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Anti-Europeanism

The Economist's Lexington writes about Anti-Europeanism in the United States, which is an interesting topic. Unfortunately he does not add much to the debate, but covers the same "Eurabia" examples that have been criticized many times before: America's anti-Europeans believe that "Europe is committing demographic and economic suicide" because of the birthrate and economic regulations.  Besides, Europe is seen as "a post-Christian society" and "Muslims are filling Europe's demographic and spiritual void." Yawn.
Lexington concludes: "Curing global anti-Americanism primarily means repairing America's relations with the rest of the world; but it also means uprooting the anti-European weeds that have flourished in America in the past few years."

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VinceTN on :

How to pull up anti-European weeds? Does that mean Europe starts taking its own advice and repairing its relations with Americans? How does America bulldoze the oaks of anti-Americanism in Europe? Surrender our liberty? Keep fertilizing your forests. The point of the article was what? Americans are as bad as Euros so its still all America's fault? Americans have no reason to feel ill towards Europe except for the sense of betrayal and disrespect you produce. If its not what Europe really thinks then they should put those sophisticated arts of diplomacy to work and reach out to us. We would much rather like people. Its very depressing to mistrust others. Don't let the American Left (that hates the US far more than any Euro)fool you into thinking you can go on as you always have - taking us for granted and getting away with it. You will be challenged more and more to prove your worth as friends and will become just as responsible for maintaining good relations. Times have changed and the rest of the world needs to start doing more towards creating a more positive diplomacy. Embrace diversity! Include American values in the latest conventional wisdom. We are not Russia or France, the domination thing isn't all that satisfying to us. We're people too and blaming us for everything has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with pathology. Point to our faults but stop dramatizing it into some congenital defect our culture and values. Practice tolerance to Americans like you do to everyone else (in theory) and the Goldbergs and Steyns begin losing thier audience.

Omar on :

"We are not Russia or France, the domination thing isn't all that satisfying to us." As a people i would agree, but as a country the US has become one hell of a domina. Or how would you define the massive global intervention the US seems to be used to doing? True, other nations would do the exact same thing (well, actually each country has it's own methods) if they had the power the US has, but that doesn't make it any better.

Don S on :

"domina. Or how would you define the massive global intervention the US seems to be used to doing?" 'massive global intervention', Omar? The British Empire (India, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt, etc qualified as massive global intervention. You might count the french ocnquest of most of noerthern Africa and Indochina as massive global intervention. There are other instances by Germany, Russia, and even China which could count as such. The US fighting two wars which it always intended to finish quickly and then leave does not count for anything - except in the overheated imaginations of CNN, the BBC, and various other European news organisations. Not to mention French would-be hegenomists like Chirac.

Omar on :

Two wars? what about the intervention in Somalia? What about the desire to battle Iran or (alternatively) Syria? Fact is that the US does not go to war the same way other nations did, but come to think of it even those are learning and all of them lost the desire to colonize other countries. Instead the new mantra is all about installing "pro-western" regimes and thus securing whatever resources they are looking for - yes even formerly pacifist Germany is walking the same walk.. So what if Britain conquered Egypt in the past? Right now, the Egyptian regime exists purely at the grace of the US-administration. The same goes with some variation for the Saudi and Kuwaiti Kingdoms. One day US-policy will change and then it's all about spreading democracy in the middle east and all those despots that the US is supporting right now (or their sons by that time) will be the "new Hitlers" or the "new Saddams"..

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I did not get Lexington's point about the link between Anti-Americanism and "anti-European weeds." His statement "[b]Curing [/b]global anti-Americanism primarily means repairing America's relations with the rest of the world; but it also means uprooting the anti-European weeds that have flourished in America in the past few years." suggests that one reason for Anti-Americanism are the anti-European weeds, but Anti-Americans usually don't care about the Eurabia myth etc. I don't see such a link between Anti-Americanism and Anti-Europeanism. Do you?

Don S on :

I think Lexington ducked the point for both Europe and the US, which is whether the partnership makes sense - today. It's not 1950, not 1957. The menancing Russian Bear is no more. I don't believe that NATO as currently constituted makes sense for the US in 2007, and I'm skeptical about it's value for the parts of Europe who hold the power or with large enough economies to wield power should they choose to do so. I.E. Germany, France, and the UK. Does that make me 'anti-European'? Probably not, but what might make me anti-European in the eyes of the likes of Joerg is the fact that I no longer accept that many members of the NATO alliance wish to be allied with the US - the evidence otherwise on the part of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain are compellingly otherwise over the past 20 years. For these countries NATO means US obligations to them but not the reverse. What probably clinches the point is that I see absolutely no benefit for the US in continuing to provide freebies to rich countries like Germany and France. NATO most obviously makes sense for the recent entries to the Eu from Eastern Europe, who are still in the shadow of the Russian Bear; Poland, Romania, the Baltic states, etc. But even there we're seeing signs of the same disease Germany suffers from - benefits without obligations. In 10 or at most 20 years the process will be complete. In any case I see Germany and France increasingly opting out of their NATO obligations and leaving the burden for the US and UK to bear. I think that is just wrong. One difference between my POV and that of a Mark Steyn is that he seems to care passionately about the fate of Western Union; I don't any more. I don't necessarily believe Europe is 'doomed'. It might be but basically it's your business. As with any country your salvation or damnation are in your own hands. That is why I wish the US to withdraw from NATO (either overtly or gradually). Europeans have proven to me that they don't value the alliance; your fate should now be completely in your own hands.

Zyme on :

"Probably not, but what might make me anti-European in the eyes of the likes of Joerg is the fact that I no longer accept that many members of the NATO alliance wish to be allied with the US" I think I pointed it before: Alliances are always broken by its members when it seems to be opportune and not for no reason. As long as the economical interconnection process throughout the world (and especially between Europe and North America) continues at the current speed, it would send a very problematic signal if we splitted up the alliance right now. Once the globalising speed decreases again and new conflicts might arise, we`ll see. "NATO most obviously makes sense for the recent entries to the Eu from Eastern Europe, who are still in the shadow of the Russian Bear; Poland, Romania, the Baltic states, etc. But even there we're seeing signs of the same disease Germany suffers from - benefits without obligations. In 10 or at most 20 years the process will be complete. In any case I see Germany and France increasingly opting out of their NATO obligations and leaving the burden for the US and UK to bear. I think that is just wrong." That paragraph made me think of something: As long as all the NATO countries are tied together by the alliance, they can influence each other depending on their size and weight and almost regardless of their geographical position. If the alliance would cease to exist, France and Germany (due to their size and geographical position) would have an easy time influencing eastern Europe, while Britain and the USA would have a harder time. Just think of those countries in between Germany and Russia - they would be forced to align to one or another. So maybe that is a reason why Britain and the USA are sharing the biggest burden of the alliance - in contrast to what you said they might have a bigger interest in keeping it up.

Don S on :

"I think I pointed it before: Alliances are always broken by its members when it seems to be opportune and not for no reason." Absolutely. There are many reasons why the US would wish to get out of NATO, not least the fact that it is expensive and yields little strategic benefit to the US whilst pissing off the Russians. Russia and the US are not natural enemies. Russia and Germany are sometimes allies (a la Bismark) and sometimes enemies (WWI, WWII). The US pays thrice for NATO. Once finacially, once in diplomatic terms because US involvement in NATO angers Russia, and another time in diplomatic terms because US involvement in NATO increasingly angers the European 'allies' as well! Meanwhile the 'benefits' of NATO for the US become ever more tenuous. Let us dissolve NATO and reconsitute an alliance with a smaller group of countries who actually wish to be allied to the US and are willing to bear their share of the burden of the alliance. Britain and Canada come to mind. Perhaps Iceland and Ireland as well. "it would send a very problematic signal if we splitted up the alliance right now." The timing is always a bitch, Zyme, but Germany has already really dissolved the partnership. It began with Willy Brandt if not earlier and has only built momentum over the years.

