The Obama presidency has been a shock to Europe. At heart, Obama is not a Westerner, not an Atlanticist. He grew up partly in Indonesia and partly in Hawaii, which is about as far from the East Coast as you can get in the United States. “He’s very much a member of the post-Western world,” said Constanze Stelzenmüller of the German Marshall Fund.
The great struggles of the Cold War, which bound Europe and the United States, did not mark Obama, whose intellect and priorities were shaped by globalization, and whose feelings are tied more to the Pacific and to Africa. He can make a respectable speech on a Normandy beach, but he’s probably the first U.S. president for whom the Allied landing is emotionally remote.
Sadly, this sort of projection is common practice among both reporters and pundits. After all, why should we let a lack of evidence get in the way of a good story?