Oh, how the mighty fall! When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, plenty of Europeans were arguably more excited than Americans about the United States’ new celebrity-in-chief. European youths turned out in droves to cheer the new world leader, glad to be rid of his uncivilized cowboy of a predecessor, and the Nobel crowd promptly presented him with a peace prize after less than a year in office.
But it seems that all of the craic and the shmoozing and presenting the Queen with an iPod full of Barack Obama’s greatest hits was for naught. You can’t out-cool an economic crisis, and his erstwhile international support group just isn’t feeling the same level of love they once harbored for the broken-promises president. Spiegal reports on a new Pew Research Center survey that suggests Obama’s popularity with Europeans is a sharp decline:
In a new global survey released on Wednesday, approval of President Barack Obama’s policies has declined significantly since he first took office. Overall confidence in Obama and attitudes toward the US have slipped modestly as a consequence. By several measures some of the greatest slippage has occurred in Germany, especially with regard to America’s image and Obama’s foreign policies. After more than three years in office, Germans are disappointed in the US president’s unilateralism; his use of force, particularly drone strikes; his inaction with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian situation and his lack of effort in curbing climate change.
Of course, Europeans’ confidence in Obama remains squarely in the positives (if only he could get numbers like that at home!), but the sharp drop in approval of his policies is probably a “change” upon which Team Obama isn’t too keen. Obama was supposed to stop America from supposedly taking the reins and acting like, heaven forbid, a superpower (a.k.a., more multilateral dithering, please!); but his drone strikes, “kill list,” and other perceived unilateral actions aren’t too popular with the Europeans.
Stinks for Obama that Germans are so disillusioned with him of late — they’re the most stable country holding down the economic fort over there, and as Europe’s and the United States’ economic crises are so inextricably linked, he’s going to need their cooperation.