I’ve blogged about the damage America’s image has taken in Europe in recent years. But then again, you sort of expect that from the Euros; they’ve been regarding the U.S. with a mixture of horror and fascination for centuries.
But Britain — host of the famous "special relationship" — still has a soft spot for their callow, yet enterprising, former colonial subjects, right?
Wrong, says a poll recently released by the Daily Telegraph:
A majority of Britons think American culture and the actions of the present American administration are making the world a worse place to live in, and almost no one believes America is now, if it ever was, a beacon to the world. Well over half of those interviewed regard the US as an imperial power bent on dominating the world by one means or another. President George W Bush’s standing in this country could scarcely be lower. More than three quarters of Britons believe the current president is a "poor" or even "terrible" world leader and almost as many believe that his rhetoric about promoting the cause of democracy in the world is merely a cover for his promotion of American national interests.
They also seem to have picked up on the "my way or the highway" theme of America’s recent foreign policy:
Perhaps most worrying in political terms is the almost universal sense in this country that the US is determined to go its own way in the world, with an almost casual disregard for everybody else. Roughly three quarters of Britons think the US is "badly led" (73 per cent), "ignorant of the outside world" (73 per cent) and "doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks" (83 per cent).
The Telegraph then went to New Britain, Connecticut (which is in the United States), and asked a few Americans what they thought of the fact that people in Old Britain don’t seem to fancy America very much anymore.
New Britain’s taken some hits lately; a factory’s closed, and a lot of people lost their jobs. They’ve got problems of their own. Yet the Telegraph fearlessly sought these simple folk out in the city buses, the convenience stores, and the tattoo parlors. One unemployed former water-plant worked asked: "What do I care what the British think about America?" One couple, whom the Telegraph found on the street "drinking beer out of a paper bag-wrapped bottle" were even more succinct: "Who are they to go throwing their opinions around?"