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Anti-Americanism in Europe deepens

'New generation of U.S.-haters being created'

Young Germans protest:
Young Germans protest: "No colonial war for oil," says the banner.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- More than 500,000 anti-war protesters are expected to take to the streets of London on Saturday, with 100,000 each in Paris and Rome and 80,000 in Germany. CNN Senior International Correspondent Walter Rodgers reports on what is being seen as a new, deeper breed of anti-Americanism:

After two generations of guilt, young Germans demonstrating against the United States and against war now feel good about themselves because it is the United States, not Germany, that is seen by many as the aggressive warmonger.

"I think it is good we said 'no' and we don't follow the U.S.," one German protester says.

This anti-Americanism is believed to be much worse than what has gone before. Analysts warn that a whole generation of America-haters is being created, a European generation which they say believes Americans deliberately bomb civilians and kill Arab babies.

A Channel 4 television poll in the UK said the country that Britons regard as the biggest threat to peace today is not Iraq or North Korea -- it is the United States.

In recent debates in the UK Parliament, the anti-American undercurrent often means the vilification not of Iraq President Saddam Hussein -- but of U.S. President George W. Bush.

"The mass of British public opinion is deeply sceptical if not completely hostile to this war, believe it's been fought in the interests of the Americans and nothing else," Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn recently told the House of Commons.

Another MP from Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party, Dennis Skinner, puts this blunt question to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon after he announces more British planes will be sent to the Gulf:

" Will he confirm that this is all in aid to satisfy the whims of this tinpot American president?"

Anti-Americanism in Europe historically comes in waves. In the 1980s Europeans vilified then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Before that there were anti-Vietnam War protests against U.S. presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

Yet the current outbreak has new elements, including a demographic shift: In Britain, there are now more worshippers in mosques on Fridays than in Church of England churches on Sundays.

Among Europe's growing Muslim population, the United States has few friends. There will be a major Muslim contingent in Saturday's London protest.

Yet the new unipolar world in which America is the sole superpower reminds Europeans of their own weakness -- an irritation to many, including Russians protesting outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

"Americans do not recognise the authority of the international community any more," says one Russian protester.

Whether in Moscow or Paris, it is the same.

Says Dominque Moisi of the French Institute of International relations: "Today's anti-Americanism in Europe is a combination of what America is doing -- preparing to go to war in Iraq -- and what America is: the country of the death penalty, the country -- in European eyes -- of arrogance."

Adds Manfred Guttamacher of Potsdam University in Germany: "We are on the brink of a fundamental rift between the United States and Europe which goes much deeper than the rifts that came up in the course of anti-American sentiments in the '60s or early '80s."

In the 20th century -- in the fight against Nazism and later the Cold War against communism -- a European-American political alliance emerged that many thought would last forever. That assumption looks somewhat less certain now.


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