Zyme on :

But donīt you agree that a dissolvement of NATO would dramatically decrease american influence in eastern Europe, one of the most dynamic regions? Thatīs what I wanted to point out above as a major motivation for americans to share a bigger part of the burdens in the alliance. I as a german would agree of course that NATO needs to be ended, as it would make it easier for my country to influence eastern Europe and our neighbours in all directions willing to cooperate (perhaps even more so by playing the dominant role in a regional league). Wherever the USA and Germany would have common military interests in the future, they could coordinate their armies without sustaining such an immensive structure as well.

Don S on :

"But donīt you agree that a dissolvement of NATO would dramatically decrease american influence in eastern Europe, one of the most dynamic regions?" I'm not sure the US needs that influence - such as it is. Not at the cost of something more than 1% of US GDP. The agreement was that NATO would defend Eastern Europe, not that the US would defend Eastern Europe virtually alone. The French and Germans have reneged on their part of the bargain and left Uncle Sam as the patsy. We pay the bills and will do much of the bleeding if things ever come to war. The lesson of the past decade is that Germany can be relied upon to do precisely one thing; complain. Ok, you do peace marches and obstruction very well and will no doubt sell advanced military technology to the Chinese in order to make things harder for the US and Japan. But if the US is out of NATO - consider the obvious riposte from Uncle Sam: selling even better technology to the Russians! Message to continental Europe; you want an alliance - try acting as allies. Germany has sent 3000 noncombatant 'troops' to Afghanistan. But I saw at least 3 MILLION Germans in those 'peace marches' in 2003. AND a serious attempt to sell military technology to China. Next time you'll make the sale no matter what it does to your 'allies' - because you don;'t really view the US as allies and haven't done so in any material sense for a decade or more. It's been lip service for a long time now and recently you cannot be bothered to give even that.

Zyme on :

I believe you misinterpret the relationship of Russia and Germany. As I have pointed out several times, both sides have a big interest in good relations for numerous reasons. If you take a look at Russiaīs current stance, you can clearly see that this country no longer embraces a global ideology such as communism which is easy to implement in many foreign countries. Instead, they prosecute non-russian minorities and become rather nationalistic. This makes them more reliable and predictable for foreign nations. Apart from their minorities, only the smaller countries in their neighbourhood have something to fear. Also I think you overestimate the threat of weapons exports into China from European countries. Firstly, I canīt see any current effort into such a deal. Secondly the Chinese are spending a lot more of their economy into the military than we do, so they shouldnīt be behind for many decades anymore anyway. And last but not least I have no doubt that they put much effort into effective espionage of western weapon systems (call it espionage or "copying" - it virtually is the same). So in the long run, the Chinese military threat for american influence will manifest itself with or without Europeans taking part. By the way: While we might have some interest in supporting China to decrease american influence, we certainly have no interest in completely reversing the situation in Asia, as nothing would be gained from exchanging one dominating power for another. Power should be distributed fairly instead, so that the numbers of options increases. Also donīt you overestimate the economical effort put by the USA into NATO? Sure there is a huge amount of military infrastructure that needs a lot of money to maintain - but as you arenīt effectively protecting Europe from any threats anymore, you would have to spend the money with or without the alliance, right?

David on :

Once you move beyond the right-wing think tanks in Washington, there is virtually no anti-European sentiment in the US. Last week in a nationally televised debate, the front-running Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was asked: who are the top three allies of the US. His first response? The European Union.

Zyme on :

The current president has become rather forthcoming lately. What do you think will be the most important changes of american foreign policy towards Europe in case a democrat will be the next president?

Don S on :

barack Obama is a chald. A bright child, but still a child. If you asked Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden they would not use the word enemy about Europe but would acknowledge huge differences within the partnership. In any case watch the hips not the lips. Actions speak much louder than words. Lack of action speak just as loudly.

