America Haters United

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U.S. ex-pat Bruce Bawer has an interesting review essay of many recent books, by Americans and Europeans alike, about European anti-Americanism in the latest issue of the Hudson Review. It's a good, long piece that's too hard to excerpt--and well worth reading.

NEXT: Forget Scott Peterson; Take a Hike, Kobe...

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  1. The Hudson Review on the web. It just . . . doesn't figure somehow. (Love it anyway.)

  2. It may be long, buts it not that good (or novel).

    I'll take it for granted that the other books before Kagan's are crap.

    "For one thing, America?s Cold War strategy of risking nuclear attack to protect Western Europe was 'extraordinary' ? a 'historically unprecedented example' of 'the most enlightened kind of self-interest.'"

    Hmm, even if we hadn't "protected" Western Europe, we would still be at risk of nuclear attack. This is one of the most plainly a-historical statements I've seen in my life. We "protected" Western Europe because losing that part of the world to Soviet aggression would have been clearly a disaster for the U.S. Acting as if this were some sort of "enlightened" or "altruistic" endeavour is a fabrication. Furthermore, Western Europe itself risked nuclear attack and a Soviet invasion by signing up with the U.S. - even though this was clearly in their interest to do. No, their was an equal exchange of danger and interest and benefit by both parties - indeed, it likely wouldn't have occurred if their hadn't been.

    "...by contrast, 'Americans have never accepted the principles of Europe?s old order nor embraced the Machiavellian perspective.'"

    That's a crock of romanticist shit. By itself the War with Mexico defeats this claim hands down.

    "...that the 'paradise' of peace and prosperity Europe now enjoys is made possible, quite simply, by American power."

    What exactly is Europe being protected from by the U.S.? Its not terrorism, nor is it Russia. Europe is protected because there are no immediate threats to it - no nations with large armies willing to invade it from within or without. A condition Europe hasn't been under for probably a few thousand years (indeed, and this is no criticism, America has generally had the luxury historically to not even consider foreign threats). As to terrorism, well, ask how well "protected" by the U.S. Spain was back in March.

    Of course the reviewer even skewers Kagan without of course really acknowledging it - Kagan treats Europe as a monolith, when its not, and this is well demonstrated by who supported the U.S. in GWII. Indeed, that's largely the basic problem with Kagan's book. For example, take the U.K. and France - both have strong militaries and far flung military commitments - yet both are supposed to live in "paradise?" However, nations in Europe with far weaker militaries than France supported the Bush administration. No, Europe is no more of a monolith than the U.S. is. Kagan's book in this way demonstrates the same flaw as that found in the books by Mark Hertsgaard, etc.

    That Bawer agrees with Kagan merely means that he's swung to the other side of the pendulum - which is sort of typical of true believers.

  3. BTW, I find the sorts of books that he reviews here to be a complete waste of time; they are all editorical screeds of one type or another which are largely based on personalized impressions and a lot either oversimplistic, unverified or otherwise questionable claims. In other words, they're overly long editorials and they'll all be forgotten within a year or two. πŸ™‚

  4. Gary, why don't you start a blog? It would be a good parking place for your long-winded comments.

  5. Todd Fletcher,

    Boo hoo. πŸ™‚ My suggestion is this: if you don't like my comments, ignore them.

  6. Gunnels would never start a blog of his own. He knows when a lie falls in the forest, no one hears it.

  7. First, our military protection has allowed Europe to spend itself bankrupt on social programs. If we pulled it away, suddenly they'd have to make untenable political choices.

    Second, in fact, pace Gunnels, if we weren't around, Europe, which would have been overrun by communism once, would now have an excellent chance of being overrun by radical Islam. It may still happen anyway--it's been a long fight.

  8. Gary:

    I don't get it, did we fail to protect Spain, or is there nothing to protect Spain from? It can't be both.

    Let me guess, if it weren't for the US, Spain would have no enemies. Riiiiiiight.

  9. What Gary posted is much more thoughtful and intelligent than anything else posted here in this thread, including mine own.

    Why so down on Gary? Think you can offer better commentary? Todd, Fred, since you're so brilliant, put something up for the rest of us to critique.

  10. I didn't say he was an idiot, just that his posts are too damn long for a comments section.

    I never have anything brilliant to say, hence the brevity of my posts πŸ™‚

  11. Fred,

    Please demonstrate where I have lied.

