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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More