David on :

"Barack Obama is child" Borders on racism. You obviously haven't read or listened to anything he has said. In any case, his foreign policy positions are far more reasoned and intelligent than John (Bomb,Bomb Iran) McCain's or Rudy (Police State) Giuliani's.

Don S on :

Racism? Not hardly. Barack Obama was an Illinois State legislator less than 3 years ago. He has never run anythin as far as I can tell. He's not remotely prepared for the job, although I'd have to say he seems to have enough talent to do it if that talent is nurtured in the right way. I'd love to see him go off and be Governor of Illinois for 8 years, then run. Failing that a term as Vice President or running a major department of state would help.

Don S on :

One more unqualified candidate: John Edwards. I'd elect his wife before I'd elect him. Compared with Obama I think the latter has the clear edge in intellect and charm. The difference I'd say is that they are both children but Obama shows signs of maturity I doubt Edwards ever will. I'd like to see Obama as President some day because it would be good for the country. Edwards? Never.

David on :

Just another point about Barack Obama, he may indeed be a "neophyte" as Bob says, but his vision for America has resonated so far with millions of Americans. He is now the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and has raised tens of millions more $$ than his Republican counterparts. I was at an Obama event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and there were thousands of people - of all ages, of every race, both liberals and conservatives; he has true cross-over appeal. By contrast, the next week John McCain showed up at the same venue and attracted a handful of middle-aged, over-weight white males - dreaming of vicarious military glory.

Don S on :

I remember the last president who 'resonated'. He brought us the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile crisis, and Vietnam. Ummm - no thanks. A little more experience, please. I was just talking with a british chap at work who favorably compared President Kennedy with Bush. It got me to thinking. Patrice Lumumba, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and Cuban Missile crisis. Let's not mention all the flaky plots to assasinate Fidel Castro. Lyndon Johnson may have been the world's biggest fruitcake but his record was the epitome of balanced judgement compared to Kennedy. As was every other President including the incumbent. Let's not forget Vietnam and how much worse Vietnam was than Iraq is. And Iraq is only one disaster compared to - how many? Difference is Kennedy was resonant and said things like 'Ask not' and 'Ich bien ein Berliner'. He was charismatic and got good press but Kennedy also almost started WWIII. Perhaps Obama would be different than Kennedy. God knows I hope so. But it makes me suspicious of neophytes.

bob on :

Obama is a very intriguing candidate, but he is a neophyte. His lack of experience in campaigning for a national office is already evident--see his odd connection between Imus' racist triade and the shooting at Virginia Tech. The nomination is a year away and he seems tired and ill at ease during his speeches. The Clinton machine is just waiting for the right moment to pounce. It's a good story and the press will exaggerate his credentials (which are truly impressive) and his charisma, but check in next March and the field of democratic candidates will look very different I imagine. Zyme--as for Obama listing the EU as our number 1 ally, the nature of American federal politics at this stage of the campaign dictate that the candidate follow the gold rule: do not upset anyone. A substantial section of the centre-left of the Democratic party considers the monolithic, bureaucratic EU as a model for the American political development. Obama is placating this portion of his party, or he is telling the truth. You can never know at this stage of the election cycle. As a corrollary look at the signs at an Obama or Clinton rally, you will see placards calling for an investigation into the 9/11 attacks (self-named 'truthers' who believe that 9/11 was an inside job) or posters demanding that Bu$h and Cheney be impeached. These activists are from the far-left and actively hurt the Democratic party during national elections, as bi-coastal extremism doesnt sell in the rust belt, but has any candidate openly confronted the far-left? Nope. Candidates will follow the President Clinton's example and only move to the middle once they have locked up the nomination or are on the verge of losing the nomination. As for Lexington's attempt to equate anti-Europeanism with anti-Americanism, it is just wrong. Sure, the Pat Buchanans of the world have always distrusted and disliked the old continent, but this new anti-Europeanism is bi-partisan and widespread, though currently a populist movement but that is changing. First, anti-Europeanism is not pathological, it is a backlash against European obstructism over the last eight years. I will provide a short list: Eurpean collusion in kicking the US out of the UN HRC in 2000, refusal to consider economic sanctions against Iran, refusal to designate Dafur a genocide and consider sanctions, arbitrary application of ill-defined and ambiguous anti-trust laws (think GE and the Microsoft debacle), the Wolfowitz non-scandal (largely perpetrated by former EU politicians on the Board of Governors), refusal to help launch an anti-corruption program at the UN, non-compliance with NATO mandates concerning force readiness, subversion and expansion of public international law into an offensive foreign policy tool, corruption (Chirac, Schoreder), the patent subordination of Atlanticist goals to domestic political considerations (currently Steinmaier and Beck), and selling out the central and eastern Europeans for lucre.... Now I dont agree with many of these assertions, but they are being made by their proponents, who range across the political spectrum; truly, there is something for everybody. The criticisms are bound by the underlying assumption that the post-WW II world system is not working. In ten years when the last of the cold warriors leave foggy bottom, there will be a decisive break with the old international system. Dont listen to James Baker or Albright on the BBC or ARD, listen to McCain's plan for a league of democracies he proposed yesterday. This idea for a functioning and effective organization was first trotted out by the AEI a decade ago. Three years ago the Hudson Institute picked it up and endorsed it. Now one of the major candidates for President endorses it at the Hoover Institution before the mainstream press. I mention this in connection with anti-Europeanism because Europeans will unfairly in some instances be the scapegoat. That's the development Lexington should have written about, but the Economist is, sadly, not the paper it was.

