Europe Notices Snub at Presidential Foreign Policy Debate; "Mistake"

Europe got mentioned once and it's a teachable moment on humility.


you forgot Europe

The Frankfurter Rundschau writes about our word count of the Obama-Romney foreign policy debate last night and what it means that Europe got nary a mention.  The paper points to the fact as a teachable moment for Europe:

Omitting Europe is also the result of the current peacefulness in Europe. And wars at other parts of the world demand the public attention. We Europeans are not so many and we are also not so important as we (sometimes) like to think. A TV-debate of this kind is good for teaching us modesty.

Nevertheless it shouldn't be so the Rundschau argues:

Despite this, both candidates err when they ignore Europe. For two reasons: On the one side, there is still the Euro-crisis, a threat for the whole world like the conflicts in the Middle East. On the other side, the USA will need Europe's support more urgently when the US wants to be successful in foreign- and security policy.

Still, the connection between the Americans and the Europeans are by far closer than to all the other regions in the world – historically, economical and regarding the "Weltanschauung" (philosophically, world outlook). The rise of China means, that the USA could really need like-minded allies in the international arena, the United Nations and elsewhere.

The only reference to the European Union last night, by the way, came from Mitt Romney, who said he assumed the EU would go along with tightening sanctions on Iran as he proposed.

The Rundschau also acknowledges the reality of America's limited financial resources, something Obama and Romney paid lip service to but did not treat as a reality. The paper even notes the next president, as I but neither candidate did last night, should shift some of the perceived burden of interventionism onto Europe:

And then there is the scarcity of money, which will brutally limit the room for maneuver of the next US president. Sure, Europe – as a result of the Euro crisis – found itself also in the mire of debt. Nevertheless, the next US president has to try to convince Europeans to take up more international responsibility. It is really sad, that Obama and Romney did not loose a word about it.

Other international reactions to the presidential debate via Reason 24/7.

Translation thanks to Wolfgang Müller