    Larry,

    "First, our military protection has allowed Europe to spend itself bankrupt on social programs. If we pulled it away, suddenly they'd have to make untenable political choices."

    Which countries in particular are you thinking of? Currently both France and Britain spend between 3%-4% of their GDP on their military budgets (people who know anything at government expenditures on military budgets know that is a high figure); indeed, both rank in the top six as far as aggregate spending is concerned. Furthermore, the UK, France and Germany are all leaders in the development of a whole variety of military technologies. Indeed, if any of these countries shirk their military budgets, or otherwise spend paltry amounts on them, its the European nations that supported the U.S. in the Gulf War - nations like Poland, Italy and Spain.*

    "...if we weren't around, Europe, which would have been overrun by communism once..."

    If I accept this as true, this neccesarily proves my point; America needed a free Europe in the Cold War as much as Europe need America. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. By its own geography (if anything else) Europe provided an excellent forward position and buffer zone for America vis a vis the Soviets; that many Western Europeans were willing to develop their own nuclear weapons, spend lots of money on defense, etc. was also quite beneficial. Or let's put it this way, during the Cold War West Germany by the 1980s had 1.5 million men under arms - though I don't know its population in its past, I do know it has a population (with the eastern portion of Germany re-attached) of around 85 million. Even by today's figures that's a significant number of men under arms, and it demonstrates a real and significant commitment to national defense that torpedoes the notion that the U.S. did it alone. Nations like the US, France, Germany, and the UK were co-equal partners in the defeat of Soviet Communism.

    "...would now have an excellent chance of being overrun by radical Islam."

    How exactly would that happen? The massive armies of Egypt would invade Europe with the fancy two generation weapons they buy from Europe? πŸ™‚

    *Admittedly Spain in the last several years has been trying to make-up for lost time, but it does have the long history of throwing gobs of money (relative to the size of their economies) at defense like the UK, France and Germany have since WWII.

    Sparky,

    "I don't get it, did we fail to protect Spain, or is there nothing to protect Spain from?"

    I never claimed it was both. Indeed, I stated that Europe was at peace because it was enjoying a period of non-aggression it hasn't seen for several thousand years. (a) There are Asiatic steppe invaders to be concerned with. (b) No European nation is creating armies of aggression. Certainly there are thugs and the like on the margins, but they don't represent the mortal threats that the Nazis or Soviet Communism did or frankly the Magyars or Mongolians of old.

    Now, as to my comment about Spain being "protected" by the U.S., I simply stated that this isn't the case - and that the March bombings are a primary example of this. Indeed, European defense against terrorism is largely a European affair - just as American defense against terrorism is an American affair. This only seems right and proper.

    "Let me guess, if it weren't for the US, Spain would have no enemies. Riiiiiiight."

    I am sure Spain has made and will make enemies well enough without the aid of the U.S.; so the answer is no. In the future, you may want to ask me a query, instead of just pre-judging the answer. I would hope that I would show you the same courtesy. πŸ™‚ Thanks.

  12. Todd Fletcher,

    I'm a former academic; I blame it on the culture. You see, I'm a pod person. πŸ™‚

  13. Gary Gunnels,

    "Europe is no more of a monolith than the U.S. is"

    who did/would ever say that it was. If anything, I say it is LESS of a monolith than the US. You know Europe being a continent with several countries and the US being a country...

    Also, the whole "US helped/protected Europe in self-interest, therefore, it doesn't count" argument is not very smart. Assuming you are right, who gained more (had to lose more)?

    Western Europe would have been "occupied" by communism, whereas, the US might have been in "more danger". Or not, if you believe all the pundits now denying Reagan credit for the fall of USSR - the whole thing would have been over by now anyway and we wouldn't have been in any danger.

  14. Gunnels,

    You are right about "there is nothing to protect Europe from" - the US can't protect them from terrorism.

    Having stated that you ought to have recognized that Europe being overrun by Islamic militants, does not happen via "large armies with old Western weapons", it will happen via un-assimilated immigration.

  15. Bawer gives the game away in the third graf: He's clearly still smarting over the reindeer steak episode.

  16. zorel,

    "Europe is no more of a monolith than the U.S. is"

    "who did/would ever say that it was."

    Kagan of course; the fellow who wrote the book that was reviewed.