Zyme on :

Thank you very much for these detailed pieces of information! "listen to McCain's plan for a league of democracies he proposed yesterday." So what countries do you think would most likely form such a league? Would it be in opposition to the UN or the NATO structures?

bob on :

Zyme: I am going from memory here, but the proposal contained a structure and not necessarily recommendations for accession to membership. The entrance requirements are what you would expect from the AEI, e.g a Wilsonian emphasis on the founding values of the UN. Remember the preamble to the UN stipulates membership only for 'civilised' countries, a term which has been taught since the NAM and decolonization to be inherently racist and xenophobic. Doctrinally, the AEI proposal attempts to resurrect that requirement. 'Civilized' I would argue in their definition would mean complete harmonization with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from '48 and include a requirement of democratic and/or republic governance. The members would most likely be: all EU members, Canada, South American nations, South Africa, Ukraine ?, India, S Korea?, Japan, Oz, New Zealand, Indonesia, maybe Russia, Algeria, Morrocco, Georgia, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Balkan nations,and perhaps a few -stans. I dont remember anything about the organizing principles at all...they probably didnt mention any of the brass tacks. The goal of course is to supplant the UN. It would not contain a military component officially, but provide an informal meeting place for like-minded democracies to co-ordinate action for a pressing need. Think Indonesia, Oz and US after the Christmas Tsunami. Decisive action was needed and taken immediately. By the time the UN risk assessment teams had completed their evaluations and paperwork, the immediate crisis, though not rebuilding, had been averted. The AEI types hope that by continuous displays of its efficency this 'league of democracies' will shame the UN organizations into obsolence. For the short term, it would work with the UN. To put it crudely, the proposal is an attack on the entrenched "tranzi" bureaucracy by American conservatives. In their mind, they simply want to get shit done. They conceive of the UN as an organization that since its inception has arrogated power to itself solely for its own use. The UN is what they call in system engineering a 'closed system', and a closed system begets other closed systems. The circularity of the legal and political avenues of redress (GA, SC to ICJ) makes it impervious to check. AEI theorists look at '49 ICJ decision granting international legal personality to the UN as the start of the slippery slope. It inevitably led to the inclusion of special observer status for the PLO in the 70s (a first) and that led to the inclusion as amici curiae of NGOs in WTO panel resolutions. They picture these developments, rightly, as an assault on the Westphalian system of governance and a return on an international level to the byzantine complexity of medieval Europe. Another example would be the US championing of the ICTY. Great idea, establish an international court under Chapter VII auspices, make it transparent and perhaps the European peoples could have their own Nuernburg. What has happened? It is fifteen years or so since its founding, Carla del Ponte spends half her time meddling in European politics, its cost 1.5 Billion dollars (most of which has lined the pockets of tranzis), it takes years for a case to be tried, judges openly interpret the law to make international law (see Cassesse's Tadic decision), the judges argubly killed Milosevic by prohibiting medical treatment (gee, do you think the Serbs hold grudges?)and the Europeans want to keep at it for a couple of more years. Thats the point of view of the AEI establishment. Now if Brookings signs on, expect legislative action sooner rather than later.

