Global citizenship

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(University of Salzburg)

Views from Abroad:

Changing European Attitudes toward the United States of America between Utopia and Dystopia
The United States of America and the World
International Study Program for Community College Faculty

Salzburg Seminar
19 June 2004

© with the author

Setting the (Back-)Stage

During a lecture tour through the US in 1958, the British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, a master of the English prose and outragoues wit, whose late conversion to Catholicism made him a satirist in search of salvation, quipped.

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.

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