chapter  5
22 Pages

Uncomfortable lessons: the European Union and the USA, 1989/91–2008

The government of President George W. Bush provoked widespread hostility in many European countries and the public sympathy accrued in the wake of the autumn 2001 attacks on New York and Washington was quickly dissipated by the American attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. There was some anti-Americanism and in the USA analogous anti-Europeanism. But the actions of President Bush’s government were not in themselves enough to generate such tensions, the regime might have been unpleasant but it could only serve for a maximum of two terms, something else was going on. The actions of the American government heightened a number of structural pressures within the global system and provoked signifi cant change in longestablished relationships; these matters could be pursued in the familiar style of political commentary, running analytic machineries to read changing relationships, but in this instance the expression of deep-seated tensions took a starkly public form, change was played out in day-to-day events and could be followed in newspapers and television broadcasts.1