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He’s not the Barack Obama Europe Knew - by Abe Greenwald
Where Ronald Reagan tore down a wall, Barack Obama has hit one – and it’s made of bricks. European support for the American president is suffering. As Gregor Peter Schmitz asserts in Der Spiegel, “it has become clear that the most contentious issues [between the U.S. and Europe] have been shelved.” This means Obama is no longer asking Europe to replicate his idea of a stimulus plan and he’s not pushing for military help in Afghanistan. On both issues European leaders have declared, “No we can’t.” When it comes to instituting a global stimulus plan, the American president is further to the Left than Europe -- and Europe still objects. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say they favor more government regulation in lieu of more government spending. Obama sought to immediately clarify. He told the Financial Times on Sunday, "The press has tended to frame this as an 'either/or' approach. I have consistently argued that what is needed is a 'both/and' approach. We need stimulus and we need regulation." In other words, Europeans are choosing their statist options from an a la carte menu, but in the U.S. we’re going family style. Nevertheless in Europe putting blame for the global financial crisis squarely on America’s shoulders is a relished pastime, and no matter how statist Obama gets, the Continent can’t be seen to follow the U.S.’s lead.