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Open Think Tank Articles

December 1, 2008 | US Elections Boost Initiative to Reopen Amerika Haus Berlin This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: A civil society initiative is working to reopen the Amerika Haus Berlin, where permanent activities were suspended in 2006. A two month series of panel discussions about the US elections of 2008 brought the house back to life, and showed the potential of this open meeting space.

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November 5, 2008 | A New Day Rising After Election Night

From the Editorial Team: We spent the election night at a number of parties throughout Berlin. In light of the blithe atmosphere surrounding these events, we decided to ask fellow revelers a few questions regarding their election thoughts.

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November 3, 2008 | Europe Needs a Strong American Partner!

Eckart von Klaeden: No matter whom the American voters elect, a radical change in US foreign policy towards its European allies is unlikely. Both McCain and Obama would generally continue to follow the multilateral course pursued by President Bush in his second term of office and before him by President Clinton.

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October 29, 2008 | McCain Only Has Himself to Blame

Matthias Stephan Fifka: McCain is likely to loose the US presidential election. Though his bad luck of having to follow the current Republican presidency is also a factor, he has made fatal mistakes in his campaign. Abrupt strategy changes, his pick of Sarah Palin for VP, and negative campaign ads were all part of his own demise.

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October 24, 2008 | American Foreign Policy Bids Farewell to Neoconservatism

James Joyner: Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama is simply the final scene of an act long in coming: neoconservatism is dead. The Foreign Policy Establishment is composed of realists, and neocon ideas are being pushed to the margins. For the GOP, the sooner it can re-embrace pragmatic foreign policy, the better.

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September 11, 2008 | Presidential Elections Will Not Shape US Foreign Policy This Article contains Flash-Video

David Neil Lebhar: While the race between Obama and McCain is too close to call, US voters and the world must realize that the two candidates’ foreign policy positions are not especially different. Furthermore, due to economic instability, domestic concerns, and a shifting geo-political balance, the next president will have to react to international issues through re-defined multilateralism.

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September 11, 2008 | Obama and Biden: No Fundamental Change on Iraq Policy

Reidar Visser: US presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans alike, continue to ignore the shifting political realities in Iraq. Obama and Biden consistently portray the principal dynamic of Iraqi politics as a struggle between Shiites and Sunnis, whereas the main front in Baghdad is between two essentially cross-sectarian coalitions.

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August 5, 2008 | The Shadow of Serious Transformation in US Foreign Policy

valentine anatolevich akishkin: The economic downturn and the rise of new centers of power will lead to a shift in US foreign policy doctrine, allowing the country to readjust itself to new world challenges by employing more agreeable and less costly means.

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July 28, 2008 | Obama's European Voters

Matthias Stephan Fifka: Even if Obama enjoys much more sympathy abroad and is being received like a rock star by the public, his foreign policy would not differ essentially from McCain’s. The biggest discrepancy between the candidates are the expectations of the Europeans, who are likely to be disillusioned with Obama as president.

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July 14, 2008 | America Votes, but Europe Decides on the Future of Transatlantic Relations

Jan Techau: Europe’s approach to the US will be decisive for the future of transatlantic relations. Though Bush will leave, the US will not be in a position to radically change its foreign policy. It is time for Europeans to become more American and acknowledge that the era of justifiable disagreement with America is over.

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July 4, 2008 | A League of Democracies is Not a Good Idea

Thomas Carothers: The US needs to recover the international legitimacy it has lost and continue promoting democracy. Yet an exclusive and excluding League of Democracies would be an ineffective tool. Indeed, too many democratic governments are unwilling to follow the US and challenge national sovereignty in the name of democracy.

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June 16, 2008 | Democrats Good, Republicans Bad?

Thomas Speckmann: Examining the foreign policy of US presidents since Kennedy reveals that Germany is generally better off with the conservatives and that German military involvement will always be expected, regardless of who is elected.

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June 6, 2008 | Europe's Hope for Obama Presidency Likely to be Dashed This Article contains Flash-Video

Rüdiger Lentz: In US presidential elections, Europeans tend to overwhelmingly support the Democratic candidate. Yet, Europe misplaced its bets in both 2000 and 2004. The qualities that Europeans value in a US president are not the same ones that matter to Americans. Europe should tone down its expectations, and come to terms with the possibility of another GOP presidency.

