It used to be, that America was America and Europe was Europe. Duh! That's pretty obvious for anyone with some level of geographic awareness. But in all seriousness, there was something distinct in the way America did things and the way Europe did things. From the moment of colonization those early settlers charted a course independent of Europe. With the American Revolution that independent course became independent government and a way of life that in some ways ignored Europe for the very sake of being American.
Fast forward into the 20th century and our emergence as a superpower, and being American was what much of the world wanted to be (except the Communists obviously). Clearly, after bailing Europe out of two devastating World Wars, being European was not something we were too enthusiastic about. The advent of the Cold War made the world pretty much one of two things, Americanized Democracy or Soviet Communism. Europe, being stuck between the two lone superpowers, the USA and the USSR took on varying degrees of both ideologies, leading to the mix of democracy and socialism that has shaped the Europe we know today.
After the fall of the Soviet Union it was just America. Some Europeans, not relying on our protection from the Red Army poised to the east of the Iron Curtain, began to promote their form of culture and socialism as superior to the "ultra-conservative" America. On this side of the pond, we looked down on Europe as the great civilization that bled itself dry fighting itself... twice, got bailed out by us...twice, and allowed socialism and godlessness to seep into and destroy all it once was. They looked down on us and we looked down on them.
They scoffed at our "reckless" policing of the globe and our needless "meddling" in the affairs of everyone. We decried their "spineless" lack of conviction and their short sighted inability to see the threats around them. We were American, and better for it, and they were European, and better (worse) for it.
Then something happened. Europe started getting smart, and America started getting dumber. Europe started getting pro-active and America started getting complacent. And thus, the Pendulum swings again.
So, America is becoming Europe. We elected a very liberal President and a majority of Democrats to Congress. They have spent, and spent, and spent and done very socialist things (The Pelican has already mentioned Obamacare). They have shied away from making strong statements about terrorism, about North Korean Nukes, and about the myriad problems in Iran.
On the other hand, Europe is becoming America. France (yes France) elected Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, who isn't afraid to take a stand, who recognizes the threats around him, and almost makes France respectable again (I said almost, lets not get carried away yet.) Italy has also thrown out the socialists (More about Italy some other time). Even the European Union, the epitome of European socialism, held elections in the last couple of months in which conservatives made considerable gains against the socialists. Finally, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, a politician and filmmaker who has criticized radical Islam (and been crucified for it by many), is positioning himself to become the next Dutch Prime Minister.
So, while America, defender of freedom, beacon of hope, and preserver of western civilization seems to be forgetting what made her great, Europe might just be waking up from her Godless socialized coma to take on the issues at hand and show us for once how things should be done.