Skip to content

Four Myths About Transatlantic Relations

William Drozdiak, president of the American Council on Germany and the former chief European correspondent for The Washington Post, wrote an op-ed about transatlantic relations. (Hat tip: Don) Unfortunately, the Washington Post editors chose an headline "4 Myths About America-Bashing in Europe," although only two of the four myths could be put into the category America-Bashing. The headline choice indicates that they find the term "America-Bashing" more profitable than the term "transatlantic relations." So it is not just the European media, which focuses on the negative aspects on the other side of the Atlantic.
Excerpts from Drozdiak's op-ed:
Opinion polls cite widespread dismay with the Iraq war, our dog-eat-dog social model and the arrogance of an imperial superpower that places itself above international law. But behind the surveys about "why they hate us" lies a reservoir of goodwill waiting to be tapped among foreigners who would prefer to see the United States succeed rather than fail. This love-hate melange has perpetuated four modern myths about transatlantic relations that deserve to be debunked.
1. The French hate us:
There is scant evidence to suggest that exploiting anti-American attitudes wins elections. During the French campaign, Sarkozy was often derided by his Socialist opponents as "an American neoconservative carrying a French passport." (...) In Germany, where anti-American views have hardened in recent years, Merkel has not suffered because of her support of the United States. Indeed, she has steadily increased her popularity with high-profile visits to Washington. (...)
2. Europeans look down on the American way of life:

Young Europeans are more eager than ever to work and study in the United States. A brain drain from France and Germany has sent some of their best and brightest to the United States. (...) When I spoke last year with about 50 Germans studying at MIT and Harvard, not one of them expressed a desire to return home. They all wanted to live and work in the United States, where, they said, opportunities are far more abundant.
3. "Old Europe" no longer matters because China and India are the future:
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Europe supposedly lost its relevance. Not true. In fact, Europe and the United States still act as the twin turbines of the global economy, accounting for 60 percent of all trade and investment flows. Americans invested five times as much money in Germany last year as they did in China, and U.S. firms in total have poured four times as much money into tiny Belgium as they have into India. Europe provides three-quarters of all foreign investment in the United States, creating millions of American jobs.
4. Europe loves only Democrats:
Most Europeans loathe George W. Bush, and his departure from the White House will be cheered in capitals around the world. But that doesn't mean that Europeans want a return to the kumbaya-ism and humility evinced by President Jimmy Carter and the early years of the Clinton administration, when the United States failed to lead in stopping genocide in the Balkans.

Trackbacks

Erkan's field diary on : "Four Myths About Transatlantic Relations

Show preview
Atlantic Review offers excerpts from the op-ed of William Drozdiak who is the president of the American Council on Germany and the former chief European correspondent for The Washington Post...A good roundup here: Turkey divided: politics, faith and democracy by...

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

David on :

"Most Europeans loathe George W. Bush" Finally Americans have caught up with Europeans...

Pat Patterson on :

And Americans disapprove of Congress even more than they do the President.

Don S on :

