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Transatlantic Obsessions

Europeans and Americans should mind their own business. That's the main thesis of watchblogs for Anti-Americanism and French-bashing.
Blogs like Davids Medienkritik complain that the German media is obsessed with America's real and imagined wrongdoings, while blogs like SuperFrenchie complain about the American media's obsession with France's domestic politics. So, I guess, it is time to acknowledge that both Europeans and Americans have their obsessions about their distant relatives on the other side of the Atlantic. Prejudices and unfair reporting is not unique to one side, as some people sometimes seem to claim. It is not rocket science to come to this conclusion, but I guess it serves as a good reminder.
Still, it remains weird and unfortunate that the German media is soo obsessed with the United States and that the US media is soo obsessed with France. Both country's media outlets would do good to reduce the obsessions on some silly topics and cover more important issues like poverty in our own countries and around the world, wars and conflicts in Africa, how to increase energy efficiency etc.

Two relevant quotes from the watchblogs: Flocon asks in SuperFrenchie: "Will you please mind your own business?"
The recent presidential elections in France have been a renewed opportunity for most of the American MSM to display a permanent feature that is to be found in many articles reporting on our country: an obsession which translates into an incessant set of criticisms about how France is run, particularly its economy. Above all, the 35-hour workweek, the 5-week paid vacation and the free and high-quality healthcare and educational systems seem to be particularly unbearable to those many journalists, columnists and reporters who also seem to have trouble understanding why the labor market is regulated, why workers are entitled to social rights and protections, and even sometimes are allowed to go on strike.
Likewise, Ray D. has listed some "Pet issues common in German media coverage of the United States" in Davids Medienkritik:
# Perceived American religiosity.
# Perceived American obsession with guns and violence.
# The death penalty.
# The perceived excess and superficiality of American capitalism and (non)culture (i.e. fat people, the super rich, SUVs, fast-food, M-TV/hip-hop culture, Hollywood, corporate scandals, buy-outs and "excessive" profits.)
# Perceived social inequality in the United States (i.e. amerikanische Verhaeltnisse, poor Americans are starving and freezing to death or at least struggling with 2-3 jobs and no health insurance while the rich live it up. Perception that America has no social safety net or a woefully inadequate social safety net.)
# Perceived American unilateralism/exceptionalism (i.e. Iraq, Kyoto, ICC, Guantanamo)
# Perceived American "hurrah" patriotism or "hyper" patriotism (i.e. flag-waving).
# Perceived American paranoia/overreaction about terror and obsession with security and the "war" on terror and the perceived willingness of Americans to sacrifice key civil liberties (the Patriot Act has become a favored target) and take extrajudicial actions involving torture, renditions, etc.
# The perception that the Bush administration controls (or at least dominates) the media and can somehow intimidate media into following the party line. The perceived view that there is a lack of diversity of opinion in US media and that FoxNews, talk radio and blogs are the menacing conservative vanguard of what all US media are becoming or have already become. (i.e. US media are "gleichgeschaltet" or in lock-step.)
# Anything that casts a negative light on the US military (i.e. Abu Ghraib, trials of US troops, bombings or killings of civilians real or imagined).
# Anything that casts a negative light on the Bush administration.
# Iraq is a disaster-quagmire-catastrophe-debacle perhaps unparalleled in human history. Iraq = Vietnam = defeat and humiliation for America, the US military and Bush.
# The perception of the US as an imperial hegemon out to expand its global power and military-industrial complex while using democracy as a convenient (yet false) excuse to do so. Oil = blood = Halliburton = war.
I do not fully understand the irrational obsessions with the US and France. I sort of know why it is popular, but I do not fully understand the feelings.
Besides, I also do not fully understand why soo many Americans and French are interested in reading about the latest Anti-American headline or the latest French-bashing comment every single day. No, I am not envious of the huge readership of Medienkritik and SuperFrenchie, but I simply fail to fully understand the huge interest into such single topics. Anti-Americanism and French bashing are pretty boring to me: The same magazines and the same politicians make the same stupid statements. Why do I want to read about (more or less) the same stuff every single day?

