presidentVoters in the US head to the polls today, as the presidential election campaign enters its final 24 hours. Polling shows the candidates are still very much au coude à coude, with neither the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, nor the Democrat incumbent, Barack Obama, able to conclusively break the deadlock which has existed since the beginning of the race.

Since a certain bust-up in the 18th Century, it’s been abundantly clear that Americans rather frown on European meddling in their internal politics. Still, today’s election is being watched with great interest from this side of the pond too, and it’s probably safe for us to debate who would be the best US presidential candidate from a European perspective.

On the face of it, President Obama holds the popular edge in Europe. In fact, Obama has always been more popular in Europe than in the US (in one poll, carried out earlier this year, he held a 92% approval rating in France). But is that popularity backed by Europe-friendly policies?

True, during his first run for the presidency in 2008, Obama spoke of Europe and America’s “shared destiny” in a speech delivered to a crowd of 200’000 in Berlin. But he has also positioned himself as the “Pacific President”, undertaking to “rebalance” American strategic interests away from Europe and the Middle-East and towards the (fast-developing) Asia-Pacific region. Nor is Obama universally loved in Europe. His “reset” of US-Russia relations lead to the scrapping of Bush-era plans for missile defence systems in Poland, a move that led to bitter feelings on the Polish side.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is viewed with much cooler emotions by most Europeans (citizens and politicians alike). Romney’s recent trip to Europe was promoted as a way to beef-up his foreign policy chops, and a way of courting “key US allies” in the UK, Poland and Israel. However, Romney’s European grand tour contrasted badly with Obama’s 2008 visit, and was remembered mostly for its public gaffes and blunders. Nor does Romney have a radically different outlook than President Obama when it comes to foreign policy (though he has pledged to “reset the reset” with Russia).

What do YOU think? Who would be the best US presidential candidate for Europe? Is Obama more interested in Asia than Europe? Or does he still believe that Americans have a “shared destiny” with Europeans? Would Mitt Romney help mend US relations with Eastern Europeans, who feel neglected after Obama’s “reset” with Russia? And would either of them be able to help Europeans muddle through the eurozone crisis? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Barack Obama

31 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Zied Smat

    Les deux sont des carriristes pour l’USA et pour L’union europenne: ils ont su jouer la voie des science et de l’avenir! ZS quant moi je vote pour moi!

  2. avatar
    Dick Clitbomber Brown

    Not Goldmann Sachs i guess… Good that they not censored internet with ACTA, SOPA, CISPA and PIPA. Media is lying, there is still freedom of speech on internet.

  3. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Well, either we go to war and protectionism with Romney, or we go to further protectionism with Obama. So Obama seems the least bad option, albeit that he is ruling over a bankrupt country with an economy in pieces.

  4. avatar
    Lazaros Kalaitzidis

    I think Romney can be worse for the US, therefore better for EU (if we ever find the guts to leave US alone and become independent).

  5. avatar
    Albert Saxén

    . If Mitt is elected, he will change America’s foreign policy which will be much friendlier and much more protective of European people’s interests in this region and the whole world.

    Romney is a moderate .

  6. avatar
    Lazaros Kalaitzidis

    Romney is an uneducated conservative fanatic. If US people are crazy enough to vote for him, it will be a good pretext to abandon them diplomatically and let them fight alone with Russia, China, Iran etc etc.

  7. avatar
    Otto de Voogd

    Neither, both will lead the US to eventual bankruptcy, which is not good for Europe. It’s time for Europe to get its act together and be ready to lead in the world when the US fails.

  8. avatar

    I think Barack Obama would be the best choice despite the fact that in their speches throughout the campaign neither himself nor Romney addressed the European issue as they should have done….

  9. avatar
    Albert Saxén

    Lazaros (dnt be an idiot). he has a JD and M.B.A
    Nvr used it ;)

    did practice business tho ..;) p

  10. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Na minha opinião é o sir.Obama se olharmos para os quatros anos atrás esta administração Americana conseguiu revolucionar o mundo e começou dentro da América os bancos e apareceu a crise Americano e europeia as politicas internacionais hoje temos paises que estão a construir a sua democracia e a europa precisa desta administração porque eles tem idéias inovadoras

  11. avatar
    catherine benning

    What a silly question this is.

    Do you really believe this is an honest contest? Or, a fake in order for the US public to believe they live in a democracy?

    And if you think I’m off beam, see if there is any change in policy after the band stops playing. No matter who is in office. Something I wrote just about four years ago when all of Europe was singing a love song for ‘change in the White House’ and that that new leader was new blood as a saviour of us all. Pleaeeeeese!

    War with Iran will still be on the cards, as will war anywhere else they feel will help arms sales. And, you know Obama isn’t going to lose. The PC brigade would never swallow that. This President will not be allowed one single term. And besides, that would be a useless endeavour. Expensive and too disruptive.

    Not until they, once again, go to those empty poles, and low and behold, its time for the Republicans to be in office. You see, what will happen is, the Democrats will also put up an unelectable runner as the Republicans did with John McCain and this one there today. Just to make sure it looks as if there is a choice for those people still in line.

    Here are eye openers for you all to digest.