I'm suspicious of sweeping generalizations as a rule - and the 4 headline points are both the most sweeping of generalizations and and in large part straw man arguments which Mr. Drozdiak can attack and achieve complete victory over. An empty 'victory' as all such arguments are. "The French hate us" Well, no. All French don't hate all Yankees. But many or most French (particularly in the chattering classes) see the US as variously an enemy, an adversary, or a vile bumbling interloper occupying the position which rightfully belongs to La France. "There is scant evidence to suggest that exploiting anti-American attitudes wins elections." This doesn't answer to whether the French hate the US. It may only mean that the French aren't fools enough to buy the foolish argument that the self-styled 'anti-american' candidate is superior to the self-styled philo-American. Segoleme was perhaps the most ill-prepared and vacuous candidate fielded in a western election in recent years - and that includes Bush II. Ill-informed, ill-prepared, and lacking a credible program - she went down to well-deserved defeat. Don't confuse Hillary Clinton with Royal because of mere callow sexism, BTW. The closest analogs to Royal in the US presidential race are Obama Barak (8 years too early) and John (Hairdo) Edwards. Europeans look down on the American way of life" Some do, some don't. Some come over and enjoy the American way of life - while disdaining it all the way. It seems to be a favored occupation of many in the chattering classes - based upon a certain ignorance I think. The fact that Bernard Levy could spend a year in the US on a book and cause a significant splash in France shows a certain ignorance I think. Whereas the US student living in france for a year is a cliche. Yanks know more about the French than the French know about the US. "Young Europeans are more eager than ever to work and study in the United States." There is a certain air of sour grapes among those who are left behind. A large portion of the best and brightest go to the us - leaving behind those who may not be. ""Old Europe" no longer matters because China and India are the future". Old Europe matters of course. It's just that China, India, Japan, Brazil, and many other countries matter far more than they ever did - so European countries have to share the 'matters' tag with more rivals. Germany was probably the #1 superpower globally in 1907. In 2007 it matters less than it did a century ago. Cold fact. China was a pawn in 1907 - today it's a clear #2 in global power relations. India was a colony of the UK in 1907 - today it outweighs the UK in power and is probably in the top five or six globally. Project forward a decade and there will be no doubt at all. "Europe loves only Democrats" I'm afraid I've seen the increasing truth of this since 1992. Europeans behave as though the US electing Democrats is a condition for cooperation. I say that if this trend continues the alliance will fall. As the US discovered with France and Italy & their communist parties- an ally cannot mandate the outcome of democratic elections and must remain an ally no matter whom is in power. Much of Europe did not do this over the last decade - and has yet to count the full cost of that bitterly horrible decision.

David on :

"that bitterly horrible decision." Which decision is that? The decision not to follow Bush and his poodle into a disasterous war of choice? In hindsight, it was the only correct decision.

mbast on :

Ok, I'm late, so I hope somebody still reads this. "I'm suspicious of sweeping generalizations as a rule" Good. "Well, no. All French don't hate all Yankees. But many or most French (particularly in the chattering classes) see the US as variously an enemy, an adversary, or a vile bumbling interloper occupying the position which rightfully belongs to La France." Not sure what you mean by "the chattering classes". The average Frenchman will be minding his own business, mostly. Not all Frenchmen obsess over France's position in the world at large all the time. In fact, very few of them do. Most of those work in the Quai d'Orsay or the Elysée Palace. It seems to be a common misconception of quite a few Americans that all Frenchmen can't stop drooling about setting up a global French hegemony in rivalry to some perceived American empire. In fact, the order of priority is a little different. The French worry about what's going on 1. at home 2. at their workplace 3. in their town/city 4. in their region 5. in France 6. in Europe 7. maybe, if there's still time, in all the rest of the world. I'd say the US rank 7th along with "the rest of the world" in our concerns. We don't spend all day thinking up new ways of how we can be anti-American or how we can occupy "the position which rightfully belongs to La France", you know. In fact, there are quite a few Frenchmen who are * gasp * pro-American in their general attitude. Count me as one of them. However, if rather large parts of the American media and the Bush administration could just get off our case every now and again, I'm sure that would help our general attitude toward the land of the free and brave. "This doesn't answer to whether the French hate the US." It doesn't have to since, get this, the French actually [i]don't hate the US[/i]! "Segoleme was perhaps the most ill-prepared and vacuous candidate fielded in a western election in recent years" Well, if you're going to call her vacuous you might as well get her name spelled right: it's Ségolène, actually, or Mme. Royal, take your pick. And gosh, how often have I heard this "airhead" argument before. To be fair, over half of the French electorate fell for that propaganda as well, so you're not alone. Ah well, bygones.... Let's see if the US will actually fare that much better with Sarkozy. I'm still not convinced the White House and State Department aren't going to be in for a rude awakening next time they go head to head with our little Napoleon. "Yanks know more about the French than the French know about the US." Sure. Ask a Yank who's president of France and you'll be lucky if they don't say De Gaulle. If they even know De Gaulle. Or the fact that France has a president. Heck, the completely inane comments I got even from American graduate students about France or Europe in general are enough to fill a book. " There is a certain air of sour grapes among those who are left behind. A large portion of the best and brightest go to the us - leaving behind those who may not be." Except for the "sour grapes" bit, that is actually true. There is a brain drain and it's largely due to lack of funding in European universities. Incidentally, Mme. "Airhead" Royal had made it a big priority in her political program to refinance the French universities and research facilities. But hey, I guess that was just her being vacuous again. "Germany was probably the #1 superpower globally in 1907. In 2007 it matters less than it did a century ago. Cold fact." Cold fact n°1: Germany is the main economic engine of the EU and cold fact n°2: the EU as a whole is still the biggest global economic player, even more so than the US. Think again, Don. Think hard. You're making the same mistake that many people (and not just Americans) tend to make: you completely ignore the European dimension. Germany is plenty important, believe you me. It hasn't got an enormous army, but heck, who needs one these days. Which of course shouldn't detract from the sheer population numbers in India and China. They are going to be quite a factor in the decades to come, but neither the EU nor the US are going to stand idly by. "I'm afraid I've seen the increasing truth of this since 1992. Europeans behave as though the US electing Democrats is a condition for cooperation." Huh? Whatever gave you that idea? Do you have any facts to back this statement up? The Europeans I know (and I know quite a few of them, seein' as I live here) couldn't care less about party politics in America. In fact, compared to European standards, we can't see there is a huge amount of difference between democrats and republicans. How did Bill Maher put it: if a democrat even thinks you're calling him liberal, he grabs an orange vest and a rifle and heads into the woods to kill something. As long as the next guy/girl getting elected isn't as...errm... how shall I put this... [i]vacuous[/i] as George Walker Bush, that'll be fine with us regardless of his/her party afilliation.

