From the Charleston, S.C. Post and Courier — Originally published Wednesday, March 11

President Barack Obama will visit Europe at the end of March, returning to cities that rapturously received him last July, and will venture into Eastern Europe with a visit to the Czech Republic. The reception will be edgier than last time, for both economic and political reasons.

The economic anxieties are shared on both sides of the Atlantic. The Eastern European political anxieties are unique, and regrettably have been heightened by clumsy Obama administration diplomacy. The president will have to repair that damage or risk new rifts with allies.

Last week a special meeting of the European Union ended unhappily when Germany and France refused to back bailouts for Eastern European members facing dire finances. The economic strain poses a challenge to the cohesion of the European Union.

... President Obama should bring reassurances of financial help from the International Monetary Fund ... In addition, he must reassure all nations anxiously eyeing Russia that he stands fully behind their independence and territorial integrity. ...