how the world sees america

Goodhart: Britain Inches Left, Away from U.S.

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Today's high anti-Americanism in Britain is just skin-deep, says PostGlobal panelist and founder of Prospect Magazine, David Goodhart. “This sentiment will disappear in five seconds,” he says, when American leadership changes hands. "Come Obama, everything changes."

But this doesn’t mean America should ignore increasing differences with its ally across the pond. It should just look more closely: “The unsung aspects of the last ten years [are that] Britain is becoming increasingly Europeanized.” Its government is moving philosophically farther away from the American model. Since acquiring power, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the New Labour Party have pushed for myriad social protections, growing increasingly attuned to continental trends and policy experiments.

America dominates the masses culturally, says Goodhart. But the ties of Britain’s elite to mainland Europe are steadily increasing. For example, he suspects that even as the mass of Britons consider America a prime holiday destination, elite vacationers prefer cosmopolitan, often exclusive, locales in mainland Europe.

Nevertheless, as you seen in the video, Goodhart is reluctant to describe any whole-sale embrace of Europe by Britons.

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Comments (30)

Alex Skopje:

I think that after all this time we should take our place alongside Europe. I have never been particularly patriotic but I do feel proud to be European. No good can come from supporting America and Israel, they've only managed to tarnish the reputations of themselves and the UK with their current "imperial" expansions which will only create more danger for the future.

Oh and I do resent those Americans that enjoy overplaying the American commitment to the European conflict of the second world war compared to the giant efforts of the Soviet union. I don't want to disrespect the efforts of brave American servicemen but the German command were far more concerned with the 20 million strong Red army then they ever were with John Wayne and his six shooter.

Europe needs to start uniting maybe that way the Americans will stop attempting to bomb everyone into liberation and stop creating terrorists. They inflicted the September 11th attacks upon themselves with their interference into foreign conflicts and their dubious foreign policies.

This current war on terror is completely pointless and unwinnable. The British army tried for nearly 70 years to defeat the IRA. The Israelis have been trying to annihilate the Palestinian refugees and the PLO continuously for nearly 60 years. And then there's Afghanistan. No army since the Mongol horde has ever managed to conquer it. Better men than George Bush have tried and failed at a greater cost, to conquer a people that have been fighting guerilla warfare for nearly 30 years.

If you invade, occupy and rob a country like the Americans have Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as employing mercenaries from Blackwater USA with credentials comparable to that of a Mafioso, then you will find yourself in a position were the recruitment officers of your enemy will be out of a job because its already being done for them.

Nobody hates America, they just do not do themselves any favours with their actions. The best thing that the American people could do is what I think the British people should do.
Arrest all of the highest ranking members of their government including the premiers and heads of state that openly supported or were instrumental in the current military action in the middle east and try them for:
1) Illegal warfare
2) Crimes against humanity
3) Incitement of racial hatred
4) High Treason
And sentence them accordingly. That is probably the only course of action that could at this stage turn world opinion to a more favourable light of America.

oli:

Tantor, have you seen the state of iraq now, the iraqi people consider themselves as three different races, no instead of hateing on person, the dictator, they kill each other in the streets. personally i think they did much better with sadam in power than not. eventually they will not be occupied but they won't be able to build themselves back up, because wow all their oil will have been stolen by the united states goverment, funny that.

Tantor:

Tim: "If Bush were to be alone in his campaign to destroy Saddam in 2002/03, without Blair, the campaign would not have even an appearance of a shred of moral authority and credibility from the start."

Hmmm. You mean toppling a murderous dictator who killed half a million of his own people, fed prisoners into the plastic shredder, maintained children's prisons, employed professional rapists to deflower political prisoners, and used chemical weapons against his own subjects would not give us any moral authority nor credibility?

Tim: "To heartland Americans, you probably will never understand how important UK's support to the Iraqi campaign- because you think your country is way too big and powerful."

Actually, Tim, we do understand and appreciate Britain's support. Your criticism springs from a prejudice against America and a foolish stereotype of unaware Americans.

Tim: "In terms of moral authority, if you just act alone, without any allies, and then stomp on everyone's toes on the reason- or rather the excuse- of liberation, not mindful of the fact that people view it differently, then I think on the global era, you will be on the losing end."

You're grievously misinformed that we had no allies in the Gulf War. In fact, the Allied coalition consisted of 34 countries, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Honduras, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, The Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The U.S. had more than 500,000 troops in the Persian Gulf War, while the non-U.S. coalition forces equaled roughly 160,000, or 24 percent, of all forces.

To be blunt, Tim, America is the future in the global era because no other nation has the power nor the will to take on egregiously bad actors like Saddam. Certainly not Europe.

