A political, economic and demographic divide has opened up between France and Germany. The two countries, which have for decades been the driving force behind European integration, increasingly see the world through different lenses. This new evidence of a dramatic divergence of public opinion raises new questions about prospects for the European Project.
Recent deliberations in Washington have triggered a national debate about key elements of the social safety net. Why the U.S. invests relatively less in its social safety net than many other countries reflect Americans’ conflicted, partisan and often contradictory views on fairness, inequality, the role and responsibility of government and individuals in society and the efficacy of government action.
American values differ from those of Western Europeans in many important ways. Most notably, Americans are more individualistic and are less supportive of a strong safety net than are the publics of Spain, Britain, France and Germany. However, Americans are coming closer to Europeans in not seeing their culture as superior to that of other nations.
The French public overwhelmingly endorses a ban on full Islamic veils in public places, and majorities in other Western European nations surveyed would also welcome such a ban in their countries. In contrast, most Americans would oppose prohibiting Muslim women from wearing full veils in public.
The image of the United States has improved markedly in most parts of the world reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In many countries, opinions of the U.S. are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office.
Adapting to a New World
Introduction and Summary Anti-war sentiment and disapproval of President Bush’s international policies continue to erode America’s image among the publics of its allies. U.S. favorability ratings have plummeted in the past six months in countries actively opposing war France, Germany and Russia as well as in countries that are part of the “coalition [...]