President Obama pointed to both the US and Europe's tendency to mistrust and misinterpret each other. We need each other to confront the economic, ecological, and social problems facing the planet. Coopeeration is need, not name-calling. Remember when the Bush administration's cheerleaders called the French a bunch of "cheese eating surrender monkeys?" And the Congressional Republicans changed French fries to Freedom fries? Embarrassingly juvenile behavior. But then, we had a president who tended to act like one himself--"Bring it on!" That was the tone set by the Bush administration--bullying was in, diplomacy was out. But on November 7, 2008, our long national embarrassment ended.
STRASBOURG, France (CNN) -- President Obama on Friday called on Europe and the United States to drop negative attitudes toward each other and said "unprecedented coordination" is needed to confront the global economic crisis.
Speaking at a packed town hall meeting in Strasbourg on his first overseas trip as president, Obama said, "I'm confident that we can meet any challenge as long as we are together."
It's easier to allow "resentments to fester" than "to forge true partnerships," the president said. "So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years, we've allowed our alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy. But we also know that there's something more that has crept into our relationship.
"But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad.
"On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise; they do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated."
Obama's comments came after the G-20 meeting in London, England -- which Obama called "a success" of "nations coming together, working out their differences, and moving boldly forward" -- and on the eve of a NATO summit in Strasbourg marking that organization's 60th anniversary.