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April 6, 2008 | Why We Should Fear a McCain Presidency

Anatol Lieven: McCain’s promise to listen more to America’s allies in Europe needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Senator McCain is in fact a neo-conservative as can be seen from his policies on Iraq, Russia, NATO, and democracy building.

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March 10, 2008 | A New Era for EU-US Relations?

Daniel Rackowski: As many Europeans ponder about the putative blessings of the post-Bush era, it is only opportune to ask how the at-times strained transatlantic relationship might evolve in the future.

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February 15, 2008 | Demands on Europe Will Not Abate

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger: George W. Bush’s successor will make demands of the Europeans, and Europeans would do well to take note of this fact. Key areas of contention will remain between Europe and America especially when it comes to Russia, Afghanistan, and democracy promotion.

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January 30, 2008 | Republican Candidates on Europe

Samantha Ferrell: Many US Republican candidates have demonstrated general suspicion and negativity towards Europe when discussing their projected transatlantic policies.

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July 5, 2007 | The Next US President: Republican Foreign Policy

Niklas Keller: reveals what to expect on foreign policy from the US presidential hopefuls for 2008. In this first installment, Nuland introduces the top Republican contenders and finds that what plays to the people now is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Global Must Read Articles

October 31, 2008 | The UN: Obama's Money Pit

With its dubiously opaque financial practices, “chronic scandals and tyrant-friendly tilt,” the UN is in dire need of reform. ++ While McCain proposes a League of Democracies to provide competition, Obama wants to impose serious oversight on the UN, although previous attempts at such have fizzled. ++ Along with espousing the Millennium Development Goals, he wants the UN to play a

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October 29, 2008 | Lipstick on a Scapegoat

In the final week of the presidential election, Obama is ahead in the polls by a double digit margin. ++ Republicans have started to look for a scapegoat, turning out to be none other than Sarah Palin. ++ Palin has publicly criticized McCain’s campaign strategy, giving rise to the impression that McCain’s campaign is falling apart. ++ With the nomination of Palin, McCain tried to gain

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October 28, 2008 | Strategy for A Renewed Russian Relationship

Obama and McCain’s respective stances on Russia evoke a palpable difference in their demeanor. ++ “McCain is prepped for a new Cold War; Obama is looking for a thaw.” ++ The foundations for McCain’s positions were laid forth by the impetuous Bush administration, which balked at the notion of binding treaty obligations. ++ “McCain makes George W. Bush seem like a prudent statesman.” ++ Renewed

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October 23, 2008 | Effete Germany Cozies up to Russia, Scorns NATO

“Old” and “new” Europe parallel the blue and red state split in the US. ++ In old (western) Europe Obama is viewed as a “ray of hope;” new (central and eastern) Europe raises the question, “Who is Obama?” ++ This can be attributed to a difference in threat perceptions. ++ Nowhere is this exemplified more than in Germany. ++ There, a proto-Kantian

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October 21, 2008 | Powell Endorsement a Fresh Reminder

Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama has demanded the headlines. ++ While endorsements can be forgotten, his other message should not. ++ Obama is not a Muslim, nor an Arab, but “What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” ++ Where Obama failed - by not knocking down the rumors for fear of giving credence to the idea that if they were somehow true, they

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October 17, 2008 | Next US President Will Determine Iran's Elections

In addition to the development of the Iranian nuclear program and the economy, the choice of the next Iranian president will be determined by this year’s US presidential election. ++ Iranians are afraid of an American or Israeli military strike. ++ Knowing that McCain endorses military options, Iranians might tend to reelect Ahmadinejad in the case that McCain becomes the next president. ++

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October 9, 2008 | America's Red Army

Red states vs. blue states, the red army against the blue, and Palin is the “Katyusha rocket” of the red forces. ++ The culture wars in the US must end fast. ++ The McCain campaign has used tactics that exacerbate the cultural differences of “conservative” and “liberal” Americans. ++ Even if Obama wins, the culture wars won’t end immediately - America needs to recall the true meaning of “liberal”

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October 6, 2008 | McCain Strong, Obama Weak

Osama Bin Laden called Iraq the “central front” in his fight against the US - he was right. ++ Obama/Biden only focus on the past; they still think invading Iraq was a mistake, a distraction from Afghanistan. ++ Their obsession misses the point: “The essence of being a good commander in chief is appreciating the connections among these theaters.” ++ FDR fought the Nazi’s before assailing Japan,

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October 3, 2008 | "GOP - R.I.P"

