The election of a new American President is also a test. One which will determine, as is sometimes avowed, if European discontent is merely a manifestation of anti-Bushism rather than a more virulent, infectious anti-Americanism.
In truth, the two cannot be so easily disentangled. Yet Europeans may one day reflect that, unlikely as it may seem, Mr. Bush was a better friend to Europe than they ever imagined. Politics is always a matter of style and substance. Mr. Bush’s style permitted Europe to turn away from and reject the substance of his presidency. In other words, the brutishness of the Bush White House and Pentagon, it’s casual, cavalier disregard for the interests and favor of its friends, gave Europeans license to opt-out of the American worldview. Mr. Bush’s successor may not grant the continent that luxury.