Daniel Korski

Ex-Obama aide “worried” about Tory Euroscepticism

Ex-Obama aide “worried” about Tory Euroscepticism
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One of Labour’s talking points during the election has been that even the US administration is worried about Conservative Europe policy and how a government led by David Cameron may marginalise Britain in Europe and hobble Europe in the world. Until now, there has been very little to prove the concern. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has said nothing, nor has anyone in the White House.

But two days ago came the clearest sign that the US administration may indeed be worried. In a blogpost, John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, head of Barack Obama’s Transition team and founder of the Center for American Progress, the most influential think-tank in today’s Washington, wrote:

"Worryingly, under David Cameron’s leadership, the Conservative Party’s traditional Euro-skepticism has become more extreme. Consider, for example, his decision to have Conservative members leave the European People’s Party—the mainstream center-right grouping within the European Parliament that includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP—to form a new parliamentary group with a maverick collection of racist, homophobic, and xenophobic members of the European Parliament.

Beyond the obvious political symbolism this entails—it is hardly good for Britain’s prestige when its European parliamentarians sit with those who have argued the election of a black U.S. president hails the end of civilization—the decision also illustrates Cameron’s willingness to forgo political influence to placate extreme elements of his own party.

Looking to the challenges ahead, one also has to question what role David Cameron will be able to play in shaping the EU’s policies toward China and the emerging economies when it comes to mitigating the effects of potentially catastrophic climate change. Nor do we know if a Cameron-led government could be an effective advocate when it comes to convincing other European partners to take seriously their responsibilities for providing additional forces, trainers, and financial and political backing for our joint efforts in Afghanistan."