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Sarah Lyall grew up in New York City and is now London correspondent for the New York Times. She lives there with her husband, the writer Robert McCrum, and their[…]

Sarah Lyall says it’s been a bad decade for Americans. The politicians their squandered good will.


Lyall: That’s a really good question. It’s not so good. I mean, it hasn’t been a good decade for the American reputation abroad. I think there is a sense throughout Europe that Bush and Chaney have done a terrible job with American foreign policy and it’s dragged down a lot of the world with it. I was surprised, when I moved there, the people weren’t more impressed that I was American. I think, there’s always been a terrible love/hate relationship. I think they’re jealous of us and resentful of us and covetous of [our E’s] and our power, etc. But, you know, but it’s really turned. There’s a lot more sourness. I think, after 9-11, America had a huge reservoir of good will in Britain and in Europe, and then it just squandered it very, very quickly. So, I feel, you know, you’re sort of called on too often to defend America, defend American foreign policy

I think they’re smart enough to know you’re not responsible for the government’s doing, but they just don’t like Americans, in some ways, you know? And they sort of see it all as one big package or the kind of idea that you have a sense of entitlement or that you are kind of louder than Brits or maybe not as polite, or whatever they think. They kind of throw all in a package together, you know, the McDonalds or Coca Cola or TV shows or movies or whatever, they just blame it on America.