News Release: Faculty Experts, International, Politics

Oct. 27,  2008

European, Arabic Media United in Intense Interest in U.S. Election

Sam Cherribi, former member of the Dutch Parliament and head of the Emory Development Initiative, has been busy the last several weeks giving interviews on Al Jazeera as well as media outlets throughout the Middle East and Europe. One thing he says that European and Arabic media outlets have in common is their intense interest in the Nov. 4 presidential election.

"They talk in a very stigmatizing and negative way about the current administration,” says Cherribi, who, as a fluent speaker of French, Dutch, English and Arabic, has been an in-demand interview. Cherribi says he's seen the transatlantic divide between Europe and America grow in recent years and notes, "European-American relations has to be high on the political agenda of anyone who is elected."

Although Cherribi was not surprised by results of the recent Gallup poll in 70 countries showing Barak Obama favored 4 to 1 over John McCain, he notes that Obama has not been above criticism overseas. "A lot of people were favoring an Obama-Hillary Clinton ticket and were disappointed," he says.

Nor has reaction to a possible McCain presidency been totally negative. "People recognize that McCain was a war hero; he is a good man; he was against bad policies of the administration," says Cherribi. But McCain's choice of Sarah Palin on the ticket did not go over well. "The interpretation was that McCain wants to reach out to the far right."

Whatever the outcome of the election, says Cherribi, the next president must send a message that a new day is dawning in American relations abroad. "Europe knows that it's an economic superpower, but when it comes to defense, Europe and the Arab world are regional powers," says Cherribi. "Europe knows it cannot function without an adequate American defense program. Europe and the rest of the world are looking to America for leadership." 

Cherribi was a member of Parliament (MP) in The Netherlands from 1994-2002, representing his hometown of Amsterdam. As a Dutch MP he served as a member of the Council of Europe (an assembly focused primarily on human rights), the West European Union (focused on defense and security) and twice served as a member of the Dutch delegation to the United Nations.  

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