For Republicans, the financial crash of Sept. 29, as the stock market fell over 700 points, will be remembered as the day which began their “exile” from political power. ++ Republicans in the House voted against their own party’s bailout plan by a margin of 2 to 1, emphasizing their divided and seemingly leaderless state. ++ While the presidential race is still uncertain, it is obvious that

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October 2, 2008 | Obama Needs Foreign Policy Revamp

Obama’s foreign policy proposals are too vapid; far from incipient or novel, we are subjected to his recycled ideas - which, albeit, were fresh when first espoused in the face of Bush dogmatism. ++ “These ideas have lost their oomph among discerning voters.” ++ Catching Bin Laden, sending more troops to Afghanistan, and unconditional support for Georgia are all calls from the neocon playbook.

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September 30, 2008 | Obama Promises a Better Environmental Future

Obama’s overall environmental record is shorter, but looks better than McCain’s. ++ Both want to use technology that is not ready and neither plan is as clear as it should be, but Obama wants to move the country away from oil as quickly as possible while McCain will leave it up to the market. ++ Obama plans to implement a cap-and-trade system and enforce strict transportation

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September 30, 2008 | McCain's Policies Favor Israel

McCain’s perception of the Middle East conflict deems Israel a critical ally. ++ McCain accepts the military facet of the conflict, while Obama considers diplomacy the tool to triumph over a minority of Islamic extremists. ++ The root cause of Islamic terrorism is also disputed: McCain believes it is an ideological conflict, and Obama assumes that it is driven by poverty and despair. ++ Obama

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September 29, 2008 | Presidential Debates: What Are They Worth?

Presidential debates cannot change the fundamentals of an election. ++ Reagan’s poor opening debate against Mondale didn’t keep him from a 49-state landslide, and Kennedy’s strong debate against Nixon didn’t insure his victory - a surge in the Catholic vote did. ++ While McCain performed well on Friday, the fundamentals haven’t changed: unpopular president, more Democratic voter registration, and

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September 26, 2008 | "Fire-Tested but Not Burnt Out" Leaders, Please

Brown and McCain value experience as a virtue. ++ Especially McCain’s strategy is contradictionary: he portrays himself as a politician who has enough experience to shape the decision about the financial rescue package, and as a Washington outsider at the same time. ++ However, neither Obama nor McCain have executive experience. ++ In the US and UK voters are looking for somebody “who is

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September 23, 2008 | US Bailouts: Socialism is Not the Answer

Washington is bankrupt, fiscally and morally. ++ Socialism is in full swing, proving the free-market Republicans hypocrites. ++ Paulson wants Congress to grant the Fed $700 billion to buy private assets. ++ Such a move will only create more financial turmoil for the US and Europe in the future. ++ Moreover, the entire G8 is a financially “spent force.” ++ Yet, ironically the political landscape

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September 19, 2008 | Uncle Sam's Unsolved Problem

Immigration remains an open problem in the US and is now on the campaign agendas. ++ Obama still supports the three pillars of extensive reform: tougher enforcement, expanded legal immigration and a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants who are already in the US. ++ McCain, on the other hand, is leading a party whose members mainly oppose the path to citizenship and give priority to border

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September 18, 2008 | Politics of Fear are Bad News for Obama

Due to the financial crisis, the attack on the US embassy in Yemen, and the latest tropical storms, the tone of the US presidential campaign has become nervous and angst-ridden. ++ Even if people who consider the economy to be the most important reason to vote for Obama, there is a “deeper politics of fear that runs against Obama.” ++ While Obama offers a dream of how the world could be, McCain

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September 15, 2008 | US Should Reduce its Dependence on Oil

McCain’s campaign is turning everything into a cultural wedge issue - including energy policy. ++ Republicans who favor the exploitation of more and more oil ignore the need for an energy policy that diminishes the US dependence on this resource. ++ Dependence reduces the US ability to compete in the age of globalization and endangers its economic and military power. ++ McCain had better

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September 10, 2008 | Give the World What it Wants: Obama

A McCain victory could have consequences that reach far beyond party politics. ++ Enormous numbers of young voters support Obama, a generation that could easily become cynical should this seemingly obvious election go sour. ++ Likewise, African Americans could conclude that if Obama can’t do it, no black American ever will. ++ Moreover, the repercussions around the world could be more radical;

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September 4, 2008 | Biden's Flawed Foreign Policy Judgements

