In 2002 a National Geographic-Roper study found 83 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 unable to locate Afghanistan - the country whence the 9/11 attack originated and which the US had just invaded - when presented with four alternatives. Now a new such test reveals that nearly two-thirds of young adults cannot find Iraq on a map even after three years of war and more than 2,400 US deaths, at an estimated cost of $1-2 trillion.This is seems to be the result of a U.S.-centric highschool education. Now France and Germany have produced a joint history textbook, which apparently is not just Euro-centric, but also teaches a pro-European sentiment on the expense of the United States. Chirac and Schroeder started this initiative to contribute to further Franco-German reconciliation and mutual understanding by teaching history to French and German highschool students from both French and German perspectitves, as the publisher explains in German and French. The textbook was written by five German and five French historians. Guillaume Le Quintrec, who headed the French team, told The Times that the book contained "unashamedly pro-European ideology" and an underlying distrust of the United States. The textbook:
starts in 1945, a convenient date that enables the authors to focus on "memories" of the Second World War rather than its causes. "The patriotic cult of victory has given way to a universal demand to remember the victims of the war," the work says. The next stage is the Cold War, where the US and the USSR are presented as broadly equivalent in moral terms. Both were engaged in an arms race described as "the balance of terror" and both sought to "impose themselves by an omnipresent propaganda" that involved "gross exaggerations and simplifications".While the book might describe different French and German perspectives, according to The Times it apparently ignores the US perspective and describes the EU as good multilateralists and the United States as bad unilateralists:
The BBC reports how the book was written:
A substantial section of the work is devoted to the EU -- a startling success story and a beacon for the rest of the world, according to the five German and five French scholars who worked on the project. "Through its willingness to co-operate with the Third World, its attachment to multilateralism, its dialogue with other regions, the EU appears as a model on the international scene," it says. By contrast, modern American unilateralism "enshrined by George W. Bush is widely criticised throughout the world", it says. Music, cinema and other forms of culture are "dominated by American multinational firms, which are the main beneficiaries of the free trade". M Le Quintrec told The Times that it was "largely right" to describe the work as anti-American. But he said that German historians had insisted upon softening the message with sentences such as: "Some people, notably in Germany, consider the US to be a power which defends democracy in a world where the UN is not always able or willing to do it."
The 10 authors did not encounter major difficulties, according to France's Le Figaro newspaper. Paradoxically it was not World War II which provided the main topic of debate, but the US role in the world since 1945, the newspaper said. It quoted Guillaume Le Quintrec, co-director of the project, who said "the French found the Germans to be pro-American and the Germans found our viewpoint anti-American". Heated discussions, in which each word was carefully considered, resulted in a text which both sides judged to be "balanced".MORE ABOUT FRENCH EDUCATION:
Bushisms are well known and Sirocco reminds us of the embarrassing, but harmless "Grecians," "Kosovarians" or "East Timorians" and links to President Bush confusing Sweden with Switzerland, but France's Foreign Minister is much worse, if the Le Monde is correct. The IHT writes:
He has confused Taiwan with Thailand and Croatia with Kosovo and speaks no foreign language - not even English. Indeed, so gaffe-prone is the French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, that President Jacques Chirac routinely orders a civil servant to follow him around with a recording device to keep track of all potential mishaps, according to a scathing account in the newspaper Le Monde. (...)More about Douste-Blazy at the Transatlantic Intelligencer.
"Were there no Jews killed in Britain?" he asked [at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem]. "But Mr. Minister, Britain was never occupied by the Nazis," the curator replied. To which Douste-Blazy shot back: "But were no Jews expelled from Britain?" [via BuzzMachine]