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Flocon on :

Since you're kind enough to quote me I guess I have to answer... I probably wasn't clear enough in the post you refer to but my point wasn't to suggest American MSM is too obsessed with France (that's fine with me) but that its prozelytising spin is really condescending and smacks of imperialism. Being interested in each other's cultures and habits is all very fine and even laudable if it permits a better understanding between two countries. In this regard, more coverage of Germany by the French media would be very much commandable in my opinion. But I doubt the Germans would appreciate the French media telling them again and again how they should behave and run their economy, among others things. That's precisely what American media keeps on doing with France: adopt the American model, like it or not! That was the main point of "Will you please mind your own business". Now, being interested in one's neighbour civilisation doesn't prevent from dealing with the topics you mentioned (environment, poverty etc.). I fail to see these issues not being talked about in the French media... Once again, thanks for your interest... Flocon

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks, Flocon, I got your point. I did not criticize the French media. I don't know enough about it. My criticism was only aimed at the US media obsession with France and the German media obsession with the US. I understand that your criticism goes further than "obsession which translates into an incessant set of criticisms about how France is run" and includes "May I suggest that what we’re witnessing here is a perfect demonstration of the basic nature of imperialism." I would not go as far and suggest imperialism. Likewise, I don't think that the Anti-American articles in some German media outlets indicate hatred of the US. I rather think many Americans and Germans just have this silly and irrational obsession.

marteenm on :

It is so frustrating when someone puts too much emphasis on relativism. Just because American-bashing and French-bashing are seen on both sides of the Atlantic, does not mean that they are equal (or remotely so). As an American, I pay far more attention to the happenings in Europe than the average American (it is partly due to my job). And I can tell you that there is no obsession (none whatsoever) with France. (Note: By obsession I mean regular [daily or weekly] reports on negative occurrences in Europe in the national media). Take two huge incidents as examples: The '03 heat wave and the '05 riots in France. Both got minor play in the media for roughly 3-weeks in the US media. Then, after it was well established that these were indeed news worthy stories, did the US media play them up. And yes, there was some criticism and schadenfreude in the US coverage. But to compare that coverage with the French and German media coverage of US happenings like Katrina, LA riots, and Abu Grab (to name only a few) is at best ignorant and at worst disingenuous. Ray, in the pervious post, points out that to compare minor blogs (minor in terms of readership) like Medienkritik to major news publications like SPIEGEL, STERN, SZ, or Le Monde is a prime example of not being able to see the stark difference in the scale of criticism.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Ray, in the pervious post, points out that to compare minor blogs (minor in terms of readership) like Medienkritik to major news publications like SPIEGEL, STERN, SZ, or Le Monde is a prime example of not being able to see the stark difference in the scale of criticism" Where did I make such a comparison? You are reading too much into it. I also did not claim that the German media's obsession with the US is as big as the US obsession with France. I just called both an obsession and refered to watchblogs. Besides, if you want to compare both, you would need to take into consideration that the US is a much bigger country than France and much more active in international politics. US policy affects Germany more than French politics affect the US, therefore it is natural that the German media writes more about the US than the US media writes about France. If you want to discuss the German and French coverage of Katrina, then you might want to discuss the US media's obsession with those burning cars in France 1,5 years ago.

Anonymous on :

>Where did I make such a comparison? You are correct. Maybe I am reading too much in to it. I apologize. I was reading between the lines and assumed too much. In my defense, I do come across the "you do it and I do it so let's call it even" attitude quite a bit when discussing this issue so I may see it where it does not exist.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Yes, this attitude is quite common. Perhaps I should have take that into consideration and stated very clearly and explicitely that I am not calling it even.

Don S on :

I don't agree that US media is obsessed with France unless one count Non Parasan as 'US media'. Some americans are but that is sooooo 2003. The French elections have sparked interest in French news in the US but that is only natural. I imagine there was a fair bit of coverage in France about the US elections in 2004 and last year, no?

alec on :

I'll throw in my reason: a lot of poorly informed people, journalists included, think that there's a lot to the French/American dichotomy. I.e. the people (philosophical cheese eating surrendeer monkeys vs hyper-capitalist/consumerist naive bible thumpers), the history, the philosophy, the politics, et. al.

Mary Ellen on :

Flocon asks in SuperFrenchie: "Will you please mind your own business?" If you've ever read half of the things that come from Flocon, they are almost always American bashing. I can't tell you how many times I've seen him write how Americans are clueless about the rest of the world and how we don't listen to the news from France or Europe, only American. Then, with the US shows and interest in the French elections, he says "Mind your own business". So, which is it? Are we not allowed to criticize what happens in France, yet they are allowed to tell us that we should do as France with our gun laws, and do as France with our healthcare, and do as France with our Education, etc. etc. Flocon just likes to belly ache about the US and will bash at every opportunity. He has the perfect venue to do so on SuperFrenchie.com.

