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Obama the Atlanticist?

Before the details of Barack Obama's foreign policy team started to emerge, I had expected that his administration would take a global approach to foreign policy and security challenges, and would not necessarily engage Europe first. This perception was fleshed out in the Atlantic Review post 'Obama the Catalyst' by Don, and my post on the Berlin speech, 'Obama keeps it Global'.

The foreign policy people Obama is surrounding himself with speak more for an accelerated renaissance of the transatlantic alliance than anything else.

Hillary Clinton, the next Secretary of State, was more interested in Europe than Obama during the primaries for the Democratic nomination, as Christian Andreas Morris wrote at the time on the Atlantic Community. Moreover, her husband's administration had most of its high profile foreign policy engagements in Europe. Insofar as Hillary Clinton received foreign policy experience through 'osmosis', Europe looms large in her frame of reference.

Matthew Yglesias has noted that the main thing about retired general James L. Jones, Obama's National Security Advisor, is that no one really knows what his views are. It is not too hard to find out some of those views, however, as Jones delivered a number of speeches when he was SACEUR from 2003 to 2006, which can be found on the SHAPE website. A few more pieces can be found on the website of the Atlantic Council of the Unites States, of which Jones is currently the chairman.

You just don't get more atlanticist than Jim Jones. He grew up in France, speaks the language, and spent his years as SACEUR in Brussels on a mission to transform NATO. In his farewell address as SACEUR he said:
I love this Alliance. I love what it stands for. I love for the inherent goodness of its people. I love the inherent example that the members of the Alliance set for the world over. And I think it's a wonderful, vibrant organisation that is alive. Alive and prosperous and going to make tremendous contributions, the likes of which perhaps none of us can even imagine in this 21st Century.

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