a curious Yankee in Europe's court

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What’s up with Europe? EU-U.S. Summit 2010

Posted on the February 4th, 2010

Been reading a few articles reporting various interpretations of Obama’s announcement earlier this week that he himself wouldn’t be attending the European Union-U.S. Summit in May.  From both sides of the Atlantic, many of the voices offering comment seem quasi-hysterical about this.

Some label it a snub by a White House that they allege doesn’t value Europe. Others characterize Europe’s leadership as so shaky and panicky about the President’s absence that they may even cancel the summit (or already have?).

I have no idea what’s true or not true, not being privy to official discussions in Brussels. I do like today’s commentary on the situation by Stephen M. Walt, blogging for Foreign Policy (“Reports of a transatlantic rift have been greatly exaggerated” Feb 3, 2010).  It offers a different perspective that seems more informed. We’ll see.

Excerpt from Walt’s post:

I see the whole thing as a positive development all around. EU leaders will be making a big mistake if they postpone the summit, as Obama’s absence is an ideal opportunity to show they are beginning to stand on their own two (I mean, fifty-four) feet after a half-century of supine dependence on Washington (De Gaulle notwithstanding). Americans have always been ambivalent about European unity (we like Europe to act as one, provided it is doing exactly what we want), but Europe and America would all be better off if Europe were a) more capable of shaping world events on its own; b) better equipped to give the United States sound strategic advice, even if it sometimes differed from Washington’s current whims, and c) less reliant on residual U.S. protection

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