    "Also, the whole 'US helped/protected Europe in self-interest, therefore, it doesn't count' argument is not very smart."

    Well, that would be the case if I had actually made that argument, but I didn't. I think you're jumping to an unwarranted conclusion here. Indeed, I think its rather amazing that both Western Europe and the U.S. were able to put their collective differences aside in order to defeat the Soviet Union. Indeed, it should merit high praise in light of our failure collectively to meet Nazi Germany's threat. However, I don't view America's actions as some sort of high act of altruism either as Kagan does, nor do I view Western Europe's contribution as minimal - indeed, both were critical to the effort.

    "Western Europe would have been "occupied" by communism, whereas, the US might have been in 'more danger.'"

    A Europe wholly occupied by the USSR would have been a disaster for the U.S., and this is true for a number of reasons. One that springs quickly to mind is the fact that we as allies kept millions of Soviet and Warsaw Bloc soldiers in situ in Eastern Europe that could have been freed to do mischief in the rest of the world. By itself, this was benefit enough to the U.S., and neutralized what would have been a grave threat. (b) An occupied Western Europe would have allowed the Soviets the material and manpower resources of those nations, some of the most talented and rich on earth at the outbreak of WWII. (c) An occupied Western Europe would have threatened U.S. shipping through the Atlantic, making for a bolder and far more effective Soviet Navy.

    There are others besides those; but its clear that things would have been more than simply under "more danger" ... the lost of Western Europe would have presented a mortal danger the U.S. has not faced since the war of 1812 - a foe able and willing to directly invade U.S. soil.

    "Having stated that you ought to have recognized that Europe being overrun by Islamic militants..."

    If Europe were overrun with Islamic militants there were would be bombings daily in Europe, massive death tolls, etc. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, European security services are doing a fine job interdicting and stopping terrorist incidents before they occur.

  17. A synopsis of this article is that European anti-americanism is based on ignorance, envy, constant misinformation fed by monolithic government owned media, and a comfortable enemy-free existence earned with American blood.

    Seems accurate to me.

    By the way Gary,

    "America has generally had the luxury historically to not even consider foreign threats"

    How about England, Japan, Germany, and a little country called the Soviet Union?

  18. I'm with Todd. Gary: This is a discussion, not an essay-flinging contest. You need an editor. Bawer's article was bad enough.

    And I'd also like to second Tim's opinion about the article. Everything past the reindeer steak part sounded like bitching.

  19. Gary Gunnels,

    I didn't say Europe was overrun by Islamic terrorists; I said if it happens, it WILL be via immigration ... blah, blah ...

    I 'll give it about 5 - 10 years for the demographics to take effect. Hope you are correct about the security services doing their job.

  20. Welcome home JB! Nice to see the return of the Gallic Avenger . . .

    Okay, maybe that was a bit over the top. But a few of us missed the schlub.

  21. JD,

    Regarding U.S. immigration law, I have an acquantance (she's a Professor of History - Peruvian history in particular) whose husband is Mexican. He's an electrical engineer. They have two children together. He's has been continually denied access to the U.S. He has no criminal convictions, etc. on his record, yet the US government refuses to grant him a visa to stay in the U.S. and has been doing so for about four years now. Indeed, I know a significant number of professors who have had exceedingly difficult times getting their foreign spouses into the U.S. - especially when those spouses are Latin Americans or Africans.

  22. MALAK,

    I am touched by your missing of me. Now go screw yourself. Ha ha.

  23. Aaaahh . . . the colorful musings of a surrenderist pig. Now stop using Jean Bart's handle you, to coin a 'net term, imposter.

  24. Gary:

    I read this:

    "BTW, I find the sorts of books that he reviews here to be a complete waste of time; they are all editorical screeds of one type or another which are largely based on personalized impressions and a lot either oversimplistic, unverified or otherwise questionable claims."

    to mean the 'sorts of books' that attempt to reconcile personal experience of anti Americanism with world views. I extrapolated from this that either you don't agree that anti Americanism is a questionable claim itself, or that reading books on this subject is a waste of time in the sense of relevance. If that is not what you meant, I might not disagree with you at all on this issue. I may have read too much in 'of this sort'.

    That said, don't you think you were a wee sensitive here?

  25. howdy GG.

    yes - i have not experienced the same quality, quantity, or flavor of jingoism from preppies here as i have from preppies there. i was expected, in upper class settings, to "apologize" for the us's actions. however misinformed they were.

    when a tv show portrayed americans in a certain way, people in my grad program treated me differently, as though the ficitious portrayal they saw was real. i would call the experience a constant battle with the neighbors for superiority. whether the neighbors are another country, whether it's in catalonia vs other regions, whether it's transatlantic.

    and for the "it's not as bad" comment, i'd again disagree: it is not the us, it is not americans who feel that their education systems are the best in the world. it is not the americans who claim to be culturally literate, it is not americans who claim to be worldly. so, yes, those mistakes by preppies (germans - in their own language, danes in their own, etc) would be more damning.

    kinda like the religious right getting more zinged for their moral shortcomings...

    i do know you speak french, how's yer spanish (this is an aside) - how was learning it from the basis of another romantic language? how's yer italian and portuguese? kinda cool, isn't it? πŸ™‚

    multinationally yours,
    drf

  26. Zorel:

    From my previous post:

    "you don't agree that anti Americanism is a questionable claim itself"

    This is why I don't blog. I meant to say "you don't believe that anti Americanism is a legitimate claim ..."

  27. Jason Ligon,

    "I extrapolated from this that either you don't agree that anti Americanism is a questionable claim itself..."

    If you had read the body of my remarks you would not have made this error. Furthermore, you could have simply asked what I thought on these matters, instead of making grandiose extrapolations. Indeed, that would have been the the cordial thing to do.

    "...or that reading books on this subject is a waste of time in the sense of relevance."

    Ahh, no. Indeed, its clear I lump all editorialized books in the same pile - whether they deal with this issue or not. And it doesn't depend on which century they are from either. I've read my fair share of similarly written books on various subjects from the 19th century, and they all tend to be equall nauseating. Sorry, I put little stock in such demagogic opinion pieces.

    "That said, don't you think you were a wee sensitive here?"

    No. I am not fond of people putting words in my mouth; indeed, I expect them to have the decency to ask me what I think instead what youve done.

    drf,

    "i have not experienced the same quality, quantity, or flavor of jingoism from preppies here as i have from preppies there."

    I have; indeed, I've witnessed it in this series of blog entries.

    "i was expected, in upper class settings, to 'apologize' for the us's actions. however misinformed they were."

    I must be hanging around with the wrong "class" of upper class people then.

    "when a tv show portrayed americans in a certain way, people in my grad program treated me differently, as though the ficitious portrayal they saw was real."

    And when an American TV show treats Europeans or other foreigners with similar stereotypes, I am sure the same occurs. Witness what happened to a German friend of mine in Auburn during the height of the Gulf War - his car was pelted with eggs and spray painted with the term "Euroweenie." No, there's enough stupidity and bigotry to go around for everyone to take their equal share of the blame.

    "it is not the us, it is not americans who feel that their education systems are the best in the world."

    Sure it is; indeed, to be blunt, that's a constant statement by American jingoists - see Bawer's article.

    "it is not the americans who claim to be culturally literate..."

    That depends on the American; as it does depend the European. Indeed, I have a good many friends who are Boston Brahmins who would consider themselves the height of cultural literacy.

    "...it is not americans who claim to be worldly."

    Yes it is; indeed, everytime an American states that they're "tougher" than Europeans or that they're more "pragmatic" or more about "action," they are claiming to be more "worldly."

    The stereotypes between these two parts of the world abound, indeed like they do between parts of the U.S. I simply do not lower myself to using them. I treat individuals as individuals - something which I consider to be part of the libertarian philosophy. In the end I find this flame war between elements of the European and American intelligentsia to be a waste of time - the chatter and talk past each other and only re-entrench their half-baked stereotypes.

    "i do know you speak french..."

    How do you know that? πŸ™‚

    "...how's yer spanish (this is an aside)"

    Not that great - but I never really tried to learn it.

    "...how was learning it from the basis of another romantic language? how's yer italian and portuguese? kinda cool, isn't it? :)"

    I've never been to Portugal. My Italian is good enough to order food or ask for a train ticket in Rome.

    Jason,

    Was this meant for me?:

    From my previous post:

    "you don't agree that anti Americanism is a questionable claim itself"

    This is why I don't blog. I meant to say "you don't believe that anti Americanism is a legitimate claim ..."

  28. So we have this...

    >>>"America has generally had the luxury historically to not even consider foreign threats"

    This is true; America has spent significantly long periods (historically) relatively unconcerned about foreign threats. Indeed from the War of 1812 until WWII.>>"Western Europe would have been "occupied" by communism, whereas, the US might have been in 'more danger.'"

    A Europe wholly occupied by the USSR would have been a disaster for the U.S., and this is true for a number of reasons. One that springs quickly to mind is the fact that we as allies kept millions of Soviet and Warsaw Bloc soldiers in situ in Eastern Europe that could have been freed to do mischief in the rest of the world. By itself, this was benefit enough to the U.S., and neutralized what would have been a grave threat. (b) An occupied Western Europe would have allowed the Soviets the material and manpower resources of those nations, some of the most talented and rich on earth at the outbreak of WWII. (c) An occupied Western Europe would have threatened U.S. shipping through the Atlantic, making for a bolder and far more effective Soviet Navy.

    There are others besides those; but its clear that things would have been more than simply under "more danger" ... the lost of Western Europe would have presented a mortal danger the U.S. has not faced since the war of 1812 - a foe able and willing to directly invade U.S. soil.

  29. "Was this meant for me?"

    Not really. Zorel had asked why I don't blog, and I was indicating that poor writing probably had something to do with it.

  30. gary and joe are just mad that they didn't rate a chapter, regarding 'hit and run' posters, in this 'who's who of america haters' book

  31. gg:

    what were you doing on your european journey? how long were you in each place? how was the red tape getting permits and visas and such?

    and when you were out, did people whom you didn't know know your nationality? and what language was the predominant interaction?

    in the chicago tribune back in 1999 a reporter from the sueddeutsche zeitung wrote about his daily experiences. the entire series was how americans are stupid and ignorant and loosers and silly. in berlingske tidende in 1997 they had a series on america and basically used the MSU (make shit up) anecdote file, including urban myths to discuss how primitive americans are. you saw how the norwegians reacted to whats-his-name in this... when the danish baby was taken from its parents. woah. nellie!

    FAZ runs stuff frequently about "european vs america" comparisons, the conclusions are always how poorly americans come out. i'm not aware of quality newspapers in the US doing that. i'm not aware of quality european newspapers (nor their readerships for that matter) tolerating what was in the tribune.

    the "freedom fries" bullshit i'd call a "european reaction" to things, and in my 5+ years on the continent it was interesting being a fly on the wall. and your story doesn't fit with my experiences at all. if there were a shred of what you're talking about, then i'd listen more. and especially if you have thoughts pre 9/11, that would be revealing. and i'm not talking simpsons jokes here, either. no - americans don't treat the french like they're all inspector closeau (sp?)...

    and i don't believe that you can discount the sentiment i'm talking about here.

    but then again, from a europhile, they can do no wrong......

  32. Gary:
    What about WW1? That was (and still is) the worst case of American Interventionism in history. It was also a case of America being duped by the British into protecting their far-flung Empire from. . .The. . Evil. . . .KAISER!!!!!

    OH NOES!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with Gary that discussions of this sort have no value. To argue that anti-Americanism isn't a phenomenon seems a bit implausible these days, and to argue that its origins should be unimportant to Americans seems short sighted.

    My own encounters with anti-Americanism occurred in the context of a two year stint as an ESL teacher in Japan working with Europeans, Canadians, Aussies, and Kiwis rather than any period of time living in any of those countries, and I recognize that my impressions may not be generalizable.

    With that qualification out of the way, the comments that struck me as most familiar were those around the European post modernism. Many of those I worked with viewed Americans as dangerous children specifically because of their perception that Americans naively hold several values over democracy and consensus. The notion that any value other than democracy was worth fighting for was viewed as absurd. Post modern analysis holds that all values are essentially religious in nature, and Hume's comments on the dangers of religion follow. In Hobbesian fashion, the only value we can hold strongly is the one that checks all individual value preferences. We derive the Public Good from democratic institutions, and exhault our Frankenstein monster as the only true value. The public good begins by defining what is right and wrong, but eventually winds up defining True and False in a post modern environment. The scientific argument doesn't matter, the consensus of scientists matters.

    Americans, because we lack an appreciation for this bit of reasoning, are just a hair above monkeys - with guns. There is a very strong impression that smart Americans are really like Europeans, but they are held hostage by an unholy coalition between the unwashed church worshippers and the unwashed mall worshippers. I probably heard that comment 10 times in two years, and it was always followed by a dramatic pause so I could appreciate the brilliance of the observation.