Flocon on :

Hmmm... the welcome committee has come before I return... For a taste of Flocon's purported anti-Americanism (whatever that may mean) see here: [url]http://superfrenchie.com/?p=900[/url] Real hard anti-Americanism isn't it? Curiously enough Mary Ellen didn't take part to the ensuing conversation... Now, she's done her act and gave evidence once more how impossible any serious exchange is with her. The post that is refered to has been all about the proclivity of American media to tell the French how they should run their country. It's not about legitimate criticism of France but about the need of American MSM to tell the French how they'd be better off should they behave like Americans. Now, I've already answer to someone at SF's who made the same simplistic and unthought remark that the French supposedly keep on telling Americans what they should do about arms control, death penalty or health care system. The French or German or world media don't give any such advice, they just report. Mary Ellen could confirm if only she could read French or German. But she can't... Now, when you need someone who can read more than there is in any given piece of paper anybody may write, just ask Mary Ellen. She's a real pro at distording anybody's word.

Mary Ellen on :

Now, now, Flocon, don't get yourself all in a tizzy. I know how sensitive you are to being called anti-American, even when you prove my statement correct in almost every post that you write. You are correct, I don't read French or German so it isn't easy to find out the pulse of what ALL French or Germans say. In fact, the majority of French and Germans that I have met have been very nice and not the least bit anti-American. My comment referred directly to you and your views. Of course, I don't have to show little snippets of your comments or posts. Anyone can go over there to look. Now relax and enjoy your blogging day. You've already made mine!Thanks for the response to my comment! :-D

RayD on :

Hi Joerg, You wrote: "Besides, I also do not fully understand why soo many Americans and French are interested in reading about the latest Anti-American headline or the latest French-bashing comment every single day. No, I am not envious of the huge readership of Medienkritik and SuperFrenchie, but I simply fail to fully understand the huge interest into such single topics. Anti-Americanism and French bashing are pretty boring to me: The same magazines and the same politicians make the same stupid statements. Why do I want to read about (more or less) the same stuff every single day?" To respond to your comments: 1. We at Davids Medienkritik have a relatively small audience - and most of the audience consists of first time visitors - not repeat visitors. Further, 25-35% of our audience is not in the United States. That means that roughly 1,000 to 1,500 individuals in the United States visit our site each day (out of a total audience of 1,600 to 2,000) out of a total population of 300 million. In other words, a tiny fraction of the overall population. Think about this: Over its 4 year lifetime, Davids Medienkritik has had a little over 3 million individual daily visits - again 25 to 35% of those not from the United States - and many also repeat visitors. Compare that to the proportion and numbers of the German population that reads SPIEGEL, STERN, SZ or other America-hostile media each day. I would worry more about that honestly. 2. I would argue that the average American is far less aware of America-bashing in Germany or any other country than the average German is aware of (or participating in) the same phenomenon. If anything, Americans have too little overall understanding of what is going on in foreign media. To say they are "obsessed" with hearing about America bashing is simply inaccurate and insupportable by any factual analysis. 3. The bottom line: The America bashing taking place in German media and elsewhere is both real and harmful. It has a tangible impact on transatlantic relations on both a national and personal level. It is a problem that we should all understand and work to address. Until there is a broader acknowledgment of the problem, we at DMK will continue to blog about it. Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this. Ray

