The U.S. Elections and Europe: The Coming Crisis of High Expectations

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The U.S. Elections and Europe: The Coming Crisis of High Expectations

By Kori Schake
Centre for European Reform, 2007
34 pp. $0.00
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Schake, a former National Security Council staffer for President George W. Bush, offers a sobering take on the likely shape of transatlantic relations under Bush's successor. Anyone expecting a restoration of the Atlantic alliance's glory days, she argues, will be bitterly disappointed. Partisan campaign jousting aside, Schake sees an "absence of genuine foreign policy differences between the presidential candidates" but a lot that will divide them from their European counterparts. In a dangerous world, "the next U.S. president will be expected to act preemptively, unilaterally, and with military force," and although all the major U.S. candidates say they want more cooperation with Europe, the next president will be disappointed by what the Europeans will actually deliver. This pessimism may be overstated. After all, not being Bush will alone score the next president some points in European eyes, and if he or she closes the Guantánamo Bay prison, does more on global warming, withdraws U.S. troops from Iraq, and promotes a more liberal social agenda, many Europeans will feel better disposed toward the United States. Moreover, as Schake herself points out, some European leaders (particularly French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel) already do, even with Bush still in place. Nonetheless, Schake's basic thesis is undoubtedly right. The merit of this punchy monograph is that by warning of a "crisis of high expectations," it may help to avert one.

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