The Fragile Honeymoon
By Wayne MerryMarch 12th, 2009
The brevity of the honeymoon between the European chattering classes and the new U.S. administration is striking, even before President Obama has had a chance to work his charm on European soil.
First, European governments and elites were shocked and offended when Secretary of State Clinton made her first foreign trip to Japan, Korea, China and Indonesia rather than to Europe. Note this was the first time in half a century that a new U.S. foreign minister crossed the Pacific before crossing the Atlantic, and damn right too. Clinton’s trip signaled the true priorities of U.S. interests in the new century, especially in dealing with the global financial crisis which has provoked national and even provincial responses from most European governments.
Then, Europeans had to swallow the image of the first non-North American to visit the Oval Office of the new administration coming from Asia rather than Europe, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown later delivering an embarrassing variant of the “special relationship.” Next, the most important meetings Secretary Clinton added to her agenda concerned the Middle East and Russia, with Europe clearly playing backup.