    I came back from Japan with a hopelessness about the western world, as I had (probably incorrectly) extrapolated that nobody else on the planet thought liberty was more important than stability. I had a fierce sense of anti Europeanism after being patted on the head by my betters for a while. I'm getting over it slowly, and I realize that just as American opinion has diversity beyond what most in the EU see, the reverse is likely true as well. I just wish I could experience it somehow. Every book, every policy debate, every interview with EU leadership, and every election reinforce that negative bias I picked up.

  34. "Which countries in particular are you thinking of? Currently both France and Britain spend between 3%-4% of their GDP on their military budgets (people who know anything at government expenditures on military budgets know that is a high figure); indeed, both rank in the top six as far as aggregate spending is concerned. Furthermore, the UK, France and Germany are all leaders in the development of a whole variety of military technologies."

    This may be true to an extent, but it overlooks the overwhelming significance of the US military deterrent. France spending 3% of their GDP on defence is all well and good, but they have virtually no force projection capabilities to speak of. Their most recent attempt was the aircraft carrier DeGaulle, which has been a less than successful endeavor (http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/2003127.asp). Now that their new nuke ship is floating, all they need is a modern battlegroup to keep it from getting sunk, and then they will have ONE modern battlegroup. Nevermind their lack of logistics support.

    The militaries of the EU serve as deterrents to actually crossing their own borders with tanks, which is good, but they do not have any realistic capability to enforce any UN mandate that requires boots on the ground. The EU position that boots are never needed is predicated on US airforce and naval cruise missle capabilities, by the way.

    If the US backs down to a similar level of military, and I'm not saying it shouldn't, there would absolutely be a monstrous gap in projectable force. The UN would become in fact the toothless joke we have occasionally prevented it from being since its inception.

  35. besides being long winded, some of the points in this long article were accurate, based on my experiences (one year in austria (pre EU there), several months in prague, five years in copenhagen)...

    one comment you hear from self-styled european "intellectuals", and this comment was uttered by three or four different people from different nations - all of whom were respective university students "european news is unbiased".

    and they spoke of "europe" as a monolith. they refer to the EU as "europe" and how the eastern countried "joined europe". speaking of "europe = european union" is a monolith.....

    and my little anecdote on how the europeans aren't as worldly as they think: the "intellectual" paper "informationen.dk" had an article in april 1997 a blurb that the "sudetenland" was in switzerland. go figure.

    cheers,
    drf

  36. 'Gary, why don't you start a blog?'

    I agree; I'd read it! Gary's comments have been uniformly insightful and thought-provoking.

  37. A brief and general comment as to why people, European and otherwise, hate the US - I think it can be explained by a sort of psychohistorical reasoning. We're king of the hill, no doubt about it. Much of the world disagrees with us about personal liberty versus the role of the state, religion, etc. And if someone with whom you disagree on key issues is richer, happier, and more popular than you are, how are you going to feel? You will probably feel that his success is unjustified, you'll rail at the injustice of the world, and you'll snipe at him. Of course, calling him "stupid" isn't entirely satisfactory, since if he's so stupid, how did he end up on top? Unless, of course, he's...evil! Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Oh, and one personal comment about European insularity: a friend worked in Switzerland for a while, and he tells me that becoming a Swiss citizen is very difficult and requires having your life gone over in detail by the authorities - for example, they will visit your home, and if they see a wok, that will count against you, because woks are not properly Swiss.

  38. Jason Ligon,

    Why don't you blog?

    (that is a compliment, and I use 'blog' as a verb πŸ™‚

  39. Hick American,

    "A synopsis of this article is that European anti-americanism is based on ignorance, envy, constant misinformation fed by monolithic government owned media, and a comfortable enemy-free existence earned with American blood."

    Which of course is hyperbolic non-sense and is a good example of American anti-Europeanism - which also has a very long pedigree starting the whole "city upon a hill" mantra, followed through by Jefferson ("let us keep our cities in Europe"), Walt Whitman (and I happen to love Walt Whitman generally), etc.

    Here's one example of how this hyperbolic: in Britain most media is not owned by the state; in France the same is also the case; in Germany this is also true; etc.

