A new round in transatlantic bashing: Denis, a French expat in the US, writes in SuperFrenchie:
Denis' "bashing back" is mild compared to Foreign Policy magazine's article "Europe's Philosophy of Failure." The introduction reads:
They may call each others moonbats and wingnuts, but whether they're sporting long hair or military haircuts, Americans by and large all agree on this: America is the greatest country in the world, the American way of doing things is the only possible one, and everybody supports the troops. They learn that in schools from the earliest age, along with the fact that everything else (and everywhere else) is, by definition, flawed. And that's if they're taught anything about other places at all. History of the world in high school, for example, is a 2-semester optional course! Geography manuals do not exist. Innocent until proven guilty, to them, is a uniquely American concept.
So when I read in Foreign Policy magazine that "millions of children are being raised on prejudice and disinformation," I felt some optimism. Finally, I thought, someone is going to tackle the problem of bias and lack of openness to the world in American schools. Oops! They were talking about France and Germany.
In France and Germany, students are being forced to undergo a dangerous indoctrination. Taught that economic principles such as capitalism, free markets, and entrepreneurship are savage, unhealthy, and immoral, these children are raised on a diet of prejudice and bias. Rooting it out may determine whether Europe's economies prosper or continue to be left behind.
Yes, the author is German. Stefan Theil is Newsweek's European economics editor and completed his research of American, French, and German textbooks and curricula while a trans-Atlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Headlines and introductions, however, are usually written by the editorial team. Besides, the article was commissioned by a US publication. Foreign Policy magazine has not commissioned an article from SuperFrenchie...
So, I am with Denis and his headline: "Would someone please give a mirror to Foreign Policy magazine?"
Regarding: looking in the mirror: I know today's US textbooks are different from this US Cold War cartoon from 1949: "Meet King Joe" is funny and educational:
American labor, management and capital -- the greatest production team in the history of mankind -- have made the United States the industrial master of the world.
Transatlantic relations would be better, if US and European magazines and textbooks would give more room to views popular on the other side of the Atlantic.
Just like Foreign Policy magazine (a reputable think tank publication) appears to be keen on bashing "Europe's Philosophy of Failure," the German weekly Spiegel (less reputable, but probably more widely read) tries to hype any real or imagined US failure, see for instance Davids Medienkritik's post "Unemployment: Kannapolis Instead of Chemnitz."
And what is the balanced and extremely humble publication that refrains from sensationalism and covers both sides of the story to promote mutual understanding? Atlantic Review, of course. ;-) Totally humble. See for instance these posts on economic policy:
Related post on history textbooks: Failure of Education: Franco-German reconciliation with Anti-Americanism