Saturday, July 11, 2009

President Obama and the European Press

European Anti-Americanism in The Age Of Obama
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama promised that he would “reboot America’s image” around the world. Indeed, many Americans who voted for Obama believed that his global popularity would somehow reverse the tide of anti-Americanism that so vexed his predecessor. Echoing this sentiment of Obama as saviour of America’s image abroad, presidential advisor David Axelrod recently asserted that “anti-Americanism isn’t cool anymore.”

In Europe, where anti-Americanism was elevated to the status of a religion during the presidency of George W Bush, the “chattering classes” have, by and large, toned down their criticism of the United States since Obama was elected. In general, European media coverage of Obama has been quite favourable and the vehemence of the anti-American rhetoric has been notably more muted than in recent years. But now, five months into the age of Obama, the highly vaunted transatlantic honeymoon may be coming to an end. During the past several weeks, European media have started publishing stories that criticize Obama and once again cast the United States in a negative light. Could this be a harbinger of things to come?

What follows is a brief selection of European news stories that typify what seems to be a general trend toward a return to more negative reporting about America, its people and its president. [...]

It's worth reading the news excerpts, there are links to their sources, too. The European press started to change their tune not long after Obama won the election, but that process appears to be accelerating now. It seems that German media in particular like to quote American leftists, as "proof" that America really is as bad at the German media continually claims it is, and that Obama is really just "Bush Lite".

The European Union has set itself up as the "alternative" to American power. Anti-Americanism is needed as one of the primary justifications for creating and advancing the power of the EU. They aren't likely to stop whipping that horse.

One day though, they may find they really need us, and we won't be there for them, because we will have followed their example and become too weak to lend them the support they want. They may find they can't have their cake and eat it too.

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