  12. avatar

    Rhetorical question? EU stands above all for multilaterlism, compromise, social security, environmental questions – well, who might stand for that in the US? ;-)

    • avatar
      Jason Knoll

      @Peter- You make a great point. Unfortunately, not many of my fellow Americans care about those values, and when people like me try to have serious discussions, we get labelled socialists and told to “Love it or leave it.” There is little chance here of real dialogue.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @Jason Knoll:

      However, at very least Jason they do have State referendum on issues the people of the US want to address. We, in Europe and in the UK, never ever get a chance on a referendum of important issues like these which change our society and lives dramatically. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, they all dance to the same tune here.

      We are supposed to believe we are happy with this invasion of our life which takes place without consent or reference from the public whatsoever.

      We are denied the right of choice or discussion on these matters. And if you try to raise them here you may be incarcerated for hate crime or some other made up tyranny to deny you a voice in this democracy.

      And the reason for that is, they know what the vote will produce and it is not what they want to see or hear.

    • avatar

      Catherine, what matters do they vote on in State referendums?
      By the way, about incarceration: I know students from Europe who have been arrested by the sherif because of laying around topless at a pool pool -:)

    • avatar

      Ooops… I wanted to say “public pool”.

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      The link I put to Jason explains that in the US general election for a President, as in this yesterday vote, the ballot papers also have local referendum issues on social matters that create discontent in the cohesion of their citizens. Something we are denied in Europe or the UK. It is a form of Direct Democracy. If nothing more, it throws a light on what the people feel across every state. And this would be good for European understanding.

      Example: it includes questions on same sex marriage – abortion issues – marijuana use for adults -capital punishment or the death penalty – euthanasia – parental consent to abortion – issues on the monopoly American Indians have over the casinos – improved grammar and spelling in schools – and so many more, too long to list.

      The American people as a result can feel they are asked and do in fact have a voice in their community rights.

      We have nothing close to this here. So, although a great deal of the US administration is a sham, locally they can make their wishes felt. A bit like the Swiss policy

  13. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    As far as Europe is concerned, it won’t matter who wins. US foreign policy towards Europe will not change under either of them despite what very little rhetoric has been said about Europe by either of them.

    • avatar

      Slick Willard remains the freortunnnr to get the GOP nomination, but it wasn’t the slam dunk it was a month ago. He definitely comes across as plastic and inauthentic so it’s no surprise that Huckabee is giving him such a scare, but assuming Huckabee will or already has peaked this week with his snowballing scandals, Willard will be the natural beneficiary of Huckabee defectors. With the predictable implosion of Giuliani upon us and Thompson essentially waving the white flag, conservatives (particularly in McCain-hating Iowa) have nowhere else to go but Willard. Huckabee can still be a huge problem, but the expectations bar for Willard have now been reduced so much for Iowa that even a strong second would give him the momentum to win New Hampshire, followed by Michigan, and then slingshot him into the nomination. The National Review endorsement was most likely well-timed to parallel Willard’s comeback.If nominated, he’ll make fast work of his Democratic challenger (be it Hillary, Obama, or Edwards), the Mormon controversy quickly going away in the face of a challenge by Hillary or a black man. The bigot vote will effortlessly embrace Willard at the end of the day.

  14. avatar

    Maybe Obama is better for Europe, simply because he seems to be less interested in us than US presidents who have a European/WASP family background. But generally it doesn’t matter much who is US president, neither for Europe nor for the Americans. It seems to me that it is rather a plutocratic oligarchy who runs the US behind the scene and not its President. This makes the whole ritual of elections rather boring. Hence, participation of citizens is low.

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      Very true…But of the two, I prefer the less “painful” to watch, listen to and having to deal with….. So Obama is a better choice, even though I doubt he will be able to fulfill what he promises… I am not an fanatic Obama fan, but Romney makes me yawn….!!

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      The neck that turns the head there is the Pentagon. Arms and military issues are the man earner for the US top brass. Their investment is therefore in warfare creating jobs and an economy of its own. Resulting in not only a desire to propagate discontent world wide but a definite need for it.

  15. avatar

    “Example: it includes questions on same sex marriage – abortion issues – marijuana use for adults -capital punishment or the death penalty – euthanasia – parental consent to abortion – issues on the monopoly American Indians have over the casinos – improved grammar and spelling in schools – and so many more, too long to list. ”

    Interesting, I didn’t know that. Indeed, it would be desirable that we in Europe could also have democracy on such question. However, some of them (e.g. capital punishment, same sex marriage) are against the EU understanding of “human rights” and could not be asked at referenda. In this respect Americans seem to be more free than we are.

    It is quite strange, that it is particularly those political groupings in the EU which usally demand more democracy, which only want to allow political correct questions to be voted on.

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      I would say that is because those people who push the ideas they favour know full well they could not get a majority of the people in the union to vote the way they would like. So, in fact, they are afraid of democracy in the full meaning of it. In other words, they are tyrannical on matters they wish to force the citizens of Europe to live with. And they are not interested in hearing the alternative view to their own.

      Under the guise of ‘I speak for right’ they deny a voice of those who feel they have ‘more right’ on their side. Time for a rethink of what democracy really means and whether the EU can claim to be such a force in the world as it claims it is.

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