Published October 23, 2012
There was barely a mention of Europe in the third and final presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
The headline in one Italian publication read “Do These Two Know That Europe Exists?” A leading financial newspaper there had an editorial on why the euro crisis was not discussed in the debate, asking whether this means the crisis has been resolved, or that Europe doesn’t matter.
But Xenia Dormandy of London’s Chatham House told Fox News, “the reason that Europe did not come up, is that Europe is not a problem. To the Europeans, not appearing in a presidential debate is better than appearing.” Dormandy went on to say that the policies of the two candidates are so similar that “nothing would surprise Europeans into a state of concern.”
Dormandy says that at this stage, Europeans are not terribly engaged in the U.S. presidential campaign. However, she thinks they will become more interested on Election Day.
To Russia, where the stakes in this election might be higher. Mitt Romney has called Russia America’s biggest geopolitical foe, a notion Obama mocked Monday as more suitable for the 1980s.
Russia’s press was not abuzz with analysis Tuesday morning, but coverage of the debate generally concluded Obama had won.
Political analyst Sergei Markov told Ria Novosti that an Obama victory would be better for Russia because “Obama is oriented toward having good relations with Russia.”
Others say that there is not much warmth toward Obama in Russia. Russians appreciate the efforts surrounding the whole “reset” policy but recognize its limitations.
Another Russia analyst told Fox News, however, that Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially sees America as Russia’s greatest geopolitical adversary, so in that sense, maybe Romney’s candid comment is useful to the Kremlin in some way.
Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center said, “Romney’s comment may help the Kremlin consolidate its position as the defender of Russia’s national interests.”
That said, generally Trenin’s sense is that Romney’s Russia comment, which was made back in August, has been largely dismissed, or categorized as a campaign statement.
Moscow, Trenin said, is of an open mind and ready to work with either man. Russia, he said, is pretty neutral as far as the outcome of this election is concerned.