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for the response. Of course, Spiegel and Stern have more readers than Medienkritik, but they cover a variety of topics and do not critize America from the first to the last page. Besides, I did not mean to compare Spiegel's obsession with DMK's work on Anti-Americanism. "To say they are "obsessed" with hearing about America bashing is simply inaccurate and insupportable by any factual analysis." I disagree. Professors Katzenstein and Keohane wrote a book about Anti-Americanisms and stated: [quote="Katzenstein/Keohane"]"Perhaps the most puzzling thing about anti-Americanism is that we Americans seem to care so much about it." [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/468-Anti-Americanisms-in-World-Politics.html[/url] [/quote] Another example: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/668-Four-Myths-About-Transatlantic-Relations.html[/url] Besides, ever since 9/11 there has been a huge number of articles about "Why do they hate us?" Most MSM articles did not clearly define "they" and "hate"? If someone does not like US policies, then he might be considered to hate American citizens. If a foreigner disagrees with the statement "The United States is the best country in the universe" then he is considered to hate the United States. There seems to be a lot of narcissism. Example: Neil Ferguson's article "Why our enemies -- and friends -- hate us" [url]http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-oe-ferguson26feb26,1,1432880.column?coll=la-news-columns&ctrack=1&cset=true[/url] Unfortunately, the editors could not resist the sensationalist and stupid headline. This is sensationalist fear-mongering, because he does not write anything about hatred of Americans in his answer. He writes that one in two Iranians views the US "unfavorably", that many Jordanians, Saudis and Pakistanis have a "negative view of the US," and that Tony Blair and Romano Prodi have trouble supporting US policies. He does not write anything about hatred of Americans. Ferguson and quite a few American columnists and pundits seem to be very narcissistic, because they seem to believe that everybody, who does not adore US foreign policy and does not express love for Americans, must hate Americans. They see only two modes: 'You either love us or you hate us.' Of course, this is just a problem of pundits and the media. Ordinary Americans are not narcisstic and they don't ask stupid questions. They differentiate much more than the media and pundits. Last example is the "Blame America last argument": US politicians have noble intentions but these stupid Iraqis just don't appreciate the freedoms the US made possible: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/519-The-Blame-America-Last-Argument.html[/url]

bernarda on :

Speaking as an American, I find the "pet issues" in German media to be exactly right. They reflect the same opinions I have had since Herr Bush became head honcho. I refuse to call that crook and war criminal "president". Being anti-Bush, anti-neocon, anti-religious fascism is not being "anti-American". I consider it pro-American. Here is one example of what the dimwit American public gets from its "news" channels. In this case it is Mormon Glenn Beck on CNN, not even Fox. [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEeRY_07EzY&mode=related&search=[/url]

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Interesting video. Is Glenn Beck supposed to be a journalist or a comedian? I am German, i.e. I have trouble understanding humor. ;-)

mbast on :

Very interesting and relevant post, this, Joerg. I agree that the respective "bashing" of another nation, be it America, France or Germany seems to hold a rather morbid fascination for most people. In part I think it is due to extreme righteousness. The German term is "Rechthaberei", which as far as I'm concerned, hits the nail on the head. However, blogs like Superfrenchie or Medienkritik do have one advantage: they will usually force the reader to get informed (at least a little) about the country they want to bash, since bashing inevitably spawns counter-bashing. When a blog like Superfrenchie talks about Iraq (popular topic indeed) and how he Americans messed up and what they did wrong and so on and so forth, some American is sure to pop up who will try to defend the American take on the whole matter. If on an American blog somebody starts sounding off about the German economy being all socialist and liberal, some German will very probably leave a comment or two. And lo and behold, all of a sudden you've got a dialogue going on. The quality of this dialogue can differ widely, of course. Shouting matches with very little content and quite a bit of name-calling will unfortunately be the norm. But on a few blogs (this blog being one of them) some people will at least try to make a structured argument for one side or the other. Which implies you have to get informed on the issues, and by extension on the country and mores of your opponent. And what does information do? It kills prejudice. So all in all, even if it is at times boring and repetitive, this whole blog discussion thingie does have very beneficial side effects. You learn how an American, a Frenchman or a German thinks and acts. You also tend to learn quite a bit about [i]why[/i] the American, Frenchman or German in question thinks and acts the way he/she does. And that, in my opinion, is well worth having to put up with occasional name-calling and country-bashing. Actually, if it wasn't for the language barrier, my idea of a perfect political blog would be one where people of many nationalities would post, even at the cost of having to moderate a few shouting matches. A perfect example would be discussions about Iraq and Afghanistan: in the blogs I read, I only get the American, French and German take on things. Where are the Brits? Where are the comments by Iraqis and Afghans? What would a Russian or a Chinese have to say about the whole issue? The internet gives us a chance mankind didn't have in past history: direct global communication. IMO we don't appreciate how lucky we are to live in a day and age where such things are possible. And heck, let's admit it, the main reason we have political discussions on these blogs is 'cause they're actually [i]fun[/i] :-) .

