Obamamania and Anti-Americanism as Complementary Concepts in Contemporary German Discourse

in German Politics and Society
View More View Less
  • 1
  • 2
Restricted access

There is no question that with Barack Obama the United States has a rock star as president who—behooving rock stars—is adored and admired the world over. His being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize nary a year after being elected president and barely ten months into his holding the office, testified to his global popularity rather than his actual accomplishments, which may well turn out to be unique and formidable. And it is equally evident that few—if any—American presidents were more reviled, disdained and distrusted all across the globe than George W. Bush, Obama's immediate predecessor. Indeed, the contrast between the hatred for the former and the admiration for the latter might lead to the impression that the negative attitudes towards America and Americans that was so prevalent during the Bush years have miraculously morphed into a lovefest towards the United States on the part of the global public. This paper—concentrating solely on the German case but representing a larger research project encompassing much of Western Europe—argues that love for Obama and disdain for America are not only perfectly compatible but that, in fact, the two are merely different empirical manifestations of a conceptually singular view of America. Far from being mutually exclusive, these two strains are highly congruent, indeed complementary and symbiotic with each other.