Why Europe hates America Pt.3
Kipling's poem The White Man's Burden is often assumed to be about the British Empire, but it was in fact addressed to the United States, then beginning its global ascendancy following the Spanish-American War.
A century later, its lines -"The blame of those ye better, the hate of those ye guard" - seem eerily prophetic. According to our YouGov poll, even many Britons regard America as malign, although they remain fond of individual Americans.
Americans find themselves damned either way. If they remain within their own borders, they are isolationist hicks who are shirking their responsibilities. If they intervene, they are rapacious imperialists.
Indeed, many of their detractors manage to hold these two ideas in their heads simultaneously. Yet a moment's thought should reveal that they are both unfair...
Conceived in a popular uprising against autocratic government, the United States has a natural sympathy with self-rule, personal freedom and representative government. To this day, it is guided by the Jeffersonian ideal that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect.
The EU, of course, is founded on the opposite principle, that of "ever-closer union". No wonder its peoples sometimes resent their more successful cousins.
The ignorant misguided bile one hears about America and its leaders is astonishing and a disgrace but is absolutely normal amongst people who consider themselves "educated". At most dinner parties it would be far more acceptable to admit to having just buggered the cat rather than suggest that George W was an intelligent thoughtful man.