Why Europeans are turning against Obama

On the 6th of November last, I made a wager with some of my associates in London and Zurich that within a year they would be pining for the return of George W. Bush and his "cowboy presidency". 

As of today, my friends have collectively conceded and are forwarding payment.

Why the sudden capitulation?  Reality has begun to set in with a vengeance.

For nearly 65 years Western Europe has lived under the military umbrella provided by the United States.  That left these countries free to minimize spending for defense and maximize spending on social issues.  European socialism became a new hybrid form of historic socialist thought.  It combined a modified capitalist system to provide the funding and the government to oversee cradle to grave security.   At that point in history, United States and European economic hegemony controlled world trade.  Surely prosperity, despite some expected minor ups and downs, would be expected far into the future, thus financing all the spending on both sides of the Atlantic. 

But some unexpected things happened on the way to this never-ending golden age. 

First:  A true world economy began to emerge, beginning with Japan then Korea, China, India and many other former third world countries.  These nations were now beginning to develop their own middle class and raise the standard of living for their populations.  Therefore, in order to compete and continue this growth, they began to aggressively attract business and capital to their shores.  With a built-in advantage in labor and other manufacturing costs they succeeded at the expense of many European workers.  More and more products were thus imported tipping the balance sheet in favor of these exporting countries, the net result being wealth sent overseas.

Second:  Energy became a political issue thanks to extreme environmentalism.  Untold quantities of money were transferred to other, in some cases hostile, parts of the world so that those in the West could feel better about themselves.

Third:  With the cradle to grave security guaranteed by government and the lack of job creation, the level of permanent unemployment has remained in the double digit range and the birth rate has so declined that in most countries it is below replacement levels.

Fourth:  Nearly all Western European countries are now faced with inevitable bankruptcy due to the excessive entitlements.

In the past ten years, some in Europe have begun to wake up and realize this path can no longer be sustained and changes had to be made on a gradual basis.  However, as long as the United States was there, not only to defend Europe but also to be the dominate economic power in the world, time was certainly on their side.

President Obama's policies have now begun to open the eyes of the most hardened socialist in Europe and the reality of world without the United States being the economic and military super power thus potentially ushering in the demise of Western Civilization has become a frequent topic of conversation.

I must confess I never thought it would take less than 6 months into the Obama presidency before articles would appear in one of the most liberal and anti-Bush publications in Europe, Der Spiegel, castigating President Obama.   One of the more telling paragraphs:

Ex-President Bush was nothing if not zealous in his worldwide campaign against terror, transgressing human rights and breaking international law along the way.  Now, Obama is displaying the same zeal in his own war against the financial crisis - and his weapon of choice is the money-printing machine.  The rules the new American president is breaking are those which govern the economy.  Nobody is being killed.  But the strategy comes at a price - and that price might be America's position as a global power.

In an earlier article also in Der Spiegel Oxford historian and socialist Timothy Garton Ash discussed President Obama:

Speigel:  While Europe slips to the right, the United States, under Barack Obama, is discovering the social market economy - and is slipping to the left.

Garton Ash:  Soon they'll be more European than we are.

We have had through the years the advantage of watching and learning from the mistakes of our European partners, they are now telling us to stop and slow down on this headlong path to change our nation forever.
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