Tim: "Bush's "War On Terror" has not made the world safer. America have not suffered another 9/11- and I hope there won't be another in the US too- but America's allies globally have carried the burden. Even in countries like France, who have not supported the 2003 invasion, are also suffering."

Tim, you contradict yourself. You say America has not made the world safer but then point out there have been no follow on attacks on America. We certainly have made it safer in America for people to fly to Disneyworld or drink coffee in their skyscraper offices by taking on the terrorist in their home. Europe would certainly be less safe had America not smashed Al Qaeda.

America has lightened the burden of terrorism on America's allies by destroying its staging areas in Afghanistan and fighting the jihad in Iraq, rather than in Europe or America. France has hardly been an ally but makes a point of rejecting any American policy simply for being America. The only way American allies suffer is that they have played host to hostile Muslim populations who wish to do them in.

Tantor:

Anna: "And equally Gerry - Don't mean to be rude, but in the heartland of the UK we really don't give a crap what the US think of us. They are americans - why worry about it."

The heartland of the UK doesn't care what America thinks about it until enemy bombs start raining down upon your heads. One of the reasons why you can afford to be so carefree is that there is an American army camped out on mainland Europe between you and any possible aggressor.

John:

I agree with Ejaz. America should not be trying to spread democracy in the world. If a nation wants to be democratic they need to do it for themselves. He is also right when he says that we should not criticize the human rights record of other countries. It is not our place to try and advance human rights in countries such as Russia, China, Pakistan, Burma or other counties that are denying their citizens human rights. That is the task of the UN and human rights organizations. We should attend to human rights in our own nation and not worry about the rest of the world. We should set the example and not criticize or attempt to change the practices of other nations.

JT:

Relations with the UK and Europe are broken and will be difficult if not impossible to repair. The UK no longer trusts America as a result of our recent actions. It is time that we withdraw from European affairs. We should not have military bases in the UK as the British people do not want them there and the defense of the UK should be a UK and EU concern not a US concern. The US role in NATO need to be reexamined. Beyond that the US needs to withdraw from world affairs and let the UN take the lead in solving world problems.

P Brand:

"Britain which was content via Neville Chamberlin to sell it's allies to Hitler until they themselves were attacked."

Just a point of information. The UK did not wait until it was attacked. It declared war on Germany when Germany invaded Poland.
(It was in fact the USA which did not enter the war until it was itself attacked by Japan. And it was Germany that declared war on the USA).

The above apart, I have allways considered my country as an ally of the USA. We have fought together many times and are even now fighting together.

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Ejaz Farooqui:

To be honest I like America. I think the constitution is one of the best and most important documents written. But maybe this is just an ideal of America. Some Americans tell us they don't care what we think of them. Well I'd have no problem with that if the US govt didn't waltz around the world telling other countries what to do and how to live their lives. I paticularly galling that American's don't find it the slightest hypocritical that a country that murdered a generations worth of Native Americans and had to fight a CONTINENT WIDE CIVIL WAR to end slavery self-riteously marches around demanding that everyone do what they want or they are an enemy. By the way, terrorism wasn't invented on 9/11. Maybe next time you think better before letting your country-men fund terrorism against an 'ally'.

EUROPEAN EYE:

For what I have seen as a european who has lived in both the UK and the US I can definitely say that Britain is 85% european and 15% american. If you walk through London and then move to Paris you will see a difference but not that big whereas if you move to an american city you will find yourself in another world. I said 15% american because UK is slightly more influenced by American Media than Europe and because the language is the same (although it sounds completely different)

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Bridget:

I too care how others around the world view those of us in the United States. The first reason I considered emigration to Canada after Bush was voted into office was because I didn't like him. The second reason was his treatment of and disregard for our formerly close allies the French. Remember that not every voter in the United States chose Bush and many who did vote for him are regretting their choice. Obama 2008!!

lee2mx:

"but America's allies globally have carried the burden. Even in countries like France, who have not supported the 2003 invasion, are also suffering." Tim:

I didn't know France was an ally. I thought they disliked everything that comes from and is from America. At least thats what I've noticed from the anti-american sentiment I've seen and experienced in France

M Wheatley:

