- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
Back in June, shortly after Mitt Romney’s entry into the race, I wrote a short piece noting the anti-European rhetoric in Mitt Romney’s announcement of his candidacy, and predicting that Republicans would try to pain the president as a Brussels bureaucrat. After all, the “European” charge is a one-stop-shop shorthand for socialist economic policies, timidity in foreign affairs, and suggesting that there’s something not-quite-American about the president without getting into dangerous racial territory.
Judging by last night’s New Hampshire victory speech, Romney is doubling down on this line of attack:
“President Obama wants to ‘fundamentally transform’ America. We want to restore America to the founding principles that made this country great.
“He wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society. We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity.
“This president takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America.
“I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become.
On MSNBC this morning, Chris Matthews thought this was an effective tactic, saying something to the effect of, “A lot of Americans have done their European vacations. They thought the French were rude to them and Venice smells.” (This isn’t an exact quote. The clip isn’t posted yet.)
But I’m still not quite convinced that Americans are that hostile to Europe. Granted, this hasn’t been a great year for the European economic model, but it hasn’t exactly been a great one for the American economic model either. As Andrew Sullivan notes, Americans probably wouldn’t mind Germany’s unemployment rate.
Americans may not want to live in Europe, but they don’t really hate it. A 2009 Pew Research Center poll found that 77 percent of Americans have favorable views of Britain, 66 percent for Germany and 62 percent for France. (The French number nearly doubled since 2003 when tensions were high over the Iraq War.)
Granted these numbers are from before the worst of the financial crisis (Although another poll released this year found that 55 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the E.U.) but I’m still not sure that U.S. hostility toward Europe — particularly in the general electorate — is as palpable as Romney seems to think it is.
Also, does Romney really want to come into office having spent his entire campaign bashing longtime U.S. allies?
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.| Passport |
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |