On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN European political editor Robin Oakley pontificated to Senators McCain and Obama on how the U.S. can be more liked by people in Europe. The U.K. native’s advice -- change the country’s policies, especially its conservative ones, so it’s more like the European Union. The best example of this came when Oakley brought up the issue of guns: "While we're on the symbolism, let me remind you how many Europeans see U.S. voters -- as a trigger-happy bunch with a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other.... Does either of you senators have any serious plans to reduce the number of guns available in the U.S. or even dare to suggest it? That really would impress the Europeans, that you stand for change." The editor played video of Americans shooting off firearms, especially automatic weapons, at ranges and shoot-offs, playing further on a common European stereotype of Americans.
Anchor Rick Sanchez introduced Oakley’s report just after the top of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, asking, in so many words, "why does the rest of the world hate us?" "There's no doubt that, as the rest of the world sees that, they do begin to wonder about us. They also wonder about our political system. In many ways, they don't seem to understand us. So, we want you to watch this report. It's coming up now. It's prepared by Robin Oakley, one of our chief international correspondents with oodles of experience." Instead of it being about the entire world however, Oakley focused on Europe. He began with file video of Barack Obama being introduced to a cheering crowd during his trip to Europe earlier this year and with the following commentary: "It's nice to be loved, isn't it, Senator Obama? It's nice to have people who care, don't you find, Senator McCain? But the president of the United States has a wider role, too, as leader of the free world. So, how much do you care about being liked outside the United States, too? Take Europe, for example."
He then began giving advice on different issues that are often contentious in transatlantic relations, starting the war on terror: "[A]llow me to offer some advice on how to be liked and how to make America liked in Europe -- no more, please, of that old-Europe, new-Europe stuff. Let's start with, well, Guantanamo Bay. To some Americans, it's a symbol of America's implacable determination to win the war against terror. For most Europeans, it's a sickening example of how the war against terror is being lost, shaming the defenders of democracy by using torture and imprisonment without trial."
After following the Guantanamo Bay issue with his left-wing advice on gun control, Oakley continued by moaning about another common stereotype that many Europeans have about Americans -- that every American drives a SUV: "Here's another U.S. image that runs across the world, gas-guzzling autos stacked along the U.S. freeways, contributing heftily to the climate change crisis....Over here in Europe, we have the general impression, Senator McCain, Senator Obama, that you would be more cooperative on climate change than the present administration. But let's have some specifics. Will you or will you not sign up to the Kyoto agreement's successor?"
As you might expect, the CNN editor concluded with the issues of "peace and war," as he put it, all the while continuing his Europeans-are-superior tone:
OAKLEY: And what about the really big ones, peace and war? You have given us a clear idea where you stand on some of the particulars, like Iraq.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: I know how to win wars. I know how to win wars.
OBAMA: I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office -- ending this war.
OAKLEY: That's fine. But what Europe would like to know, Senator Obama, is just when you expect that mission to end. And winning wars is one thing, Senator McCain. What Europe would like to be assured is that you don't plan to start any more. Are you both ruling out military action against Iran? How, for example, do you see relations with Russia developing, another Cold War, Senators? Sounding tough from Washington is one thing, but for the European Union, Putin and Medvedev are virtually next-door neighbors, and not only that, neighbors who supply some 40 percent of our energy. So, can Europe's politicians really be blamed for preferring to keep talking to the bear, however grumpy he may get?
And that, Senators, brings me to the crux of the matter. Though we don't always have shared interests, we do have shared values. Europeans are your natural allies. And that, our leaders reckon, gives us the right to be consulted. We know you will sometimes have to do your own thing, but we would like to feel that, as president, you will talk, not just to your vice president and the Pentagon, but to your allies, too, before you act. And, if you won't let me tell you that's the way to get results, then ask a certain President George W. Bush. In his first term, he learned it the hard way. Robin Oakley, CNN, London.
This is just what the U.S. needs -- another condescending left-wing European telling Americans that they should be more like him and his buddies overseas.