To P Brand, you state that Britain had 'sold its allies' to Hitler until we were attacked and that we are appeasers. This is unfair and not at all representative of the actions of Britain in the second world war. After the ill-judged diplomacy of Chamberlain in 1938 Britain along with France went to war with Germany in September 1939 when the Nazis invaded their ally Poland. At that point we had not been attacked and therefore we went to war in solidarity with an allied nation on the other side of Europe. After the fall of France in June 1940 Britain stood alone in Europe whilst the US looked on as a neutral country (although lend-lease program was a huge help) until December 1941 when Germany declared war on the United States after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Only then did America truly commit itself to the European war and its lone surviving ally Britain. This was over a year after Britain had started to be relentlessly pounded by German bombs during which time the country was in terrible danger of being invaded. Thus in reality it was the US who only acted when it was attacked, not Britain. This fact seems to have been erased from the consciousness of millions of people like P Brand and I only bring it up to counter this sort of distortionist anti-European propaganda. After the US was attacked and entered the war, Britain, America, Canada and their allies acted as a team to defeat the Axis nations. It is inaccurate and insulting to the millions of dead British, Canadian, Soviet and Commonwealth soldiers who were part of that team to state that the United States 'saved Europe'. I am sure that my dead ancestors and the millions of Europeans like them who died on the battlefield fighting Hitler will be surprised to learn that they were appeasers and that it was the USA that did all the saving and liberating. I am very pro America; in four weeks I will be visiting Normandy again to pay my respects to the thousands of American heroes buried at the Colleville-Sur-Mer American Cemetery above Omaha Beach, just as I did last year. I will also visit the graves of my countrymen and the cemeteries of the thousands of other allied soldiers buried throughout the region (yes they do exist, it's not just Americans buried in Normandy!) . Whilst I am pro-America, I, like most Europeans are very anti the sort of arrogant American that P Brand and G Fluharty represent and who appear to very representative of the people in the ‘heartland’ of America at the moment.

Lee Holmes:

Perhaps it was historian Barbara Tuchman who would prophesy a time when the ''British were less English,the French less Gaullic,the Germans less Teuton,and the Italians less Roman'',thus setting up a sort of pan-European dynasty where borders would truly disappear. In the most economic sense[including these West End nabobs headed out for Nice for vacationing instead of going to Frisco],this seems to be a good deal all around.
Yet as Britain and Europe move left[the slight rightist tic in France and its Sarcozy victory notwithstanding],asking[or perhaps demanding]that America come along for the leftwinged ride in the form of a ''President Obama'', will render the Western world,as in 1938,unable to deal with the coming ,indeed already extant imprint of Islamic fascism taking root in all continents of the earth save the frozen land.[where they would take over McMurdo Sound if they could].
In deferrence to the religiously-based monstrosity,we are,to take the advice of a Dutch Christian Bishop,to ''render unto God''by calling him ''Allah''instead of God.
Was it not this sort of appeasement before such threats that earned the English and Europeans the title of ''little worms'' by Hitler after Munich?
This ''go along to get along''attitude as displayed by members of Britains Fourth Estate is disturbing to say the least. More so,as it is harder to undo the damage wreaked afterwards than prevent it beforehand. Englands once mighty Navy and the Army which drove back the Germans at El Alamein, will be reduced to a pitiful self-defense force which could not take on a girls soccer team from Kent, much less what the Mullahs have in mind,who are raising themselves up to assume Hitlers mantle.
We consider the future alarm from Europe,suddenly realizing that ''going along''is just what the mullahs wanted anyway,as a portion of its Islamic ''Hudna''[or 'phony war'in order to further consolidate gains and stockpile weapons],which will result in a longrange ICBM which will destroy any city in Europe.
Que the Americans Here: As maybe becoming a leftwinged society isn't much good when you want to wear flowers in your hair,call God,''Allah'', and these guys want to turn you into a shadow blasted upon a wall. Enter American-crafted missle defense systems that will have to pass Russian muster first,which will include American soldiers to run and protect these,and hope that Europe hates Armageddon worse than America while we pull their chestnuts out of the fire....again. The future for Britain,at least,is that of Boy George rather than Monty and mores the pity.

Enrique:

As a life long resident of Chicago, I do care about what Britons and others think of the US. There are Americans (albeit a minority of us) that understand the importance of maintaining good relations with other countries. Whether we Americans like it or not, we are tied to the rest of the world. Let's hope that the next president repairs the massive damage that Bush has inflicted on our country's image.

P. Brand:

Dear Mr. Bakshi:

For your information anti-Americanism is NOT a new phenomenon. We saved Europe during WWII, including Britan which was content via Neville Chamberlin to sell it's allies to Hitler until they themselves were attacked. We saved the Bosnians because our Europian "friends" urged us to do so while they sat there doing nothing.

