What Europe may expect from an Obama Presidency

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

As the US presidential elections approach, questions are being asked as to what Europeans may expect from a potential Obama presidency, writes Julianne Smith in a blog post on Atlantic-community.org. 

Smith believes that if Obama were to be elected, several areas of his governance could “differ sharply from those of the Bush administration”. 

Relaunching EU-US ties through NATO and common policies should be a top priority for the president-elect as the relationship “has seen a deterioration” in the past eight years, says the blog. 

Areas for co-operation on common EU-US policies include terrorism, climate change and the “proliferation of WMD”, says Smith. Wide differences are also apparent in fields of crucial interest for Europe, underlines Smith. 

She identifies climate change and international law as areas where Obama intends to cooperate widely. Regarding the latter, Obama stated he would “close the Guantanamo prison and prohibit the use of torture as an interrogation technique,” according to Smith.

But this would have to be in exchange for European commitments to support US policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan, emphasises the author. Indeed, she suggests “Europe should prepare itself for requests to do more, particularly with regard to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan”. 

On the Iran issue, Smith highlights Obama’s will to address Iranian leaders directly, in stark contrast with the current administration. She further highlights his intention to “support a careful exploitation of deploying a missile defence system in Europe as an important component of protecting the Euro-Atlantic area”. 

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