – values that Asian pow-ers like Japan, India, and Indonesia alsoembrace, creating the possibility or East-West convergence rather than divergencein coming years.Americans actually appear more Atlan-ticist than Europeans in some respects.Support or NATO has been declining inrecent years in Europe – but not in theUnited States. Polling by the GermanMarshall Fund shows that while Ameri-can support or NATO has been around60% since 2002, support in Germany ellsharply rom 74% to 62% in 2008 and inPoland rom 64% to 51%.Observers oten suggest that an older gen-eration o Europeans may be giving way to a younger generation or whom theAtlantic alliance is less important. Thisappears to be true in the United Kingdom,where 77% o 55-64 year-olds still say NATO is essential, compared with only
Talking transatlantic, turning towardAsia?
by John K. Glenn and Daniel Twining*
April 1, 2009
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 20009T 1 202 745 3950F 1 202 265 1662E firstname.lastname@example.org
John K. Glenn is Director o Foreign Policy and Daniel Twining is Senior Fellow or Asia at the German Marshall Fund o the United States.The views expressed here are those o the authors and do not necessarily represent the views o the German Marshall Fund o the United States(GMF).