It appears that the climate toward Mitt Romney in Europe is warming up, as his chances of victory improve. For Germany’s business daily Handelsblatt, columnist Wolfram Weimer writes that even if Romney is more talk than action when it comes to ties to Europe, he will likely be better for the old world than Obama, who has few ties to Europe, favors fiscal policies at odds with Berlin, and is more likely to let NATO ‘languish’ than reinvigorate it.
In Germany four years ago, Barack Obama would have been able to count on 80 to 90 percent of the vote. To Germans, after the leaden Bush years, the new president seemed hip, smart, empathetic, and liberal – and altogether more European than his Texan predecessor. Today, German enthusiasm for Obama has significantly cooled. Many of his promises – from the closure of Guantanamo to climate change targets to economic recovery – have not been kept. And in many ways, his style of governance appears to be oriented toward sound bites and show. But above all, Obama has not developed a good relationship with Europe, and is particularly distant toward Germany.
From a German perspective, therefore, a victory for Mitt Romney would have its advantages. Whereas Obama is urging Germany to introduce euro bonds, and thus open market financing of Europe’s debt mountain, Romney is pursuing a course more in line with that of Angela Merkel. To tackle the U.S. debt crisis, Obama has followed an aggressive course of deficit spending, and recommends that Europe do the same – up to and including setting central bank policy and boosting the printing of money.
In the U.S., the national debt has now surpassed the $16 trillion mark. When Obama took office in 2009, the total debt stood at $10.6 trillion. Thus, in only four years, his administration has created more debt than the total debt owed by Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Ireland over the course of an entire generation. Obama’s plans therefore no longer correspond with Merkel’s notions of sound fiscal policy.
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