David on :

@mbast, In theory you are right about blogs fostering dialogue. Unfortunately Medienkritik deletes and bans comments from anyone critical of President Bush and his disasterous war policies. That means that most Americans cannot comment on that blog - kind of ironic for a blog that promotes itself as "pro-American".

mbast on :

Well, if you don't like Medienkritik (I don't know that page too well, so I'll reserve judgment on it), there are plenty of other blogs to go around. Try Superfrenchie, try this blog, you've got an endless supply.

RayD on :

@ David, You write: "Unfortunately Medienkritik deletes and bans comments from anyone critical of President Bush and his disasterous war policies. That means that most Americans cannot comment on that blog - kind of ironic for a blog that promotes itself as "pro-American"." As with virtually everything you write about Davids Medienkritik - this statement is flat out wrong. We have never banned a comment simply because it is Bush-critical or anti-war. If you go through our comments, you will find numerous comments that criticize our blog, Bush, the war, etc. We only ban comments that are in clear violation of our clearly posted comments policy. In fact, we at Davids Medienkritik are critical of Bush on any number of issues. We simply refuse to engage in the completely mind-numbing vilification of anything associated with Mr. Bush as the German media (and your blog) so often does.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@mbast Great arguments. We are truly lucky and it is fun to have all these conversation. In Star Trek they have this unversial communicator, i.e. in a few years we don't have language barriers any more. Though, I got the impression that dialogue is often pretty one sided on many blogs. There are not that many Germans defending the German media on Medienkritik. And there are not many Americans on Superfrenchie, who disagree with the posts? That's my impression. Whenever someone comes up to counter the majority opinion on these blogs, then the majority goes after that person. There are not so many supporters of that person.

ms. miami on :

jw- regarding the majority/minority view issue, i think that the one-sidedness only occurs with particular topics on superfrenchie (sorry, i'm not yet familiar with medienkritik, but will check it out). furthermore, i would like to mention that those bloggers with 'minority' positions who manage to construct solid arguments and stay away from infantile insults are treated in kind as far as i've seen. one in particular (semperfidelis) converted very few to his views, but was a joy to read and a great debator. unfortunately, he hasn't been around in a few months, perhaps due to a particularly active period of the above-mentioned infantile remarks.

mbastian on :

In Star Trek they also have a global economy that runs without money. Now wouldn't that solve a few problems ;-). Plus they have Klingons, which have to be the coolest alien race ever imagined ;-). But I digress ... Even if dialogue is sometimes one-sided on some blogs, I found that on most political blogs whith a modicum of quality in their moderation there always tends to be at least one rather well-read dissenter who usually manages to make a pretty good argument, even if all the other posters on the blog rant against her/him. On Superfrenchie that would be Greg (hi Greg ;-)) or Semperfi (too bad he dissappeared), other blogs have other similar characters. Now as soon as somebody like that appears, you have to watch what you say, which in turn means you have to get informed. For me, a case like that was the discussion on respective healthcare systems in the US and France on Superfrenchie. I hadn't got the foggiest about either system at first (living in Germany), so that forced me to read up on them quite a bit. And now I can draw at least a crude comparison between the German, French and American system. Haven't read up on the Brits yet, though ;-).

Zyme on :

I never understood why there is no forum/blog which includes people interested in strategical politics from all continents. Is there such?

WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS on :

The American obsession with France and its post WWII 'anti-americanism' results largely from the WASP ascendancy prior to 1968, when American culture was formulated. From the 1870s economic boom until WW I, the ruling classes, including the upper middle class, were infatuated with French culture and language. Matriculating to Harvard during this period required a proficiency in Greek, Latin and French. The latent Republicanism of the Second Empire and second/third Republic allowed a degree of social mobility for Americans abroad that only the very rich could experience in the British Empire. As one of Saki's imperious Aunts noted: 'Brittany. All those Americans attempting to speak French, I hope they never try English'. During this period, we had Mary Cassatt, the lost Generation geniuses, the regiment LaFayette and more; in addition, the people of France reciprocated with the Statute of Liberty mostly paid for by private subscription. Or so the mythology goes. This Francophilia was transmitted by popular culture and high culture during this time period to the masses by mass communication. Kids in Kansas knew about the Can-can, burlesque and that an alternative existed four thousand miles away to the puritanical morality of small town USA. The Jewish community also has deep ties of affection for France. Saul Bellow loved Paris. Woody Allen lives in Paris. Hell, even Richard Perle has a house in France. Our Azkhenazi brethern have never really forgotten their ancestors' middle European dream to live like a God in France. History is a factor in this obsession. Arguably out of all the European states France has the least objective right to be displeased with America. We fought together in two World Wars. We never attempted to undermine their Empire, unlike our bankrupting the Brits. Against Churchill's advice, we demanded that France get a Security Council Set--thanks FDR. We ignored Algeria and helped supply the French in Indochina before going in ourselves. DeGaulle and France got a pass on meddling in Quebec, sabotaging NATO, nuking coral reefs in Polynesia into the 90s, etc. We havent even prosecuted BNP Paribas for its role as the central clearing bank in the Oil for Food scandal. We did screw them in the Suez crisis, okay granted. In toto however, the American public opinion has always been baffled by French obstructionism and their government's attitude. To recap then, the average American views France as reification of both the most attractive aspects of Continental culture and emblematic substitute for the remaining European countries. The cultural ties to the UK are strong, but of a practical nature. Britannia has Shakespeare, the Scottish Enlightenment and Blackstone. These influences are part of our common heritage and possess no mythic significance or attraction. Spain has always been considered a provincial, Catholic backwater, or as Husymans put it: Africa starts at the Pyrennes. Italy the same. Germany is confused with Bavaria and most Americans could not find the Czech Republic on a map if you paid them. France is the only European country which has a place in the American popular imagination, independent of politics, and it causes much consternation to many Americans that the French apparently dislike them considering our past largesse.

Anonymous on :

You can look at how President Bush interacts with the French language and how the Kerry campaign attempted to use it in 2004. Bush memorably snapped at an American reporter in Paris, I think, for asking a question in French to President Chirac. It made the Daily Show and other tv shows of similar type. They missed the point. It was not an attempt on Bush's part to punish and embarass some report to draw attention away from his own linguistic inaptitude, English included. It was a knee-jerk reaction to what seemed to him an attempt to portray him as WASP elite, not the brush-clearing, tobaccy-chewing dirt farmer from west Texas he wants to be. Mrs. Heinz Kerry tried to use French in the opening address to the Democratic Convention in 2004. She said 'welcome' in about 5 languages, which was and is a political act of unconscionable stupidity. The point she ham-handedly attempted to make was: 'look, I speak French, Portugeuse, Spanish and something something else. I am an aristocrat and my husband (SPS, Yale) is a cosmopolitan who will rule the country in a more nuanced and sophisticated fashion than this Andover, Yale wanna-be redneck.' The message resonated with the coasts, but didnt go-over too well in the Heartland. French is the only European language which is still used in class warfare in America.

antonymous on :

Another sorry article by pouting US-Americans who just don't want to understand. "Davids Medienkritik" is a marginal hateblog connected with some German neo-fascists. The political scene is quite varied there, and reporting on the US is pretty accurate. Germany is quite definitely the most pro-US country in Europe. "Anti-Americanism" is itself a propaganda term that originated in the McCarthy era. The willingness to take that seriously speaks volumes.

Pat Patterson on :

The term anti-american goes much further back in US history than the appearance of the Red Scares of the late 40's and early 50's. Both of the early Ameican parties reguarly inveighed against immigrants as not being capable of becoming true Americans, ie., the Germans after the Revolution, then the Irish in the 1840's and later up to WWI practically any immigrant group. To use the phrase anti-American meant that a person or a group refused to assimilate American values and acted contrary to what the majority expected of citizens. Its not a stretch to assume that, owing to the discovery of how successfully first the Nazis and then the Communists had posed as native American groups while representing hostile political philosophies, there were groups posing as Americans. But the first noted use of the phrase anti-American, was directed at Communists or its sympathizers, were in the radio broadcasts of Father Coughlin and Dr. Townsend before WWII. Now the European form of anti-Americanism, though not identified by that term goes back to before the US even existed. One of the earliest commentators, circa the mid-18th century, was Cornelius de Pauw who argued that these Americans were simply "degenerate", incapable of war or culture. As late as the period leading up to the Mexican -American War the Duke of Wellington could write that the Americans had no chance against the Mexicans because the Yankees were consumed by commerce and had neither the fortitude, the honor or the social organization to fight a war against anyone other than the "red Indian."

Nomad on :

my feelings, I recall that France never went at war agains America though, in the contrary. It's a kinda love/hate affair, each partner is spying the other: what he thinks, what he says, they fear a treason like an adultere ; in reality, we "love" Americans and they do too, we need just to adapt the dialogues

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