Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Assessing the Impact of the Obama Administration on Anti-Americanism in Europe


Political Science


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



In the wake of 9/11, citizens of many countries expressed their support for the United States. Within months, however, anti-Americanism had resurfaced and continued to grow as the Bush administration continued. Numerous theories have been proposed to explain the growth of anti-Americanism in the post-Cold War era. Structural theorists emphasize the impact of historical events and system structure to explain negative assessments of the U.S. These factors are relatively immutable and predict a consistent level of anti-Americanism. Other theorists highlight the importance of value cleavages and suggest that there is a substantial difference between anti-Americanism in predominantly Muslim countries and anti-Americanism ‘lite’ in Europe. If the recent surge in European anti-Americanism is primarily based in U.S. policies and leadership, then we should expect a significant improvement with the end of the Bush administration, its use of hegemonic rhetoric, and its emphasis on unilateralist foreign policy. Using survey gathered by the Pew Global Attitudes Project during the Bush and Obama administrations, this paper seeks to assess the relative merits of several theories of anti-Americanism. Has anti-Americanism persisted or abated in the first two years of the Obama administration? Do the data provide support for structural, value-based, or leadership explanations of anti-Americanism in Europe?

Conference Name

ECPR General Conference

Conference Location

Reykjavik, Iceland

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