Last April, President Bush traveled to Europe to attend his final NATO summit. While there, he openly advocated that the alliance incorporate former Soviet republics Ukraine and George as full NATO members in an effort to “lay down a marker” for his “freedom agenda” legacy. However, NATO rebuffed, a “remarkable rejection of American policy in an alliance normally dominated by Washington.”
Next week, Bush is heading back. National Security adviser Stephen Hadley said Bush “will encourage Europe to work with the United States to confront a series of global challenges that face us both.” However, it is doubtful that Bush will encourage Europe to do much of anything as the continent’s view of the America’s role in the world has soured under Bush’s “leadership.”
Asking Europeans if “the United States is overall a force for good or force for evil in today’s world,” a recent Daily Telegraph poll found:
Anti-American sentiment still runs high [in Europe]. More people in France, Germany and Britain view the United States as a “force for evil” than good in the world, according to a poll last month for The Daily Telegraph newspaper of London.
Moreover, its unclear whether Bush’s European friends are even interested in hearing what he has to say, as many seem to believe his second term as president cannot end soon enough:
– William Keylor, professor of international relations at Boston University says “Europe is waiting for Bush’s successor because the president remains unpopular with much of the public.”
– “To say Europeans will welcome U.S. President George Bush on his farewell visit to Europe next week would invite a charge of verb-abuse. Welcome is hardly the word. But they will be glad to see the back of him.”
– “Many [European leaders] are looking forward now to the next president,” said Julianne Smith, Europe analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Indeed, the Telegraph poll also found that large majorities in Britain, France, Germany and Italy favor Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).