You get the sense frustration has been mounting in Europe-first precincts. Teeth are gnashed and garments rended in direct proportion to the policy energy Asia consumes in Washington. In particular, the Obama administration's pivot to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean has occasioned no end of fretful commentary.
Consequently, the news that the United States and the European Union will commence negotiating a transatlantic free-trade zone gave vent to rapturous commentary. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who oversaw the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Staff from 2009-2011, hailed "The Coming Atlantic Century," appropriating the title of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2011 Foreign Policy essay announcing the Asia pivot. Writing in The New Republic, Brookings Institution scholar William Galston greeted "Obama's Pivot to Europe" while urging readers to "forget China." And so forth. Catharsis is good! Yet the euphoria is largely misplaced.
There are four problems with a putative Europe pivot: