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How Does Europe See America? Tricky But Existent Relation

Let us understand how Europe views the United States by delving into cultural impacts, political dynamics, economic links, and historical legacy. Learn about the complicated views held by Europeans on everything from Hollywood’s influence to American politics.

Differences in political views and policy decisions, on the other hand, have periodically damaged this partnership. The United States is frequently seen as a formidable ally, yet its worldwide operations have caused skepticism. The Trump period exacerbated tensions, making Europe leery of sudden movements. 

The Biden administration’s return to multilateralism was welcomed, but obstacles remain. Europe sees America as an important partner, but one whose actions must be scrutinized to negotiate a partnership that is both crucial and challenging.

Dissect the awe, worries, and opportunities that characterize Europe’s perception of America. Let us analyze the complex terrain of the European view of the United States, whether it be in the context of innovation, entrepreneurship, or international politics.

How Have Relationships Between Europe and the US Evolved?

The perception of America in Europe is a nuanced tapestry woven with historical, cultural, and political threads of shared history, cultural exchange, and geopolitical interdependence. This complex dynamic has evolved over centuries, leaving an indelible mark on the global stage. The relationship between these two continents has evolved over centuries, shaping the way Europeans view America today. 

In terms of culture, there is a thriving interchange of concepts, arts, and customs between Europe and the United States. There are difficulties associated with this cultural dissemination since some Europeans worry about cultural uniformity and the preservation of regional history.

Politically, the transatlantic alliance serves as a pivotal point for world geopolitics. On crucial historical occasions, such as the years following World War II and when confronting the difficulties of the Cold War, the United States and Europe have stood shoulder to shoulder. There are, however, also instances of divergence, when contrasting perspectives on foreign affairs can cause difficulties and disputes.

The United States and Europe are two of the greatest economic blocs in the world, with entwined banking, trade, and investment systems. Although it has created a strong alliance, this economic interdependence also creates problems with competition and regulatory harmonization.

In the past, the United States and Europe have shared origins in the Enlightenment era and have experienced similar difficulties, such as the effects of colonialism and the fight for civil rights. However, each continent has its own unique historical stories that have shaped its values and perspective.

The relationship between the US and Europe is essentially a rich tapestry of collaboration, mutual influence, and sporadic conflict. The continuous interaction of cultures, economies, and politics continues to influence the development of world history. Navigating the possibilities and difficulties that present themselves in this crucial transatlantic alliance requires an understanding of this complexity.

1) Cultural Influence

From Hollywood films to fast-food chains, American culture permeates many facets of European life. This cultural exportation often leads to a mix of fascination, emulation, and critique. Some Europeans appreciate the vibrancy and diversity of American cultural products, while others express concerns about the potential erosion of local traditions.

2) Political Dynamics

Europe observes American politics with keen interest, especially given the global implications of US policies. The political landscape in America can appear polarized and tumultuous to Europeans, who may struggle to comprehend the intricacies of the electoral system and the prominence of lobbying. Additionally, disagreements on international issues can cause friction in the transatlantic relationship.

3) Economic Powerhouse

The United States stands as one of the world’s largest economies, exerting significant influence on global trade and finance. Many European countries maintain close economic ties with America, though this can also lead to concerns about dependency or being subject to the whims of American economic policies.

4) Historical Perspectives

Europe’s history is intertwined with that of the United States, from shared values rooted in the Enlightenment to the complex legacies of colonialism. Europeans may admire America’s founding principles while also grappling with their own historical experiences, such as the impact of two World Wars and the Cold War.

The transatlantic relationship, which sprang from the ruins of World War II, was forged on the anvil of shared principles and common enemies.

Europe was in ruins in the wake of World War II, and the United States, as the leading global power, offered assistance under the Marshall Plan. This generous deed not only made it easier for Europe to rebuild, but it also laid the groundwork for a close-knit alliance.

