Poggioli: U.S.-Europe relationship marked by mutual mistrust

April 23, 2007

April 23, 2007 — Sylvia Poggioli, Senior Foreign Correspondent for NPR’s foreign desk and former Shorenstein Fellow, spoke at the center’s brown-bag lunch about European media reactions to foreign news and U.S. policies. She also discussed some of the differing philosophical attitudes on gun control, immigration, terrorism, the death penalty (which is banned in the European Union), and the role of religion in politics.

Since the Cold War, she said, the relationship between the U.S. and European Union has been marked by a sense of mutual mistrust, and although they share a view on terrorism, “they sharply diverge on how to eradicate it.”

While the United States continues to direct energy towards Iraq, European nations have “failed to speak with a unified voice,” and are trying to “revisit their understanding of themselves.” In light of such a divided Europe, Poggioli described a feeling of “growing resentment by what is perceived as the Bush administration’s preference for a weak European Union,” and cited a strong European interest in Barack Obama’s campaign.

According to Poggioli, the 2008 election could serve as a good opportunity to reverse the depiction of Americans as “two-dimensional, trigger-happy cowboy imperialists.”