Over the years, American leaders have insisted that the nation's real power comes not from its military might nor from its economic clout, but from the universal appeal of America's democratic ideals. As Europeans mount protests against George W. Bush -- denouncing him as a man who seized power against the popular will of the American people -- those old sentiments are proving accurate, albeit in an opposite way. The U.S. is losing influence abroad because its current government is seen as a repudiation of democratic ideals.
Still, Bush seems intent on following a foreign policy that his backers describe as a robust unilateralism, intended to reassert American dominance over the world. For the full story on this conflict between the perceptions of Europe and those of Washington, click on the link below.