Our vetrans many of who are buried on Europian soil (i.e. Normandy)have paid dearly so that others can remain free. So yes, as Gerry said, we don't give a crap about what others think of us, and you shouldn't waste precious space in your paper to explore this. They will continue to resent us because we refuse to play their game of appeasement.

anna:

And equally Gerry - Don't mean to be rude, but in the heartland of the UK we really don't give a crap what the US think of us. They are americans - why worry about it.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Thanks JRLR! I'm delighted to hear that.

JRLR:

Amar, we're getting there. I prefer the Pew Global Attitudes Project results to the Post Global On Faith, which is where your link always led me, before...(newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/). I must say I find Chinese optimism impressive. Hope you were pleased with the Manchester United vs Chelsea finals. Enjoying every minute of this journey. Regards.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hi JRLR,

Yes, I intended to link to the Pew Global Attitudes project, but should have been more specific. That statistic I wanted to point out is that the favorability rating of the U.S. has dropped thirty percent since 2000. I intend to collect some interesting links to poll data for interested readers this weekend if I get some time. Right now I'm off to interview a big musician in Manchester named Karima and then watch Manchester United play Chelsea in the FA finals. A very big deal here indeed.... Amar

Tim:

Well, Steve Colbert was right when he recently said in "The Word" segment of his show that Tony Blair gave credibility to the Iraqi campaign- because he was way more polished, way more polite and way more convincing(of using spin) to persuade people that the Iraqi war was worth fighting.

If Bush were to be alone in his campaign to destroy Saddam in 2002/03, without Blair, the campaign would not have even an appearance of a shred of moral authority and credibility from the start.

To heartland Americans, you probably will never understand how important UK's support to the Iraqi campaign- because you think your country is way too big and powerful. In terms of moral authority, if you just act alone, without any allies, and then stomp on everyone's toes on the reason- or rather the excuse- of liberation, not mindful of the fact that people view it differently, then I think on the global era, you will be on the losing end.

Let's face it: the results are there. Bush's "War On Terror" has not made the world safer. America have not suffered another 9/11- and I hope there won't be another in the US too- but America's allies globally have carried the burden. Even in countries like France, who have not supported the 2003 invasion, are also suffering.

So its not fair to say that because they are europeans, and you are americans, it doesn't matter. It does matter and it matters a lot.

Tim:

Well, Steve Colbert was right when he recently said in "The Word" segment of his show that Tony Blair gave credibility to the Iraqi campaign- because he was way more polished, way more polite and way more convincing(of using spin) to persuade people that the Iraqi war was worth fighting.

If Bush were to be alone in his campaign to destroy Saddam in 2002/03, without Blair, the campaign would not have even an appearance of a shred of moral authority and credibility from the start.

To heartland Americans, you probably will never understand how important UK's support to the Iraqi campaign- because you think your country is way too big and powerful. In terms of moral authority, if you just act alone, without any allies, and then stomp on everyone's toes on the reason- or rather the excuse- of liberation, not mindful of the fact that people view it differently, then I think on the global era, you will be on the losing end.

Let's face it: the results are there. Bush's "War On Terror" has not made the world safer. America have not suffered another 9/11- and I hope there won't be another in the US too- but America's allies globally have carried the burden. Even in countries like France, who have not supported the 2003 invasion, are also suffering.

So its not fair to say that because they are europeans, and you are americans, it doesn't matter. It does matter and it matters a lot.

Colonel Lawrance:

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Gerry Fluharty:

Don't mean to be rude, but in the heartland of America we really don't give a darn what the Brits think of us. They are Europeans - so why worry about it.

JRLR:

Decades later, even in the Europe of the 25, the distinction between the British Isles and the Continent seems to remain very vivid across the Channel...

Yet it might be encouraging to note that in Britain, at least, disagreement on matters of foreign policy may not amount to more than skin-deep anti-Americanism (or to no anti-Americanism whatsoever), after all. This looks like an interesting precedent to bear in mind.

I may be lost but does your "anti-Americanism in Britain" link really lead us where you intended it did?

obrie64:

Britian lies off the European mainland not the American one. Thats right Britian isnt the mainland.

Unbekowning to most English espeically Tories it has more in common with other northern European politcal systems than the United States in that it is a social democracy.

In its speical relationship with the US it sees itself as gaining a special advantage of influence. Britian as Greece to American's Rome? Of course Greece was merely but one more province in the Roman empire.

But more recently we see its actual non-influence in Washington on issue such as Iraq and Global warming and embrassing itself in an attempt to host the new anti-baliistic missile defence in order to stay relevent.

It's time the United Kingdom reformed itself as a modern federal state (two kingdoms, a principality and a province - how quaint) moved the politcal capital out of London and realise that its future lies within a confederal politcal united and military independent EU.

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