Don S on :

"Not sure what you mean by "the chattering classes". " The chattering classes are shorthand for the politically obsessed. Journalists, politicians, academics of certain stripes, etc. Drozdiak wrote: "1. The French hate us: There is scant evidence to suggest that exploiting anti-American attitudes wins elections." I noted in turn that "This doesn't answer to whether the French hate the US." It doesn't. Chirac won in a landslide in the last election but one but only because he was facing Le Pen. So his opposition and backstabbing (the volte-face of early 2003) may or may not have helped him. Schroeder made opposition to the US a major issue in his 2002 re-election campaign - and won an election he probably deserved to lose based upon performance to date. He did it again in 2005 - and barely lost. That would support the thesis that 'exploiting anti-american attitudes' works in Germany but there is less solid evidence of that in France - although it may be so. I don't assert that in the case of France. I merely wrote that Drozdiak's reply was not on point - the outcome of French elections does not prove or disprove the truth of whether the French hate the US. "It doesn't have to since, get this, the French actually don't hate the US!" Generalisations such as 'all French' or 'all Americans' are meaningless. Certain portions of the population evidence such hate but not even that is universal. I might truthfully state that in general the French 'chattering classes' seem to utterly detest the US and actively enjoy displaying their contempt frequently - but that valid generalisation would not apply to figures such as Bernard-Henri Lévy, Nicolas Sarkozy, and a number of others I could look up if I had the time. Even so "t'was enough - t'will serve". Particularly when it prevents France from acting as an ally should - and it did. "Cold fact n°1: Germany is the main economic engine of the EU and cold fact n°2: the EU as a whole is still the biggest global economic player, even more so than the US." Cold fact - Europe is in a state of relative decline in economic and perhaps political power - as is the US. Even as absolute power increases for both. This because of the precipitous rise of China, India, Japan, the Asian 'tigers', and even countries like Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa. Whether the US or Europe is more in decline depends the baseline you choose and on how you measure power. If the baseline is 1907 - Europe has fallen off a cliff. If you mark the baseline as 1945 (as most who argue US decline do) then it is the US. The trouble with the 1945 argument is that that year marks an artificial high in US power and occurred not because of US growth but because Europe, Japan, and Russia lay in ruins with very few exceptions. In Europe only Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal avoided massive destruction. Spain had lost 750,000 people in her Civil War - Ireland and Portugal were backward. Contrast that artificial peak with the 1907 figure. The particulars vary - but Europe as a whole had been at the top of the heap since at least 1750. Germany had not - Germany's rise probably began during the 1830's and Bismark put it together in 1870. But everything considered Germany was the #1 superpower in 1907. The US did not have the military power and the UK lacked the strong economy. France and Russia lacked both. Even so Germany fought a coalition of the UK, France, and Russia to a standstill in WWI and probably would have won a Pyrric victory in 1918 but for the US intervention. No? That is one mark of a superpower - a strong enough military and economy to do something like that. In 2007 Germany is not even first among equals in the EU. Perhaps potentially so - but France would vigorously dispute the assertion. In 2007 Germany is a middling-size economic power with no military power of major consequence. Both France and the UK would have to be accounted greater powers than Germany if the military dimension is accounted for. So would China, India, and possibly Brazil. "Europeans behave as though the US electing Democrats is a condition for cooperation." Huh? Whatever gave you that idea?" Gerhard Schroeder. Jacques Chirac. Joshka Fischer. Zapatero. And (above all) those millions of demonstrators in the streets of Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munchen, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Roma, Stockholm, etc. The ones carrying signs and shouting slogans telling me that I am a facist and the US a facist power. We were directed then to elect the Democrat or there would be no cooperation at all. And they were correct - there hasd been next to no cooperation in real terms. Can 20 million Europeans be wrong? Probably not. I remember that very, very well. I have accepted my inner facist. I know that NATO is a hollow sham. A pometking village of an alliance. It may take 20 years to expire with a whimper rather than a shout. But it's walking dead after the past decade.