    "America has generally had the luxury historically to not even consider foreign threats"

    This is true; America has spent significantly long periods (historically) relatively unconcerned about foreign threats. Indeed from the War of 1812 until WWII.

  40. JD,

    What is a 'wok' that can be seen in a home?

    To add to your point, I have some experience with a couple of South/southeast Asian countries to support this. Envy is part of the problem, but also the opinion makes believe democracy/consensus is a higher value than freedom (as Jason said). Hence UN is their God.

    Most of the people base their opinions on what they read/see in News (and the major sources of international news are AP, Reuters, etc.)

  41. Joe,

    Yes, historically (meaning generally, on average, etc.) America has had this luxury; that doesn't mean it has ALWAYS had it. There is no inconsistency in my statement.

    Jason Ligon,

    "Unsurprisingly, I disagree with Gary that discussions of this sort have no value."

    When did I state that?!?!?! Please do qoute me.

    "To argue that anti-Americanism isn't a phenomenon..."

    When did I state that?!?!!? Please do qoute me.

    "...and to argue that its origins should be unimportant to Americans seems short sighted."

    When did I state that? Please do qoute me.

    You are making a hell of lot of unwarranted assumptions here. My comments were only directed at the review of Kagan's book. Indeed, let me qoute myself:

    "I'll take it for granted that the other books before Kagan's are crap."

    Posted by Gary Gunnels at June 29, 2004 05:14 PM

    At least if you are going to criticize any of my statements, criticize me for something I actually wrote - as opposed to words that you attempt to squeeze into my posts.

    At this point I will just ignore the rest of your comments - since they are based on erroneous assumptions about my statements.

  42. Gary,

    You are an insult to my memory.

  43. eponymous,

    I don't hate America; indeed I love my country. I love it so much that I don't have to have myopic and jingoistic views of the world outside it.

    zorel,

    I'm still waiting for you to prove that Japan had no constitution prior to WWII. πŸ™‚

    drf,

    I don't think anyone has denied that there aren't jingoistic or otherwise bigoted people in Europe; I certainly haven't. But has to ask, was your entire experience of Europe one long period of listening to bigoted people? Having myself lived in the U.K., France, Germany and Spain, I can't say that was my experience. Certainly many Europeans have some false ideas about the U.S., but on average they are no worse than the false ideas that Americans have about Europeans - indeed, if there is some trans-Atlantic divide, its equally our fault (Europeans and Americans) for letting it occur.

    JD,

    "...hate the US..."

    Most Europeans do not hate the U.S.; opinion poll after opinion poll demonstrates this to be falsity - as does tourism, employment, etc. This is hyperbole.

    "Much of the world disagrees with us about personal liberty versus the role of the state, religion, etc."

    Its my appreciation that as much as we try to create this differentiation, its not as wide as we appear to think that it is. Americans are just as willing allow the state a rather expansive role in their lives as Britons are - especially in specific policy areas like "drugs" or the "environment."

    "And if someone with whom you disagree on key issues is richer, happier, and more popular than you are, how are you going to feel?"

    Have you ever lived Cote d'Azur or along Costa del Sol? Plenty of rich, happy and popular people there. Implying that Western Europeans or the Japanese (Eastern Europeans and the Chinese are quickly joining them of course) are neither of these things is a bit laughable.

    "You will probably feel that his success is unjustified, you'll rail at the injustice of the world, and you'll snipe at him. Of course, calling him "stupid" isn't entirely satisfactory, since if he's so stupid, how did he end up on top? Unless, of course, he's...evil! Yeah, that's the ticket."

    This is also hyperbole.

    "Oh, and one personal comment about European insularity: a friend worked in Switzerland for a while, and he tells me that becoming a Swiss citizen is very difficult and requires having your life gone over in detail by the authorities - for example, they will visit your home, and if they see a wok, that will count against you, because woks are not properly Swiss."

    Quite obviously you've never dealt with American immigration law. πŸ™‚

  44. Gary,

    Not sure why you are waiting for me to "prove" the Japanese didn't have a constitution before WWII. I said the Americans helped write their constituion after WWII.

    Does it really matter whether they had one before?

    I assume we helped the Iraqis and/or the Afghans with the new constitution. So, should I prove that they didn't have one before, to make our help count?

  45. GG,

    For someone so bored by those identifying hypocracy, you're mighty quick to jump to "well, americans do it too..."

