PARIS — Since the arrival of President Barack Obama in the White House, there has been an undeniable rapprochement between Europe and the United States. But on the deeper and more fundamental level of emotions and values, is it possible that the gap between the two sides of the Atlantic has widened?

Today there is much more collective hope and much more individual fear in America in the wake of the global economic crisis. But the reverse is true in Europe. Here one encounters less collective hope and less individual fear. The reason for this contrast is simple: the U.S. has Obama, and Europe has the welfare state.

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