Fuchur on :

"Cold fact - Europe is in a state of relative decline in economic and perhaps political power - as is the US. Even as absolute power increases for both." But that is THE point! And one cannot stress this often enough. Too many people fall victim to the old mercantilist fallacy that economy (and political power, if you want) is a zero sum game: There's one big pie, and when China or Poland get a bigger piece, then Germany will get a smaller one. That's why people are so afraid of globalization. In reality, the pie gets bigger: All these Chinese won't just sit on their money: they'll want to cash in on their enhanced standard of living, and that's of course where an export-dependent economy like Germany can profit again. So, why the doom and gloom? I mean, in the past Germans had butter, and the Chinese only stale bread. Right now, it looks like in the future we'll both have butter and marmalade on our bread. Granted, relatively speaking, that's a big decline for Germany. But why should we be afraid of such a development?? Concerning political power: 60 Cent and political power will get you a jelly donut :-). I mean, take a look at some of the riches countries in this world: Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland, or take Japan or the Asian "tigers": All of them aren't exactly known for their political power, are they? Right now, political power means the privilege to send troops to all kinds of godforsaken places on this earth... Btw, also here we can observe the strange phenomenon that a decrease in absolute power is not necessarily a decrease in relative power - and vice versa. Game theory (I think?) provides many examples. So, right now, the US can act pretty much unilaterally and doesn't really have to care about allies. But it could well be that when e.g. China grows more powerful, the US will increasingly have to rely on partners to push through some agenda.

Don S on :

"Too many people fall victim to the old mercantilist fallacy that economy" Not me - you're attacking a straw man there. The point is that as China and India and Japan and all the middleing powers in the world become prosperous and matter more - Europe and the US matter less relatively. "examples. So, right now, the US can act pretty much unilaterally and doesn't really have to care about allies. But it could well be that when e.g. China grows more powerful, the US will increasingly have to rely on partners to push through some agenda." I'm afraid I see it rather otherwise, Fuchur. I see the US as having backed European objectives for many years but most of Europe being utterly unwilling to back US objectives to any extent. Kosovo but not Irak. I'm just pointing out an inconvenient fact which most of you don't care to acknowledge. Very well - we can play the 'optional' alliance game also. But don't believe that you will like it - you won't.

mbast on :

