Obama’s Transatlantic Challenges

Obama’s Transatlantic Challenges

MADRID, Spain -- Barack Obama begins his presidency with an unprecedented level of goodwill among Europeans, who are hoping he will reverse many of the unpopular policies that embittered transatlantic relations under his predecessor. As the contours of Obama's foreign policy come into focus, however, much of the onus for smoothing the frayed relationship will lie with Europe, not the United States.

Obama faces a daunting list of domestic and foreign policy challenges, at a time when the United States' historic levels of debt -- combined with the faltering American economy -- will force him to call on Europeans to do more. Transatlantic relations will certainly suffer if Europeans are unwilling to meet his requests.

But even if Europeans do come to Obama's aid, the transatlantic landscape will still be subject to tension. Not only are Obama's positions on many key domestic and foreign policy issues quite different from those held by European leaders, he is likely to make many of the same demands on Europe that his predecessor did.

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