The Obama Effect Abroad


An incredulous Cliff May offers up what I guess he takes is a reductio ad absurdum argument:

Over on Contentions, Jennifer Rubin notes the column by Eugene Robinson contending that Obama’s Cairo speech led to the encouraging results in Lebanon’s elections.

I wonder: Does Robinson also believe that Obama’s visit to Buchenwald led to the right-wing victories in the European elections?

Look. Obviously the things that Barack Obama says and does are not going to be the main factor in foreign electoral outcomes. But insofar as the relationship with the United States is an important consideration for many countries, then it seems plausible to conjecture that the basic posture of the US President will have some systematic impact. In particular, it seems totally plausible to speculate that a more popular American president who engages with the views of foreigners is going to reduce the appeal of political movements that are skeptical of the United States and increase the appeal of movements that are more friendly to US influence. Both the March 14 Coalition in Lebanon and the European People’s Party fit the “more friendly to US influence” bill.