"The chattering classes are shorthand for the politically obsessed. Journalists, politicians, academics of certain stripes, etc. " Well, in that case, the French "chattering classes" are pretty much divided on the subject. You already noted quite a few exceptions to your theory. I could cite quite a few more. Neither the politicians nor the media, and certainly not the academic community, are basically biased against the US. They do have a tendency to call the US on their perceived mistakes, and quite loudly so, but you should see what happens when the [i]French[/i] government messes up in one way or the other. Anarchy, I tell you ;-). It's got nothing to do with Antiamericanism. One caveat to the above statement though: since Iraq (and the French refusing to go there) we have been called all kinds of names by the US, particularly the media and the Bush administration. Being called "old Europe" by a certain ex-secretary of Defense was only one of the tamer insults. Now at first, the French public didn't really take much notice of this. But, as you say in German, "der Krug geht so lange zum Wasser bis er bricht". There comes a point where systematic French-bashing will get us to react. And the obvious reaction is: many Frenchmen are starting not to like the Americans in general too much anymore because of the continuous flak we get re: Iraq. Why, oh why, can't the American "chattering classes" understand that a. we had our reasons for not going into Iraq, that b. it had nothing to do with us being genetically programmed cowards or some such nonsense c. that it had nothing to do with us being anti-American (we warned Bush, remember) and d. well, we were correct, weren't we? The whole thing is a bit like somebody warning a friend not to jump off a roof, the friend still jumping, breaking his leg and then sueing the other guy because he didn't jump with him. Oh, and also: the Germans (who, I might remind you, didn't go into Iraq either) don't get nearly as much loving attention in the bashing department as we get. Wonder why that is. "It doesn't. Chirac won in a landslide in the last election but one but only because he was facing Le Pen. So his opposition and backstabbing (the volte-face of early 2003) may or may not have helped him." If you're talking about Iraq, consider: French presidential election (in which Chirac faced off against Le Pen): april and may 2002. Iraq: february/march 2003. Iraq wasn't even a marginal topic in the 2002 presidential race, so there is no, repeat, absolutely no way Chirac's opposition to the war at a later date could have influenced the election. "Schroeder made opposition to the US a major issue in his 2002 re-election campaign - and won an election he probably deserved to lose based upon performance to date. He did it again in 2005 - and barely lost. That would support the thesis that 'exploiting anti-american attitudes' works in Germany but there is less solid evidence of that in France - although it may be so." Ah, now you're talking. Indeed, Iraq was a topic in the 2002 Bundestag election, but only because the whole thing had evolved towards a marked German/French opposition at that point (remember: in september 2002 the US were already pushing hard for an invasion). So the whole thing was much less about anti-Americanism than about anti-Iraq-ism. The rationale was: if we elect Stoiber, we'll have to send troops to Iraq into a war we don't really want. Following the American lead into Afghanistan wasn't that much of a problem because it was perceived as morally ok after 9/11 to weed out the terrorist camps. Iraq was a completely different ballgame and therefore the Germans ruled they didn't want any part in it. Not really that much anti-Americanism involved, actually. "Generalisations such as 'all French' or 'all Americans' are meaningless. Certain portions of the population evidence such hate but not even that is universal." Yup. True enough. Thank god (or whatever deity you prefer) for that. "Particularly when it prevents France from acting as an ally should - and it did." Clarify please. How did France not "act as an ally should"? We're allies of the US, not blind servants who jump when the US say we should jump. "Gerhard Schroeder. Jacques Chirac. Joshka Fischer. Zapatero. And (above all) those millions of demonstrators in the streets of Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munchen, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Roma, Stockholm, etc. The ones carrying signs and shouting slogans telling me that I am a facist and the US a facist power. We were directed then to elect the Democrat or there would be no cooperation at all. And they were correct - there hasd been next to no cooperation in real terms." Nope, you're missing the point, I'm afraid. The whole "elect Kerry" campaign thing was due to Iraq and the German/French reaction to it. It hadn't anything to do with democrats or republicans. Had Bush been a democrat, the Europeans would've supported the republican candidate. As for that cooperation bit: what exactly do you mean? Do you mean the lack of enthusiasm in Europe for running to the rescue of Bush in Iraq? Well, that's understandable, isn't it? If Bush gets himself into a quagmire (against our warnings, I might add), why should we be stupid enough to follow him in and get our noses bloodied in the process? Especially if we don't have nearly the necessary military capacity to solve that particular catastrophe? And for the record: I don't think you're a fascist :-). "In 2007 Germany is not even first among equals in the EU. Perhaps potentially so - but France would vigorously dispute the assertion. In 2007 Germany is a middling-size economic power with no military power of major consequence. Both France and the UK would have to be accounted greater powers than Germany if the military dimension is accounted for. So would China, India, and possibly Brazil." Well, all I'm hearing is "military". Actually, in terms of economics, Germany is the master of Europe. GDP-wise it ranks way over the next two European runners-up, the UK and France, and at number 3 in the world, right after the US and Japan. Incidentally, GDP-wise the EU as a whole outranks even the US. "I know that NATO is a hollow sham. A pometking village of an alliance. It may take 20 years to expire with a whimper rather than a shout. But it's walking dead after the past decade." Oops, yet another can of worms. Nato was made for a very specific purpose: countering the Soviet threat. Now that threat is gone, it serves no purpose other than coordinating military "policing" operations around the globe. Since, after Iraq, the US have used up all their credit as "leading nation" in Nato, the other Nato nations will think twice about blindly following the US into any operation in the future. Therefore, I have to agree with you: Nato is probably doomed in the long run. Which is why the Europeans should very, very quickly set up their own defence initiative.

