US unilateralism and American conservative nationalism
The military invasion of Iraq by the United States (US) in the spring of 2003 triggered a widespread movement of protest in Europe and elsewhere. Active protesters conquered public squares and dominated public debate, especially in Europe where, soon after, the movement against the war assumed an unequivocally anti-American tone. If the vast majority of European public opinion rallied around America immediately after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 2001 on New York’s Twin Towers and Washington’s Pentagon, in a few short years the cry ‘Nous sommes tous Américains’ has been transformed into ‘Nous sommes contre les Américains’. With the US decision to invade Iraq, antiAmerican sentiment reappeared on the surface of public debate in many, mainly Western European countries (Fabbrini 2004a). This chapter will argue that such a contestation is due primarily to the unilateralist foreign policy that characterized the first presidential term of George W. Bush (2001-2004) and which has subsequently been confirmed by his re-election to a second term. Anti-Americanism is also an underlying sentiment in European culture, particularly among political active elites such as those involved in the peace movement. However, with the international crisis of the US unilateral invasion of Iraq, this time the European mistrust towards America has significantly increased in magnitude.