Saturday, March 28, 2009

European Leaders Begin to Size up Obama

It seems like it has been years since Obama gave his speech in France in front of thousands of raving fans. People came in mass to stand at the feet of "the Messiah" who pointed towards a new era in international relations. Obama's polling numbers were off the chart through out Europe and leaders on the other side of the Atlantic were anxious to enter a new era with a new US leader.

We are now just a couple of months into the Obama Administration and reviews are beginning to come in from those same leaders who were very recently singing his praises.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy believes that Obama's approach of focusing on bailouts is fundamentally flawed and short sighted, declaring, "the problem is not about spending more, but putting in place a system of regulation so that the economic and financial catastrophe that the world is seeing does not reproduce itself."

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "the prime minister of the Czech Republic slammed President Barack Obama's plan to spend nearly $2 trillion to push the U.S. economy out of recession as 'the road to hell' that European Union governments must avoid." Furthermore, "all of these steps, these combinations and permanency is the road to hell," Mr. Topolanek said. "We need to read the history books and the lessons of history and the biggest success of the [EU] is the refusal to go this way. Americans will need liquidity to finance all their measures and they will balance this with the sale of their bonds but this will undermine the liquidity of the global financial market," Mirek Topolanek said.

The Telegraph, a British newspaper recently had the headline, "Can Obama win Us Back?" It is sub titled "President Obama is losing friends - and the G20 will be a further test." The newspaper was referring to the lack of preparation the US put into its embassy positions. Clearly, for the US, international relations was on the back burner in the minds of British leaders.

Not all of the criticism is towards Obama directly, but the disagreement in approach is still obvious. Sweden was been facing a problem with its automobile industry that is very similar to what the US has faced, yet had a very different response to its problems. The New York Times reported that the "enterprise minister, Maud Olofsson, put it recently, 'The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.'" Saab lost over $340 million last year and has begun the process of "reorganization," which is one step short of bankruptcy.

Headlines through out Europe are generally taking a more negative, or at least, cautious tone and are increasingly doubtful about Obama's ability to move the US in the right direction. What is interesting about the criticism is that it is coming from countries that have been noted for being socialist for decades, but are now concerned that the US is taking an approach that is to the left of them. These are strange days indeed.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on CNN 650 (M-F at 11 am). Eric Bolling of Fox News and Fox Business says that Price’s Blog “is very influential and moves the blogosphere.” Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com.

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