Der Atlantik, schwarz weiß geteilt

Die Beziehungen zwischen dem kontinentalen Westeuropa und den USA waren in den letzten Jahrzehnten niemals so angespannt gewesen, wie sie es jetzt sind. Liegt der Grund dafür in vorübergehenden Meinungsverschiedenheiten über einen bestimmten Gegenstand, etwa den Irak-Krieg? Oder ist der ideologische Unterschied auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks so tiefgreifend und weitreichend, dass er wahrscheinlich nicht so bald verschwinden wird?

Bevor Diplomaten und Experten die Differenzen auf beiden Seiten zukleistern, ist es notwendig, über ihre Ursachen nachzudenken. Wir glauben nämlich, dass die transatlantische Spaltung grundsätzliche Unterschiede in den Werteinstellungen widerspiegelt - mit dem unmittelbaren Vorbehalt, dass diese Unterschiede beide Seiten nicht in einen Konflikt stürzen und dies auch nicht sollten.

Die tiefgreifenden, unterschiedlichen Werte, die man in Amerika und Europa vertritt, lassen sich am besten daran erkennen, wie jede Seite Armut, Ungleichheit und den Sozialstaat wahrnimmt. Nach dem Welt-Werte-Überblick (World Value Survey), einer geachteten Studie über Standpunkte, die in ungefähr 40 Ländern durchgeführt wird, glauben 60 % der Amerikaner, arme Leute seien "faul". Diese Einsicht teilen nur 26 % der Europäer. Nahezu genau das umgekehrte Verhältnis (60 % Europäer zu 29 % Amerikaner) glaubt, dass die Armen in der Armut wie in einer Falle festsitzen.

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