chapter  7
29 Pages

Anti-Americanism and European public opinion during the Iraq war


The spectre of anti-Americanism is hovering again about Europe.1 In the past three years, politicians and commentators, on both sides of the Atlantic, have denounced its rapid resurgence in Europe.2 In their view, the spread of anti-Americanism would contribute towards explaining Europe’s lukewarm solidarity with the United States’ (US) fight against terrorism and rogue states, such as Iraq. However, as is often the case, the existence and the relevance of the phenomenon is taken for granted, and little effort is spent on trying to understand its precise contours, interrelationships and consequences. Is anti-Americanism a manifestation, a cause or a consequence of the present transatlantic rift? Any analysis of the dimensions, nature and consequences of anti-Americanism is difficult for at least three reasons: its ‘essentially contested’ nature; its loose empirical referents and the variety of its manifestations. Not surprisingly, different answers are offered to the question on who is and what it means to be anti-American.