There was an overwhelming sense of relief in Europe following U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election in November. Although European approval of the Obama administration’s foreign policy has fallen since he took office in 2009, particularly over his increased use of drones in the war on terror and his perceived failure to put greater pressure on Israel toward a final status agreement with the Palestinians, Europeans overwhelmingly preferred him to his opponent, Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Indeed, according to one poll carried out in 12 European Union member states before the election, 75 percent of Europeans said they would vote for Obama if they could, compared to only 8 percent who said the same of Romney.
However, two long-term developments affecting U.S. foreign policy mean that Europe and America could drift apart during Obama’s second term in office: the U.S. budget deficit and the “pivot” -- since renamed a “rebalancing” -- toward Asia. The state of America’s finances means that, even more than in Obama’s first term, the U.S. will be what Michael Mandelbaum has called a “frugal superpower,” one that will in general seek wherever possible to "lead from behind" as it did in Libya in 2011. Meanwhile, although the Middle East still has the potential to divert Obama from his goal of shifting Washington’s strategic attention to the Pacific, the Libya intervention showed how disciplined Obama can be at limiting U.S. involvement overseas. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Strategic Horizons: Staffing the Future U.S. Military Will Require Thinking Outside the Box
- World Citizen: Venezuela Sanctions Undo Gains of U.S. Policy of Restraint
- The Realist Prism: For Iran Nuclear Deal, All Scenarios Amount to Leap of Faith
- Like It or Not, U.S. Needs Iran to Stabilize the Middle East
- To Secure FARC Deal, Colombia’s Santos Must Face Down Uribe