Wednesday, May 21, 2008
This is the gamble. That upon the inauguration of a new U.S. president in January 2009, the rest of the world, but especially our allies, will want to shore up their ties with the United States and so will drop or mute their current opposition to a variety of American proposals--and that they will find a U.S. president much more prepared to bring U.S. policy on a variety of issues, starting with climate change, into closer alignment with what other states have proposed. Add to this growing unease about the rise of China and the return of Russia, and we have a transformed relationship.
It could happen. But what I think might end up occurring is that a new U.S. administration might be prepared to offer something that would have been acceptable in 2002 or 2003 but that by 2009 may seem insufficient--so I do think that there is a clear "expectations gap", certainly in the trans-Atlantic relationship. It bears watching, and it means that we need to de-emphasize the countdown to 1.20.09 as the only thing that needs to change.