A June survey by the Pew Research Center found that, while international support for President Barack Obama has “significantly” declined since he took office, confidence in him in Europe still remains high. While it remains to be seen how Mitt Romney’s foreign policy would differ from Obama’s (“given Romney’s remarkable ignorance of the subject and the opacity of many of his comments,” as Stephen M. Walt writes in Foreign Policy), here’s a selection of responses in Europe to the choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as GOP vice-presidential candidate.
With Europe in the grip of a lagging financial crisis that has seen many countries — Greece, Spain, the UK — impose unpopular austerity measures, media sources emphasize Ryan as a deficit-slasher who has called for, among much else, reducing Medicare’s funding and other government programs.
Ryan is the “great new hope in the Republican Party” (“große Nachwuchshoffnung in der republikanischen Partei”) who could certainly help the Republicans gain ground among conservative voters, says Germany’s conservative newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.
The BBC’s North American editor Mark Mardell said that Ryan is a “bold and ideological choice.”
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica‘s adjective to describe “ultraconservative” Ryan is “grintoso,“ ”gritty.”
Deutsche Welle quotes Christian Lammert, an expert on US politics at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin, who says that “Ryan’s views on economic and tax policy are very radical, so I’m not sure if he’s a good choice for targeting independent voters, who make up about 40 percent of the base” though he will certainly help attract right-wing Republicans.
For these reasons, Harry J. Enten writes in the center-left Guardian that the choice of Ryan “makes little sense” to him electorally. The Guardian elsewhere describes Ryan as “controversial” and an “ideological conservative” whose choice will certainly “polarize the White House campaign.”
The conservative Telegraph approved of Romney’s choice, deeming Ryan “whipsmart, well-spoken, and telegenic” and a “young economic warrior” who “provided the leadership the president did not” in the face of the US’s budget deficit.
The French newspaper Le Monde says that Ryan is a “young wolf about the budget, adored by the Tea Party” (“un jeune loup du budget, adulé par le Tea Party”) who is “not afraid of wielding a chainsaw” (“ne craint pas de manier la tronçonneuse”) and has shown pictures of riots in Greece to his district in Wisconsin while asking if “are we waiting” for such to happen?
(Though the main reason that demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent are being held in Greece is to protest austerity measures of the sort that would be opposed under Ryan’s proposals.)
The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel describes Ryan as “less boring than [former Minnesota Governor Tim] Pawlenty and [Ohio Senator Rob] Portman, but less exciting than Palin” (“weniger langweilig als Pawlenty und Portman, aber weniger aufregend als Palin”).
Noting that Ryan and Romney share a love of Powerpoints replete with graphics and such to illustrate fiscal targets, Der Spiegel also suggests that Ryan “could play the role of the mastermind.” With reference to Romney introducing Ryan as “the next president of the United States,” Der Spiegel then concluded that he might be a “kind of economic policy Cheney” (“könnte dabei die Rolle des Vordenkers übernehmen”… “so eine Art wirtschaftspolitischer Cheney”).
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