Barack: Don't Tell Europe What It Wants to Hear

Careful change is what Europe wants to believe in
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 7:51 AM CDT
Barack Obama greeting Sgt. Anthony R. Lewis of Combined Security Transition Command during a visit to Afghanistan.    (AP Photo/ U.S. Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan)
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(Newser) – The vast majority of Europeans are hoping Barack Obama will be elected president, according to polls that give him as much as 86% support among voters in France, Britain, and Germany. The overwhelming support reflects a hope for a new era of unity with the US, writes Roger Cohen in the New York Times. But Obama mustn't succumb to the temptation, Cohen warns, to ofter more than he can deliver.

"A basic truism holds: when the United States and Europe work at cross purposes, as in Iraq, disaster ensues," Cohen writes. "When they work together, as in the Balkans or Kenya, good things happen." But the candidate "mustn’t give the impression everything will change. He must build trust but not overload visions," as a German pol tells Cohen. The writer adds: "Keep the mania in check. My advice to him is: sobriety, sobriety, sobriety."