Thursday, December 04, 2008

Post 1600 - European Socialists

The New European over at Transatlantic Politics wonders how long the EU will be smitten with Obama. The quotes he pulls from a Belgian talk show, featuring US Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker are a reminder. We have such people. We seldom elect them.
In Belgium "the army must first and foremost seek peace", as one Socialist lady senator put it. Quite some ally there for the US…
"Diplomacy first", meaning "talking to the Talibans" was the idea advocated by former Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel, currently an EU commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

Note: interesting info about Europe and Russia at the link.
Conservatives have worried that Obama will turn out to be a European socialist, and was only moderating his already-liberal positions in order to get elected. We feared he would lurch in the above direction once the election had passed.
But even at his pre-campaign worst Obama never sounded quite like this. Right from the start he seems to have grasped that the army is for fighting, and other parts of the government do the peace-seeking part. We worry about American liberals because they are too convinced that some really bad ideas will work if we just try harder, and their unwillingness to consider an entire of buffet of ideas that have some track record. We forget that their European versions have lost contact with reality. A whole different ballgame there. There isn’t a real comparison.
I admit I didn’t even consider the possibility that Obama would tack even further to the center once elected. I expected the snap-back to Daily Kos territory. That he might be moderating his statements in order to keep the far left (who supplied lots of money and volunteering if not votes) from bolting did not occur to me. It may not play out that way, and the current “pragmatic” Obama may be just one more feint to keep foes off-balance. But there is some chance that the man may actually want to govern, and is taking it seriously. Clinton had moments of that, and I imagine Carter did as well, though I can’t think of any offhand. But the Democrats have not had a president (or nominee) who takes governing more seriously than his own image since Johnson. (Which is why it is impossible for them to imagine that a Republican would do so).

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