I thought this, from David Brooks’ analysis of President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech earlier this month, was on the money:
What made me think of it now was this passage from a Der Spiegel feature on the strain in U.S.-German relations:
The piece goes on to describe a detailed White House communications strategy involving a “ground game” and an “air game” that, frankly, come off sounding a bit creepy. But the direct appeal to the masses has been an obvious tactic to bypass the ministries, with the tension Brooks identifies a very real one.
There was also this:
That pretty much sums up the anti-climactic nature of the Obama honeymoon period. I expected an eventual clash between Washington and European agendas, but it’s been more of a fizz than a bang. Obama remains pretty popular here in terms of public opinon, but I suspect that expectations and enthusiasm have been lowered a bit by his cautious approach to reversing some of the more unpopular Bush policies.
As for Obama’s much-vaunted willingness to listen that won such raves on his first trip through Europe, the Der Speigel piece suggests that the thrill is gone there, too. It’s a bit more Janet Jackson (What Have You Done for Me Lately) than Michael Jackson (Beat It), but either way, Europe feels out of the loop.