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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid