America's foreign alliances have become an issue in this year's presidential election campaign. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, has accused President George W. Bush of neglecting and offending America's allies, particularly in Europe. A Kerry administration, he claims, will restore respect for America in the world.
Anti-Americanism is not new in Europe, but views of America have generally been more positive in the past. During the Cold War, the United States not only pursued far-sighted policies like the Marshall Plan, but also represented freedom and democracy.
Admiration for American values does not mean, of course, that others want to imitate all the ways Americans implement them. While many Europeans admire America's devotion to freedom, they prefer policies at home that temper the liberal economic principles of individualism with a robust welfare state. Despite all the rhetoric about "old" and "new" Europe, at the end of the Cold War opinion surveys showed that two-thirds of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, and Bulgarians perceived the US as a good influence on their respective countries, but fewer than a quarter wanted to import American economic models.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in