Atlantic Faultline

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I don't have much sympathy for either side of the ongoing Atlantic word-war. On one hand, we've got Euro-globalist bureaucrats who can't bear the thought of American sovereignty; on the other, Bos-Wash neocons who can't bear the thought of anyone else's sovereignty. It's a good thing neither crowd speaks for all their countrymen—otherwise, I'd have to defect to Mexico.

But there's more to the tension than that, as Timothy Garton Ash points out in "Anti-Europeanism in America," a very sharp essay in The New York Review of Books. Ash explores the historical and ideological roots of Americans' distrust for Europe and vice versa. What he writes isn't surprising so much as it's enriching: He deepens our understanding, fills in gaps, and never lets go of his dry, detached wit.

NEXT: Lomborg Attacker Misuses Science

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  1. I think Ash gets it right (maybe even more so than he wants to) when he describes the whole squabble as a “stalking-horse” for right versus left differences. Only attaching the other (political) side to a whole different people and geographical area allows for more colorful diatribes. A tempest in a teapot.

  2. The anti-Europeanism of most necons is ironic, since their ideology is in many ways a repudiation of distinctively American political attitudes in favor of a decidedly Old World vision of authority.

    Their Straussian reading of Constitutional law is about as ahistorical as you can get, and their dying god cult of Lincoln is positively Babylonian. In a country founded by aginners, in which the typical reaction to being pushed around by authority is to grab a shotgun, these people justify almost any conceivable kind of jackbootism by the police state/national security state as necessary to “defend our liberties.”

    Especially ludicrous is the sight of those people speaking up for “flyover country” and trying to act like regular folks, sipping a longneck at the Crawford ranch. I mean, come on, they’re just corporate liberals with too much adolescent bravado. They’re like a “pencil neck geek faction” of the Fourth International.

    Daniel Pipes and his ilk don’t represent any America that I recognize. They need to go create an authoritarian, goose-stepping “America” of their own, and get the hell out of mine.

  3. That was one long-ass essay. I had a lot of comments along the way as I read it…but now I’m just sleepy.

  4. Nice article, but nothing more.

    Quoting Mark Steyn (Canadian, yes) and Johah Goldberg, both rather humerous writers, for serious anti-European sentiment. Somehow I doubt that both Steyn and Goldberg, on their travels in Europe (no doubt enjoying themselves), denigrate the local inhabitants for being ignorant, lazy, violent, racist, obese, religious fanatics, or materialistc. Then there is this jewel:

    “As a European writer, I would not want to treat American “anti-Europeanism” in the way American writers often treat European “anti-Americanism.”

    Save it for the intellectuals….

    “But if a European writer were to describe “the Jews” as “matzo-eating surrender monkeys” would that be understood as humorous banter? ”

    Perhaps calling Belgium, Denmark, France the biggest threat to world peace instead of the US would give European writers a pause, and I have a feeling they are being all too serious.

    All in all, the author was fair. However,the issue with Le Pen seemed to indicate that the right in Europe was also moderately to extremely anti-American (thought the fact he got so many votes was most likely due to domestic issues). An even more interesting article would explore exactly why the American right exhibits anti-European tendencies, but not as a whole the American left, but parties along the entire political spectrum in Europe exhibit anti-American ones. This is definately not limited to France, and France in fact has been the most consistent and forthright in its political opinions.

    I don’t think the US is anywhere near where it needs to be in terms of personal liberty, but it’s not in the direction of Europe.

  5. Good point about Ash’s decision to ignore the European right. I’m not sure you’re being fair about Steyn and Goldberg, though — Ash recognizes that they’re making jokes, and he takes that into account when he analyzes what they say. I’m sure a lot of anti-American rhetoric comes from people who’d have a great time visiting America, too…

  6. Anyone who takes Steyn and Goldberg as representative of any broad spectrum of American opinion needs to have his head examined. (And the Bible Belt is the Deep South, not Kansas and Missouri.) I don’t think Ash really has his finger on the pulse of anything, except maybe those of a few journalists who write for neocon mags.

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