This partnership was further strengthened throughout the Cold War. Together, the United States and Europe resisted the communist ideology’s menace. This relationship’s cornerstone, NATO, which was founded in 1949, offers collective security against future assault.

An important turning point occurred in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell, signifying the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. It was a victory for democracy and evidence of how strong the US-European alliance has always been.

This historical story is not without its complications, though. The alliance has occasionally been strained by disagreements over issues like the Iraq War and economic policy. The underlying linkages of common beliefs, economic interests, and a dedication to democratic principles have still acted as a uniting factor even in times of division.

5) Social Issues and Identity

Differences in social norms, healthcare systems, and racial dynamics are often topics of interest and discussion. Europeans may view America’s approach to these issues with a mixture of admiration for innovation and concern about disparities.

6) Foreign Policy And International Relations

Europe has a vested interest in America’s role in global affairs. Opinions may vary on the level of American interventionism, with some Europeans advocating for a more restrained approach while others appreciate the US role in upholding international order.

7) Innovation And Entrepreneurship

America has long been seen as a land of opportunity and innovation, drawing talent and investment from around the world. European entrepreneurs and researchers may look to the US for inspiration while also recognizing the importance of fostering innovation at home.

How Do Young Europeans See the United States?

Young people between the ages of 18 and 29 in Britain, France, and Germany think that few of them view the United States as significant participants on the international scene.

The Western allies view the United States as the “world’s policeman” with a self-serving history of interventionism. Young people in the major cities of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom want their countries to interact with the rest of the world, uncovering a variety of complex and divergent viewpoints on the subject of foreign policy goals, history, and international participation.

However, they sharply criticized all major powers, regardless of the country or ideological group.

In contrast, after President Joe Biden’s victory, America’s standing in Europe has significantly improved. Biden is significantly more well-liked than his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, and most Europeans like his more multilateralist approach to foreign affairs.

The young Europeans, however, highlight enduring worries about how the United States has exercised its influence in global affairs, with participants frequently comparing American foreign policy to that of their own nations.

The majority of focus group participants feel that the US does not consider the interests of friends when making foreign policy choices, echoing a critique of the country that we frequently observe in our surveys. They were critical of American military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some participants also voice concerns about the status of American politics and society, which again echoes issues from survey research. Many claim that the United States has exhibited hypocrisy in the past by promoting democracy and human rights overseas while failing to address its own domestic issues.

Young Europeans also want to interact and work with the US despite these critiques, and they are cautiously hopeful about the future of transatlantic ties because both the US and Europe share essential democratic principles.

Additionally, many of the accusations they level at the United States—particularly those coming from the left—are also leveled at their own government.

The idea of the United States acting as the “world’s policeman” is unpopular among young Europeans.

Although surveys show that majorities in France, Germany, and the UK have positive opinions of the US, the focus group members primarily described the US involvement on the international stage in unfavorable terms.

Young Europeans are unwavering in their belief that the US serves as the world’s policeman, to the detriment of the global community across all three nations and four ideological categories.

1) “US Operations Were Badly Conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Say Europeans

People frequently cited the United States’ operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by its departure, as instances of this conduct. The majority of people in each nation thought the US pullout was badly conducted, and the young people in the focus groups strongly criticized both the withdrawal and the whole 20-year US presence in each country.

Young Europeans, who disapprove of American interventionism, plainly perceive American foreign policy to be self-serving. People do not believe that the United States considers other countries’ interests when making judgments about foreign policy.

Europeans who are active in international affairs have been particularly vocal in their criticism of US interventionism, calling it hypocritical for the country to handle global problems while ignoring social injustices at home. They are keen to see their country retain a strong, more independent presence on the international stage without depending on US policy cues.

2) Leadership Is a Problem Issue in Relations With the US

However, the majority of people in European countries view the US as at least a relatively trustworthy and significant partner for their country. Young people continue to hold onto the expectation of some sort of transatlantic cooperation despite their wish to detach their policies and reputations from the United States.

