McCain: European or American Conservative?

On all of my recent trips to Europe-most notably to Germany and Britain--interlocutors there have been keenly interested in the U.S. presidential race. And one of their major concerns is whether or not the next president will be able to reinvigorate the transatlantic alliance and restore a sense of common purpose and partnership that many feel has been eroded in recent years.

No less than those on the left, those who self-identified themselves as conservatives raised issues such as Guantánamo Bay and climate change as continuing sources of friction in ties across "the pond." And, particularly in London (prior, of course, to Putin's Gambala gambit, there was a good deal of speculation about whether rising dissatisfaction with Moscow's policies might help to bring Europe and North America closer together.

So, based on things like Senator McCain's interview last month with Business Week, where he said he would "close Guantánamo Bay" and "address climate change in the most serious fashion", and then his use of the Financial Times more recently to lay out a more skeptical line vis-à-vis Russia, it would seem that he is continuing to lay the groundwork in Europe as the "conservative Europeans could do business with." And since two of the EU-3 are now governed by conservative politicians, and with gamblers' odds that the UK will also have a conservative government by the time the next U.S. president takes office, it certainly looks like a good strategy. It undercuts one of the Democrats' particular arguments, advanced by John Kerry in 2004, that Democrats are in a better position to improve ties with key European allies. . . .

To read the rest of this blog post, click here or visit The Washington Realist, Nikolas Gvosdev's blog.