McCain’s vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin, is accused of lacking experience in security and foreign policy issues. ++ She is contrasted to Obama’s running mate, Joseph Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. ++ His experience, however, doesn’t translate into expertise: during his 35 years in the Senate Biden has shown that his judgement in national security

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August 14, 2008 | "We Are All Georgians"

Russia claims to protect Ossetians, but its brutal military campaign encompassed the whole of Georgia and therefore a regime change in Georgia seems to be its true aim. ++ In light of these events, Georgia’s reasons for seeking NATO membership are apparent. ++ Hopefully, NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine. ++ The US and its allies must persuade the Russian

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July 22, 2008 | Obama's Iraq Strategy Scarily Stays the Same

Obama has not retracted from his end-the-war stance which dates back to 2003 and was the key to his success over Clinton during the primaries. ++ But in so far as “full withdrawal” from Iraq, such as Iraqis want, never belonged to his aims, he has not changed policy. ++ His plans to maintain residual forces in Iraq and reserve “the right to intervene militarily,” reveal both his

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June 30, 2008 | The Danger of a League of Democracies

Senator McCain’s call for a “League of Democracies” would be a danger rather than an aid to world peace. ++ With both Russia and China excluded, the league would be unable to combat the most pressing global matters: terrorism, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. ++ McCain’s plan could even create a Cold War-like tension between democratic and autocratic states. ++ The League of Democracies

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June 26, 2008 | The Bipartisan Vision of a Nuke Free World

Working towards a nuclear free world is a necessity now that the cold war is over. ++ Both presidential candidates have announced they would commit the US to this goal. ++ The next president should lead the freeze on the production of material for nuclear weapons and work closely with Congress and allies to strengthen the international non-proliferation regime. ++ A nuclear fuel bank, which would

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June 23, 2008 | Bribing Voters With a Populist Energy Policy

John McCain intends to subsidize domestic drilling and cut taxes to “free” the US of its dependence on foreign oil. ++ However, the basic rules of microeconomics doom this popular yet cynical energy policy to failure. ++ American gas prices would still be linked to global supply, demand would remain high, and the environmental consequences would be disastrous. ++ A transition to alternative

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June 17, 2008 | US Deal Leads to Rising Resentment in Iraq

Iraq’s disparate ethnic groups are united in their opposition to the latest American political and military intentions for the country. ++ According to Bush’s plan, occupation of Iraq could be indefinite. ++ The president should leave the task of settling a deal with the Iraqi government to his successor and be content with an extension of the UN mandate, which is soon to expire. ++ His current

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June 12, 2008 | Bush Slowly Fades, as New Presidency Nears

On both sides of the Atlantic, politicians are certain that a new US President will mean big change on a broad range of issues, from climate change to Iraq. ++ In gearing up for a more “enlightened” era of transatlantic relations, governments and media have given little attention to Bush’s remaining days in office. ++ Although public opinion in Europe clearly reveals an Obama preference, Berlin,

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June 11, 2008 | Americans Should Vote "McBama"

Official US presidential candidates have been selected but voters now face the difficult task of distinguishing between “the politics of winning”, which shore up popularity, and “the politics of governing”, which focus on ability. ++ Obama’s lack of conviction contrasts with McCain’s stubbornness, but regarding domestic policy neither has made satisfactory suggestions. ++ Assuming Republicans

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June 11, 2008 | Obama and McCain: A Duel of the Generations

Hillary Clinton has admitted defeat, as for Obama, the battle has only just begun. ++ This year’s US Presidential campaign rotates on an axis between character and experience. ++ McCain offers the American people know-how, while Obama guarantees hope. ++ Recent polls have shown that the candidates are neck and neck. ++ What is it the American people want, or rather, need? ++ The message of

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June 9, 2008 | What Good is a "League of Democracies?"

