Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Kerry and the Europeans - already in trouble

European honeymoon won't happen for Kerry

Schröder for Bush?
So, suggesting that with Kerry's big Iraq statement under their belts it was now a good time for the Allies to ask themselves who would be a better American president for them, Süddeutsche pointed the question rhetorically at Gerhard Schröder, and then responded in his stead.

"The answer: Bush," the newspaper, a constant critic of the president, wrote.
The reason being:
It's here that discomfort about what Kerry has been telling America gets a little edgy for governments he would normally count as silent European supporters. It's hard to see how Kerry might miss that, for Schröder, nothing would be more counterinstinctive in domestic political terms than ditching two years before new elections his single pledge as chancellor - staying out of Iraq - that has the support of a wide majority of German voters.
As for Chirac:
Similar considerations also work for France. It would take exceptional sophistry for President Jacques Chirac to explain putting French lives on the line in Iraq. Besides, sidling up to any American president would not appear to have much appeal to Chirac at a time when Le Figaro says he's busy promoting himself as successor to Nehru and Nasser in leading the "nonaligned world."
And what was that about how it was all Bush's fault that the Europeans were anti-American?
Asked about his view of the American presidential election, Chirac's former foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, who first described U.S. unilateralism as a central global problem during the eight "hyperpower" years of the Clinton administration, said it was a shame the rest of the planet could not vote.
In the Clinton years.

It's unlikely Kerry will get in but if he does he's going to be in big trouble since going by the above he won't be able to fulfill his promises on getting European involvement in Iraq and both France and Germany are already feeling ill disposed towards him.

Also, assuming both Blair and Howard are still in government, Kerry will be in a difficult position with both the war supporters and opponents.

I should add that I'm agnostic, in terms of foreign policy, about who should win. I don't hold with the Republican rhetoric that Kerry would be soft on terrorism. Still, his foreign policy is sounding a little unrealistic, part of which will be the result of having to accentuate the differences between him and Bush. But he may be making any possible future relationship with France and Germany difficult since they see him, ironically, as acting in an unhelpful manner.


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