Leadership was a problem area in each country’s ties with the US. The view has changed since Biden assumed office. Young adults’ confidence in Biden is at least 30 percentage points higher than it was in Trump in 2020, but they have tempered their generally positive emotions with disappointment, with some believing he hasn’t done much to rebuff Trump’s direction.

While support for the American president increased sharply after Biden entered office in 2021, it has since decreased, particularly among young people. In Germany and France, people between the ages of 18 and 29 are far less likely to have faith in Biden’s ability to lead than those 50 or older. 

It is good that the US is back in the diplomatic game in Europe

The US-EU relationship contains both positive and negative aspects.

Positive Aspects of the US-EU Relationship

Positive aspects include fortifying partnerships, promoting stability, sharing ideals, and addressing common difficulties.

1) Alliance Strengthening

Active US participation in Europe can help strengthen alliances with European states. This might be critical to solving global issues like climate change, terrorism, and economic stability.

2) Promoting Stability and Shared Values

The United States’ engagement in European diplomacy can help to maintain regional stability. It can aid in conflict resolution, inhibit aggressiveness, and encourage peaceful coexistence. The United States and Europe frequently share democratic ideas, human rights standards, and a desire for international collaboration. Active diplomatic engagement may aid in the promotion and protection of these common ideals.

3) Countering Common Concerns

Many global concerns need international collaboration, such as cybersecurity risks, pandemic response, and economic issues. The participation of the United States in European diplomacy can strengthen joint efforts to solve these difficulties.

Concerning Issues of the US-EU Relationship

Concerning issues include historical baggage, resource allocation, prioritization, sovereignty, and independence.

1) Historical Baggage

The United States’ presence in Europe has not always been without controversy. Historical interventions, conflicting perspectives on global concerns, and policy conflicts may all hinder diplomatic attempts.

2) Resource Allocation

The United States has global obligations and interests that extend beyond Europe. An overemphasis on one location may draw resources and attention away from other crucial places.

3) Balancing Priorities

It is a difficult undertaking to balance multiple international connections and responsibilities. The US must strike a cautious balance between its interests in Europe and other regions.

4) Sovereignty and Independence

Some European countries may prefer a more autonomous foreign policy, and a prominent US presence may raise worries about the extent to which external players exercise influence.


Europe’s perception of America is a dynamic and evolving narrative that has been shaped by a myriad of historical, cultural, and geopolitical factors. It is a relationship defined by both admiration and criticism, cooperation and occasional discord. Understanding these perspectives is crucial to navigating the complex dynamics between these two influential continents.

Finally, whether the United States’ re-engagement in European diplomacy is considered good or concerning will be determined by a number of factors, including individual perspectives, specific policy goals, and diplomatic outcomes. 


Is the US an Ally With Europe?

The NATO military alliance, commercial collaboration, and similar moral principles all contribute to the positive connection between the two parties.

What Drove the European Colonization of America?

One of the main drivers behind the colonization of the New World was the chance to generate money. In order to gain money for its investors, the Virginia Company of London founded the Jamestown colony. European exploration and colonialism were mostly motivated by need.

How Does a US Citizen Live in Europe?

American passport holders are permitted brief stays of up to 90 days in one 180-day period without a visa in the majority of European nations (including those that are part of the Schengen Area). However, a long-stay visa and/or residency permit are required if you want to live in Europe.

Who are the US’s Closest Allies?

The United States and the United Kingdom are the closest of friends and allies, working together on a variety of crucial issues, such as military and security, a strong economic partnership, innovation in science and technology, and strong linkages between our people and civil communities.

Who Does the US Not Have as an Ally?

Most countries have official diplomatic ties with the United States. Other than Bhutan, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the UN Observer State of Palestine, which the United States does not recognize, this comprises all UN Members and Observer States.

What Makes the US a Superpower?

The United States possessed almost all of the characteristics of a great power; in terms of population, geographic size and placement on two seas, economic resources, and military capacity, it was superior to or almost superior to almost all other countries.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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