News / Europe

Obama Trip to Britain Highlights His European Popularity

U.S. President Barack Obama and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron walk in the gardens after holding a joint news conference at Lancaster House in London, May 25, 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron walk in the gardens after holding a joint news conference at Lancaster House in London, May 25, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama is in Britain with his wife Michelle on a state visit aimed at strengthening the longtime "special relationship" between Britain and the United States. At a news conference in London, Obama and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said the relationship is special and essential.

During a joint news conference, Obama described the relationship as “stronger than it has ever been” and Cameron said the two men see “eye to eye” on a range of issues.

Analyst Xenia Dormandy, of the London-based research group Chatham House, said during the course of the past 15 years, the United States and Britain have, to some extent, taken one another for granted. She said they have not thought deeply enough about how to make the most out of their relationship.

But, she said, Obama’s state visit has shown that both sides realize they need to be more strategic about how they think about that bond.

"I think what you are seeing today, yesterday, is a change," said Dormandy. "You are seeing both sides wake up to the fact that if they want to achieve any of the objectives that they mutually hold, they need to do it in close collaboration. They need to work effectively together and that means they need to think strategically about their problems together, rather than doing so independently."

She said the United States is an economic and military powerhouse in a way that Britain is not. On the other hand, she said, Britain has some strong historical relationships with a number of countries that the United States does not. And Britain, she said, has so-called “soft power” that the United States might have been lacking in recent years.

"So what they need to work out is, 'Where is it that the U.K. can bring some of the soft power, some of the legitimacy to the table and work in conjunction with maybe America's economic strength and in terms of the military?'"

That kind of collaboration is important, she said, when trying to address a range of issues, including the ongoing war in Afghanistan, political upheaval in Middle East and North Africa, and the global economy.

London School of Economics International Relations Professor Michael Cox said the United States is increasingly working to build ties with emerging economies, namely in Asia. But he said that does not change the strong U.S. affinity with European countries.

"It is not just a partner, it is also a long standing ally," he said. "We are members of NATO, in the majority. We are members of the European Union, with which the United States has very good relations. We are democracies. We actually look at the world, if not exactly in an identical manner to an American President, this one in particular, but we look at it in broadly similar terms."

Cox said the United States’ reputation in Europe was hit during the presidency of George Bush, and Obama’s election was received with a certain sense of euphoria on the continent.

He said some have been disappointed, hoping Obama would, for example, take stronger action on climate change and exercise more “soft power.” Cox said the continued existence of Guantanamo Bay and the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden also were met with disappointment from some corners.

"I still feel there is a good degree of popular support for Obama amongst European and British publics," he said. "He would get very great receptions here, as he did in Ireland, and no doubt would do in France. As I said to other people in the United States, he might be more popular here in Europe than he is back in the United States, at least for some people."

This is Obama’s eighth trip to Europe as president.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs