U.S. President Barack Obama’s debut in European summitry has been good for Europe but bad for America. While a highly deferential Obama gave in to all of the negotiating demands established by the Europeans, the Europeans in turn exploited Obama’s naïveté and refused to concede to any of his. Indeed, Obama not only allowed the Europeans to set the agendas of the recent G-20 and NATO summits, but in his zeal to curry favor with the Europeans, Obama even apologized for American primacy. Obama’s diplomatic philosophy, which seems to put the interests of other countries ahead of those of the United States, could be called the “Obama Doctrine.” If it is carried out in practice to its logical conclusion, it will have the long-term effect of gradually transferring U.S. geopolitical power and influence to Europeans and other American rivals.
Obama started his trip to Europe by proclaiming that “I would like to think that with my election, we’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world.” He then legitimized European anti-Americanism by saying that the United States was sorry for wrecking transatlantic relations, as if the Europeans were innocent victims of U.S. oppression; Obama told an audience of 3,000 giddy European students that “America has been arrogant and has even ridiculed” its European allies. Later, Obama followed up by declaring that “I believe in a strong Europe,” even though European integration is at base a project that seeks to counterbalance American power on the global stage. Obama topped it all off by offering pacifistic Europeans a utopian vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Maybe Obama thought his new “smart power” approach to U.S. diplomacy would woo his European counterparts into reciprocating their love for America. But defiant European leaders shunned Obama’s romantic advances, insisting instead on a redistribution of global power.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the international economic order dominated by the United States was finished. “The old Washington consensus is over,” Brown declared. “I think a new world order is emerging with the foundation of a new progressive era of international cooperation,” he said, referring to an incipient globalism that seeks to demolish American sovereignty.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Europe would no longer follow America’s lead on setting the global economic agenda. Sarkozy and Merkel called for a “new financial architecture” that would subject the U.S. financial system to European regulation. They added that their demands were not negotiable.