Some Americans look at the numbers as a confirmation of their own world view. They think, "Well, of course. We go around the world like a bull in a china shop, breaking things and ordering other countries around. We say we believe one thing, and then we go and do the exact opposite. Why shouldn't the rest of the world hate us?"
Other Americans see the numbers and experience cognitive dissonance. They think, "How can this be? American values are a beacon for human advancement. People around the world flock to American universities and American movies. One of our biggest problems is how to deal with the inflow of immigrants. How can they possibly hate us?"
Both points of view have considerable validity. And standard public opinion polls are too crude to fully dissect the love/hate relationship people around the world seem to have for the United States. If quantitative methods can't do the job, we need to rely on the qualitative descriptions of the problem from observers around the world. Here are some good places to start:
- The Many Stripes of Anti-Americanism. This analysis from Neil Gross in The Boston Globe argues, "...that anti-American sentiment is more varied -- and less widespread -- than you might think."
- Western Europe's America Problem. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Andrei S. Markovits takes us on an entertaining tour of anti-Americanism across Europe.
- The New Anti-American Axis: What Holds it Together? This article from Le Temps of Switzerland (thanks to WatchingAmerica.com) looks at the phenomenon in Latin America.
- "Anti-Americanism." This editorial comes from Embassy, Canada's foreign policy newsweekly. It argues Canadians are not anti-American, just anti-Bush.