Bashing America- come together, right now!
In my last post, about mainly European anti-Americanism (Hate America...below), I tried to make the point that this is not a new phenomenon, and not directly attributable to the election, and re-election of George W. Bush. The Europeans have long cast aspersions at America for a variety of reasons (by the way, see Expat Yank's "TOCQUEVILLE, AMERICA-HATER?"
for some excellent follow up on one of the quotes I used). It seems that in the process of reinventing the wheel, i.e. cobbling together their "union", they have found a new reason to bash the U.S. It gives them that which they appear to desperately need at times- something to agree on.
The Hoover Digest
has an excellent piece on this matter which describes the current trend in anti-Americanism in Europe as "characterized by an ongoing loss of reality." Those of us serving in the Euro-zone have all had experiences with this. While the current atmosphere here can in no manner be described as one in which Americans are constantly assaulted, there is a definite disconnect. Kyoto is a perfect example of this, as The Diplomad
parodied recently. While the Euros failed
to hit almost every check point in the vaunted plan, all that they care to talk about is the reluctance of the U.S. to buy a berth on a clearly sinking ship. However, they are all on the same page, and that is what matters. From the Hoover piece:
... most Europeans experience the E.U. as a primarily bureaucratic matter, lacking any compelling ideals or deep principles that could stir the hearts of the public. Anti-Americanism has filled that gap; it has become the European ideology of the hour, providing an emotional underpinning for a unified Europe that stands for nothing of its own, except its distance from Washington. The incapacity of the Europeans to act in concert, particularly in foreign policy matters, only adds fuel to the fire. Anti-Americanism is much less about the character of American actions than about the European inability to act at all.
Where else can we find this type of thinking? How about in the mosques and madrasas of the fundementalist Middle East? You read that right. I am indeed comparing the cohesive anti-Americanism of the E.U. to the "death to the Great Satan" wing of Islam. Foreign Affairs magazine ran a piece entitled "The Real Roots of Arab Anti-Americanism" in the November/December 2002 issue. (An excellent article, but you must be a subscriber or purchse it from the archives to read it in full.) Here is what I see as the heart of the matter as it relates to our current theme:
First, whatever the extent of Americans' failure to understand the region, Middle Easterners' inability to understand the United States has been greater. Throughout the region, leaders and movements have always expected Washington to try to conquer them and wipe out its enemies-since, after all, this is what the locals would do if they controlled the world's most powerful country.
Now read that again, but with "the European elites" in place of "Middle Easterners'". Sound about right?
Where do the roots of this "ongoing loss of reality" lie? Put simply: they are in denial. Robert Kagan, in Of Paradise and Power points out that most Europeans:
do not see or do not wish to see the great paradox: that their passage into post-history has depended on the United States not making the same passage. Because Europe has neither the will nor the ability to guard its own paradise and keep it from being overrun, spiritually and well as physically, by a world that has yet to accept the rule of “moral consciousness,” it has become dependent on America’s willingness to use its military might to deter or defeat those around the world who still believe in power politics.
As Europe attempts to come to grips with terrorism at home and the cancer that is brewing in many of it's state supported mosques and schools the powers that be are going to have to face the paradox squarely. President Bush has committed America to defeating the terrorists that seek our destruction. Europe, through the E.U. is poised to either follow suit and take responsibilty for her own security, or become "Eurabia."
I am not saying that every Muslim in Europe is a threat, nor should they be viewed that way. I am saying that America is not the threat. America did not kill Theo van Gogh as he rode his bike down the street. French prisons are not crowded with militant Americans who are recruiting for the Yankee jihad.
I have to ask: Is Europe ready to face the facts and take action to protect the millions of people who live in the "unified" countries? Unfortunately I fear not. Just listen to Franck Frégosi, "a researcher for the European Society, Law and Religion research centre at Strasbourg’s Robert Schuman University... A specialist in contemporary Islam in France and Europe":
The question, indeed the challenge, is not so much one of adapting Islam to our European society but of adapting our society to Islam.
The Euros appear poised to throw in the towel (again). Confronting Islam, or any if the myriad problems facing the E.U. will be serious, difficult work. There are no easy answers. And so better to spout off in the manner French Foreign minister Hubert Vedrine who was quoted* as saying that "America's role in 20th-century European history did not give it the rights of a sixteenth member of the European Union." It apparently only gives the rest of the world to vote in our elections.
[*note- I could not find this quote, only references to it]