Don S on :

"Well, in that case, the French "chattering classes" are pretty much divided on the subject. " They are not percieved so. The small portion of all the analysis which gets translated into English or gets noticed by English-language journalist tends to be 95% against - and the most scathing part of it I suspect. It leaves a certain perception. That may be the intent. "One caveat to the above statement though: since Iraq (and the French refusing to go there) we have been called all kinds of names by the US, particularly the media and the Bush administration." "Now at first, the French public didn't really take much notice of this. But, as you say in German, "der Krug geht so lange zum Wasser bis er bricht". There comes a point where systematic French-bashing will get us to react. And the obvious reaction is: many Frenchmen are starting not to like the Americans in general too much anymore because of the continuous flak we get re: Iraq. Why, oh why, can't the American "chattering classes" understand" That is absolutely hilarious! I could write the precise same passage substituting 'France' for US - it would be an equally true expression of my feelings. Indeed I HAVE written such things! LOL! "b. it had nothing to do with us being genetically programmed cowards or some such nonsense " They are thinking of WWII - but they are 1) misinformed and 2) their timelines are too short. I usually reply to the 'Cheese-eating surrender monkeys' gibe with this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Verdun Besides, what's wrong with cheese-eating? I come from Wisconsin (known for it's cheese) so cheese-eating is an expression of good taste, not derision. So I don't associate the French with cowardice. "d. well, we were correct, weren't we? The whole thing is a bit like somebody warning a friend not to jump off a roof, the friend still jumping, breaking his leg and then sueing the other guy because he didn't jump with him." Self-fulfilling prophecy. Chirac did everything he could to make it hurt - and it hurts. Your analogy is wrong but I won't argue that. What you and the Germans showed the US is that the NATO alliance is a la carte - portions are optional. We shall remember the lesson....

mbast on :

"They are not percieved so. The small portion of all the analysis which gets translated into English or gets noticed by English-language journalist tends to be 95% against - and the most scathing part of it I suspect. It leaves a certain perception. That may be the intent." True enough. There seems to be a certain amount of "filtering" going on in the English translations of the French media. "That is absolutely hilarious! I could write the precise same passage substituting 'France' for US - it would be an equally true expression of my feelings. Indeed I HAVE written such things! LOL!" Have you? Must've missed that ;-). There is no question that there is quite a bit of bashing going on on both sides of the pond. Well, you can argue endlessly about who gets bashed most by whom, except that such discussions are pretty pointless. Perhaps we should stop bashing and start reflecting a bit. Therefore I won't comment on that "self-fulfilling prophecy" stuff you said about Chirac. The man's no longer president and, eventhough I still believe he was absolutely right on Iraq and Bush was absolutely wrong, I'm too much of a leftie to still go on defending him after he steps down :-). Let bygones be bygones. However, whether Iraq is a nightmare or a victory is pretty much irrelevant. The problem is: what to do about it? Any takers? As for cheese: from Wisconsin, eh? Well excellent. Chirac's not president anymore so you can come over visit now ;-). Plenty of cheese to go around in Normandy where my parents live, and I'll throw in a bottle or two of Calvados ;-). We'll discuss what to do about Iraq :-D.

Don S on :

