"Vulgar," "uncultured," "ignorant" and "greedy" are some of the more common adjectives that Britons use when describing Americans, according to the findings of a new poll published today in the Daily Telegraph. Ironically, those same adjectives can be used to describe the Telegraph's editorial board that thought it necessary to conduct the poll — with the help of YouGov — just in time for the 4th of July. Perhaps the better story, which the Telegraph chose not to report, is that after 230 years, Britons continue to begrudge the United States for that pesky revolution.
The Telegraph reports (gleefully):
As Americans prepare to celebrate the 230th anniversary of their independence tomorrow, the poll found that only 12 per cent of Britons trust them to act wisely on the global stage. This is half the number who had faith in the Vietnam-scarred White House of 1975.
(. . .)
More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination.
There are two messages that Britons are trying to send here: the explicit message — America's agenda conflicts dangerously with that of the international community; and the implicit message — the international community, minus America, seeks to promote the "greater good" while America seeks to obstruct it.
For Britons, and much of the European and international communities, America's meteoric rise to hegemony - or domination - on the world stage is an intolerable affront to their own hegemonic aspirations, as evidenced by this and similar polls. A brief look at America's rise to power, and its subsequent use of that power, demonstrates the utter asininity of these views.
As World War II came to a close, so too did the days of isolated governance. National agendas came to have global repercussions, which allowed the dominant nations to determine the paths and policies of weaker states. In other words, during the Cold War years, the US and USSR made history, literally.
On the world stage, the unmatched power of either nation gave rise to a bipolar world — where two dominant powers exist. The rest of the international community were forced to choose sides in the conflict in order to protect their own interests against the potentially aggressive policies of one or both powers.
The disintegration of the USSR — which nobody expected until after it happened, despite what many academicians would have you believe — propelled the US to global dominance, at which point the unipolar world that exists today was born.
Ironically, many experts believe that despite the shadowing threat of nuclear holocaust, the Cold War years marked a time of stability for the international community for the simple fact that there were two dominant powers that counterbalanced one another. And this is where the poll comes back into play.