The “League of Democracies” has existed as a concept discussed by American political experts for years now. This spring, the idea transferred from the domain of relevant professional journals to that of the US presidential election campaign. In so far as the Republican candidate John McCain proceeded to turn the creation of a league of democracies into the main pillar of his future foreign

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June 5, 2008 | The Primaries are Over so the Race Can Begin

Striking differences between McCain and Obama on issues such as Iraq, the economy, global warming, energy, and the international standing of the US, mean the real debate can now begin. ++ Clinton should rally behind Obama and he should make a place for her supporters, since both would enable him to tone up and substantiate his campaign. ++ Obama needs to counter McCain with concrete suggestions

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June 5, 2008 | McCain: We Should Not be Scared but Prepared

The personality of the US election winner will fundamentally shape transatlantic relations, but the fact remains that today the priorities of the EU and US differ more than ever before. ++ In the multipolar world that has succeeded the Cold War, there is no longer something “inevitable about the transatlantic alliance.” ++ Europeans who are dreaming of Obama as president should both temper their

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June 4, 2008 | Obama Won but Clinton is Still Important

Obama has claimed the Democratic nomination, but Clinton will remain an important figure over the next months. ++ Clinton “did well among working-class whites, older voters and women” so her eventual endorsement of Obama will be crucial. ++ Clinton would do little to help balance Obama’s ticket and he cannot afford to offer her the vice-presidential nomination unless he is certain she will

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June 2, 2008 | McCain Seeks Old Friends and New Enemies

Bush’s unilateralism has created a rift in transatlantic relations that is unlikely to be fixed by the next US president, unless the EU and the US share a common threat. ++ McCain frames the authoritarian capitalism of China and Russia as the ideological antipode to liberal democracy. ++ If he were to follow through on his planned League of Democracies and the restructuring of the G8, this would

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May 30, 2008 | McCain's Foreign Policy: More Procrastination

The US position vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea has been weakened in the past several years, not out of a reluctance to engage in talks, or because of the emptiness of threats of using force, but because of a failure to formulate a clear-cut policy. ++ As the military option is unrealistic, America should focus on the many diplomatic and economic levers at its disposal. ++ John McCain’s refusal to

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May 28, 2008 | The League of Democracies is an American Fantasy

The growing popularity of John McCain’s League of Democracies among US voters of both parties should raise concern. ++ In a post-American world peace and prosperity especially require Chinese and Russian cooperation. ++ Democracies would be no less paralysed into inaction than the UN and would further lack international legitimacy for intervention. ++ It is by reforming the

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May 27, 2008 | Candidates' Foreign Policy Differences are Rhetorical

The foreign policy discussion between McCain and Obama has helped portray the former as uncompromising and the latter as visionary. ++ Since US strategy in Iraq has required diplomats to negotiate with Shiite militiamen, Sunni insurgents or Iranian counterparts for years now, the candidates’ debate regarding their respective approach to negotiation is both unrealistic and hypocritical. ++ In any

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May 26, 2008 | McCain is a Better Choice for Europe

Europeans’ support for Obama based solely on his Democratic credentials ignores his resistance to free trade which is something on which Europe depends. ++ “His ‘Invest in America’ policy can hardly be topped as protectionist mindset, and his ‘Fair Trade’ policies would lead to a restriction of world trade.” ++ Despite looming years of economic austerity and the US’s loss of power, both Clinton

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May 21, 2008 | The Costs and Benefits of Negotiation

In foreign policy, both Republicans and Democrats favor negotiation. ++ Yet McCain realizes “where diplomacy is appropriate, and where more fortitude is required” and this creates a distinction. ++ There are real downsides to the unconditional upholding of soft diplomacy. ++ Besides the cost of negotiation in terms of time and resources, it provides terrorists or leaders of state sponsors of

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May 16, 2008 | Dirty Campaign Tactics on Middle East Policy

The campaigning for the US Presidential Election has gotten ugly on Middle East foreign policy. ++ In his speech to the Israeli Knesset, President Bush accused Obama of appeasing with Hamas. ++ It is “hard to remember any president abusing the prestige of his office in as crude a way as Bush did yesterday.” ++ Senator McCain made Hamas a campaign issue in the first place. ++ Practicing

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April 28, 2008 | "McCain Turned Into a Foreign Policy Schizophrenic"

While the world is looking at Clinton and Obama, Senator McCain’s speech of 03/26 remained unnoticed. ++ McCain suggested expelling Russia from the G8 and excluding China as well. ++ His most radical foreign policy idea breaks with traditional US attempts to integrate these major global powers. ++ McCain shouldn’t be “iterating between neoconservative posturing and realist common

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Comments

November 4, 2008 | I want to second Herr Broschk's points. The...

September 7, 2008 | Let me offer Poland's perspective, a country...

August 29, 2008 | "Direct diplomacy" in this context is just a...

August 12, 2008 | So, how many European politicians are...

July 27, 2008 | @ Antal, Thanks for your comment! I...

July 19, 2008 | The question in the title may also be...

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