"As for cheese: from Wisconsin, eh? Well excellent. Chirac's not president anymore so you can come over visit now ;-). Plenty of cheese to go around in Normandy where my parents live, and I'll throw in a bottle or two of Calvados ;-). We'll discuss what to do about Iraq :-D." Oh, I hadn't really stopped. Or not for that reason anyway. I did the boycott thing in 2003-2004 but then started eating Brie and Roquefort again. Didn't really go back to French wine much but not out of grudge. Rather I discovered that I love Shiraz, Rioja, etc during my hiatus... I've visited once or twice but stopped travelling for a while because of assorted troubles. You are from Normandy? I visited Normandy and Brittany on an extended visit in 2002 (I think). Beautiful place. I visited Rennes, Dinan, Mont St. Michel, the Normandy Beaches, Bayeux, and Rouen. Great cheese. Livarot, Pont-l'Évêque, Neufchâtel. But the best part of a visit to a good French restaurant is the end - when they bring the cheese cart with all the little cheeses I've never heard of before. I put myself in the hands of the sommelier and the cheese expert and ahhhhhh! I am an ignorant but not unappreciative audience! ;) I used to visit France every year for 2-3 weeks and try to see a particular area in some depth. Alsace and Burgundy one year, Haute Provence/ lower Rhone the next, and Dorgogne/Languedoc the year after that. Plus long weekends in Paris of course. Paris was a disapointment in only one respect. I'm a fan of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers' and was hoping to see a little of D'Artagne's Paris. But I think Baron Haussmann demolished that Paris, so there was little swash left in the Parisian buckle. No mind, I did see that France later - when I visited Rouen!

mbast on :

Wow, it seems you really know your way around France, then. Better than me, probably. In that case, I suggest you comment on Superfrenchie every once or again. I'm pretty sure you'll be appreciated :-). As for Paris: I agree. Not my kind of city either. Too big, too fast-paced. The saying goes that in Paris, if you cross the street walking, not running, you'll be identified as a tourist ;-).

Don S on :

mbast, I don't really know my way around France - just enough to be 'dangerous'! ;) What I actually mean is that I've seen enough to be aware of the depth of my ignorance. France has a depth of history and culture rivaled only by Italy in my experience. I don't know enough about Spain, Portugal, Greece, etc to judge. I love Paris, BTW - I only note that most of Paris isn't very old because of the Haussmann renovations. London has a similar problem. Because of the Great Fire very little of London predates 1666.

Fuchur on :

There are quite a few of these myths, and it is good to now and then stop and actually take a closer look at them. It happens rather often that one of the typical "lectures" about Europe starts out with some premise that is presented as solid fact, but in reality is just an old stereotype.

Don S on :

I'll point out that there are often solid reasons behind most stereotypes. Stereotypes tend to be overstated - but there is a core of reality behind these stereotypes - particularly if one confronts the real issues instead of Drozdiak's straw man formulations.....

Elizabeth on :

and the early years of the Clinton administration, when the United States failed to lead in stopping genocide in the Balkans. Let us dispense with this paraticular fantasy. When the fighting broke out in the Balkans, European governments and leaders spent the next few years loudly stating that Europe was going to be dealing with the problems there. They announced that the end of the Cold War meant the end of reliance on the U.S. I still remember Jaque Poos announcing that "This (the Balkans) is the hour of Europe." Europe did not ask the U.S. to get involved. Quite the contrary. Furthermore, the U.S. is not automatically responsible for any and all civil problems that break out on the continent of Europe. There is nothing in the NATO alliance which requires the U.S. to become involved in civil problems in a non-NATO non-allied nation.

Kevin Sampson on :

“There is scant evidence to suggest that exploiting anti-American attitudes wins elections.” Yeah, right. I note the author fails to mention Gerhard Schroder’s 2002 campaign. “When I spoke last year with about 50 Germans studying at MIT and Harvard, not one of them expressed a desire to return home.” Never mind that a sample size of 50 would make any statistician laugh out loud, but selecting your sample from a group that has already decided to come here, and then claiming it is representative of the millions who didn’t transcends the boundaries mere lunacy. Honestly, does this fool Drozdiak actually expect anyone to take this shit seriously? I understand he has an agenda that he’s pushing, but I don’t think insulting the intelligence of your readers is a very effective means of doing that. “Not true. In fact, Europe and the United States still act as the twin turbines of the global economy, accounting for 60 percent of all trade and investment flows.” The operative word here is ‘still’. “But that doesn't mean that Europeans want a return to the kumbaya-ism and humility evinced by President Jimmy Carter and the early years of the Clinton administration, when the United States failed to lead in stopping genocide in the Balkans.” And why was it our responsibility to ‘lead’ Europe into the Balkans? Particularly since it was done without a UNSC seal of approval, therefore making it an illegal war (something the European left was oddly silent about). If Europe has become so moribund that it cannot act on its own initiative, even when it is in Europe’s own interest, then it should be left to its fate.

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options