Monday, December 13, 2004

Europeans Don't Like Bush

And they don't like the Americans very much anymore, either, at least in some countries. According to a new AP-Ipsos poll:

Polling found that Bush is viewed favorably by a majority of people in the United States. But that is not the case in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
A majority of people in Britain, America's strongest ally in the Iraq war, have an unfavorable view of Bush. Six in 10 Britons said they were disappointed he was re-elected.
In Canada, about the same number of Canadians said they were disappointed with the re-election. The president was asked last month during a trip to Canada about various polls that show Canadians and Americans drifting apart.
"We just had a poll in our country where people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to stay in place for four more years," he replied.
Just over half of the people in France, Germany and Spain had an unfavorable view of Americans, but a solid majority in Australia (69 percent), Britain (60 percent), Canada (80 percent) and Italy (56 percent) expressed a favorable opinion.

The most interesting finding of this poll is that what the Europeans are expressing is not the usual anti-Americanism, but something different:

The polls suggest an increasing lack of understanding about Americans in Europe, rather than a surge of anti-Americanism, said Corman, who studies public opinion trends in Europe.
"The predominant feelings about Bush's re-election in the European countries are disappointment and surprise more than anger," he said, noting that anger about Bush's re-election was higher in Spain.
"Above all, they appear to be worried about the consequences of this election," Corman said.

This is correct, I believe. The Europeans I have talked to simply don't understand what's going on in this country. They ask me if Americans have gone crazy, and then I have to give them a long educational lecture on the wingnuts. European wingnuts are mostly of a much tamer subspecies, though of course they have more Islamic extremists there. There is a continental chasm and it's getting wider, I'm afraid.

The Bush administration doesn't care about the public opinion abroad, because Bush is, by their own definition, always right. So if foreigners don't like what we are doing it's because what we are doing must be the right thing to piss off all those hostile foreigners. And in any case, foreigners are wussy wimps and the U.S. doesn't need the approval of wussy wimps. Besides, Europe may very well be the continent where the Devil will rule when Rapture comes about.

Saner Americans do worry, of course.