It's quite easy to explain why America is unpopular in Europe. It's because you are rich, powerful and unbeatable. Everyone hates you if you are rich, powerful and unbeatable. A hundred years ago everyone hated the British Empire because it ruled the world. Now it is the turn of the Americans. It comes with the job. The only difference is that we British seemed to quite enjoy being disliked, whereas you Americans don't like it at all.1 If only it were that simple!
In the spring of 2003 one of my colleagues told me completely flabbergasted that she had overheard her two small children play war games in their garden – and both wanted to be Iraqis, neither son nor daughter wanted to play the Americans. And another friend was quite surprised when he overheard an Austrian boy telling his mother in front of the McDonald´s in the Getreidegasse of Salzburg that he wanted to go somewhere else for a bite because he did not want to support the war against Iraq.
So what is going on here? Is this a short term aberration in an otherwise unproblematic set of relations or something that goes quite deep? I suggest we first take a magical history tour and then interpret some recent poll results.