    πŸ™‚

  46. willfellow,

    The word is "hypocrisy," and this statement merely goes to my point that we Americans aren't nearly as perfect as we think we are, and neither are Europeans. I happen to love both America and Europe - but the estrangement that some feel exists between the two just boggles me.

  47. drf,

    "what were you doing on your european journey?"

    Working, in school, having sex, etc. πŸ™‚

    "how long were you in each place?"

    I was in Spain about four months; I was in France about a year and a half; and I was in Germany about 5-6 weeks.

    "how was the red tape getting permits and visas and such?"

    It wasn't particularly difficult.

    "and when you were out, did people whom you didn't know know your nationality?"

    Yeah - I'm fairly easy to spot as an American in Europe - partly because I tend to have such informal dress (I think this is especially true in France and Spain). One of things I love about France and Spain is how cordial and formal people are with each other if they are strangers, or with elders, etc. - it reminds me of the American South (where I grew up).

    "and what language was the predominant interaction?"

    In France it was French - but this was largely due to my own effort - people would speak English with me if they knew the language. I didn't find the French to be especially pesky about their language as the stereotype goes - though many Frenchmen are pesky about the "proper" use of language - whether it was French or English - I found this to be an interesting attitude. In Spain I spoke a heck of a lot of Spanglish.

    "in the chicago tribune back in 1999 a reporter from the sueddeutsche zeitung wrote about his daily experiences. the entire series was how americans are stupid and ignorant and loosers and silly. in berlingske tidende in 1997 they had a series on america and basically used the MSU (make shit up) anecdote file, including urban myths to discuss how primitive americans are. you saw how the norwegians reacted to whats-his-name in this... when the danish baby was taken from its parents. woah. nellie!"

    I don't argue that such bigotry doesn't exist; I've merely stated that its (a) not as rampant as is argued, and (b) we ourselves have our own bigoted notions of Europeans that don't comport with reality.

    "FAZ runs stuff frequently about 'european vs america' comparisons, the conclusions are always how poorly americans come out."

    And we see similar comparisons here in the U.S., and its always the Europeans who come out on the short-end of the stick. Let me reiterate that I think both attitudes are dense and unfounded.

    "the "freedom fries" bullshit i'd call a "european reaction" to things, and in my 5+ years on the continent it was interesting being a fly on the wall. and your story doesn't fit with my experiences at all. if there were a shred of what you're talking about, then i'd listen more. and especially if you have thoughts pre 9/11, that would be revealing. and i'm not talking simpsons jokes here, either. no - americans don't treat the french like they're all inspector closeau (sp?)..."

    Visit the Commandpost.com some time, or FREEPERS, or one of those sorts of websites - those places crawl with anti-European bigots. Look, you're in denial if you think that anti-Europeanism doesn't exist in America, and doesn't have a long historical pedigree.

    Anyway, I'll repeat that I find anti-Americanism and anti-Europeanism to be equally loathesome.

    "and i don't believe that you can discount the sentiment i'm talking about here."

    When have I discounted the fact that anti-Americanism exists? I think like a lot of people here your jumping to some unwarranted conclusions about my statements - you're working with some tropes and stereotypes that simply do not apply to me. I wish you'd treat me like an individual and not a stereotype.

    "but then again, from a europhile, they can do no wrong......"

    I think of myself as a Europhile and Americaphile actually - I think its safe to say that you appear to be treating these as mutually exclusive positions. If I am wrong in how I apprehend your statement, then please do correct me.

  48. Fair enough, I'm just teasing. Also, thank you for correcting my spelling, however that's a door better left shut, though, no?

    I too have a great fondness for both and have found nothing but kindness from my short visits to Europe, except from a cute stewardess who didn't find my inebriated jollity the least bit endearing, but that's a whole other case...

  49. The anti-americanism of europeans can mostly be chalked up to one simple thing: jealousy.

    We have far surpassed them all militarily, economically and just about every other way for a very long time. The Wall Street journal had an article not long ago about a study done by a european organization that showed that the American standard of living in every state of the union was higher than every country in europe. Even those considered "poor" here have a lot of things that a lot of middle class people in europe don't have (like air conditioning in their homes).

    Like the old saying goes, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" - the proof is in the results. Europeans don't like the results that show just how far behind they are so they attempt to salve their self esteem with claims of superiority.

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