David on :

Sounds like the "Coalition of the Willing" all over again. Who will decide who can join? John Bolton? I don't see any European nations signing on to this, much less traditional anti-colonial nations in the developing world. Just the fact that it is an AEI-endorsed initiative (the folks that brought us the Iraq War - and now the SURGE) delegitimizes it. No wonder McCain has latched on to it.

Zyme on :

"Remember the preamble to the UN stipulates membership only for 'civilised' countries, a term which has been taught since the NAM and decolonization to be inherently racist and xenophobic." Why so cumbersome? As a great admirer of roman culture, I always favored the term "civilized", and prefer to have such company. But at times, even barbarians can become useful :) I appreciate everyone that does not bow down before disrespectful reinterpretations. "'Civilized' I would argue in their definition would mean complete harmonization with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from '48 and include a requirement of democratic and/or republic governance." Why built upon something from the UN that didnīt work? But I see there seem to be very different meanings of the term. Upon hearing "Cvilized" firstly, architecture and structure, arts and science come to my mind. So such societies would be bound together by their privileged state of development rather than by their political alignment. In a way you could say it would represent the First World - willing to defend its aquisitions for the first time in almost hundred years. As these countries usually have the biggest appetite for power, combining their efforts in a common league would not be unwise :)

bob on :

David: The point is that this idea is gaining traction amongst the political classes. The AEI may have first floated it, but more centrist think tanks are accepting the potential benefits of its implementation. That is how american public policy works. Think back to welfare reform in the mid 90s. Until the more centrist Heritage foundation became its biggest backer, the political class and the press could write it off as just another paleo-conservation backlash against post New Deal America. The bill Clinton signed was almost verbatim the course of action espoused by the Heritage Foundation. Zyme: 'Civilized' is the term used in the preamble, not the terminology of the proposal. I noted it to attempt to clarify that the underlying motivation is that the one State one vote rule of the GA is nonsense to some. Unless the State in question meets certain democratic criteria, they should not be counted the equal of say Germany. Irrespective of size and wealth, accession to the club would be determined by culture, as reified in legal and political domestic norms. Though German and American law are funny in someplaces to foreigners, there is a consensus that the differences arise from a not incompatible interpretation of basic social and cultural assumptions. Why have this requirement at all, when it failed miserably at the UN? Well, you have to sell a vision to the American people for overseas adventures. When the western Europeans were starving in '46-7, did we help? Hell, no. Yet when Truman packaged the Marshall plan with containment and fancy rhetoric: we have an opportunity, no an obligation, to rebuild Western Europe and protect our ancestral homeland from the godless red menance; such an act would be, my countrymen, worthy of our founding ideals and the greatest expectation placed before of us of securing the most prized treasure of our common civilization, a long peace. Yeah we ate it up. The FRY intervention was similar. It took Clinton pretending to be tough, 'genocide. not on my watch', to drum up popular support for military action. Really, no one cared if the Yugos massacred each other, thats a national sport, isnt it? Those are just examples of knee-jerk isolationism which is still very prevalent in the US.

Zyme on :

Your response offered quite an insight into how american politics is made and it sounds convincing. Here in Europe fancy rhetorics are only needed before elections. Most people expect nothing but lies then of course, but you can only vote those with the more convincing lies :) In the end once they govern, they make politics. And they donīt pursue those politics according to fancy rhetoric but accroding to purely opportunistic reasons. Luckily for us germans, commitment to the fatherland is among them again.

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