Jack Straw has described criticism of George W Bush's state visit to Britain as "fashionable anti-Americanism".
Mr Bush is likely to get a mixed welcome in the UK
During a BBC Radio 4 Today interview the foreign secretary questioned how many of the US president's critics had ever protested against Saddam.
President Bush is due in London next week for a visit which is already attracting controversy.
Mr Straw backed the first state visit by a US president since 1918, saying it had been agreed 17 months earlier.
"What I hope will come from this visit... is a mature reflection on our relationship with the US and Europe," he told BBC
Radio 4's Today programme.
"America is our largest trading partner by far. Huge numbers of jobs on both
sides of the Atlantic depend on that relationship.
"But above all, what people have to decide is whether it is better in our
interests and those of European countries for America to be pushed away from the
UK and become more isolated or whether we engage in constructive partnership
with the US, respecting them for what they are, which happens to be one of the
oldest and largest democracies in the world and a greater force for good than
many people are willing to accept."
Followers of fashion?
Mr Straw added that while he accepted people's right to demonstrate, he said they should reflect on whether they had properly criticised Saddam Hussein's regime.
He said questions about why it was a state visit were largely irrelevant as there would still have been protests if Mr Bush had been a guest of the government rather than the royal family.
"What bothers me is the fashionable anti-Americanism that is around," he said.
"People are fully entitled to demonstrate - many more people will be demonstrating about the United States and the action which has had to be taken since 11 September than ever demonstrated against the brutal, vicious, horrific regime of Saddam Hussein."
He added that 300,000 bodies had been found in Iraq buried in mass graves since US-led forces occupied the country.
President Bush and his wife are due to stay at Buckingham Palace during their visit next week and there has been speculation much of the Mall and Whitehall will be closed off along with parts of the City.
Scotland Yard says it is not revealing details of road closures yet for security reasons, but says it will facilitate lawful demonstrations.
The last US president to be afforded a state visit was Woodrow Wilson in 1918.