Some Kuwaitis, the Ardor for America Cools." So ran the headline, in the
Times, where else? Then ensued a long and rather boring piece listing
the grievances of various Kuwaitis, all of whom condemned America for bombing
Muslims. Needless to say, Osama bin Laden is a hero to those interviewed, none
of whom were wild-eyed fanatics, but well-to-do middle-class merchants. So who
gives a flying f–? is my reaction. If the Times wants to waste good
trees printing what some brainwashed towelhead merchant has to say, I guess
it’s their business, just as it is my business to ignore such nonsense.
The nature of anti-Americanism is very simple: in the Middle East it has to
do with our support of Israel, first and foremost. There are no ifs or buts
about this. I have traveled extensively around the area since the 60s, and have
yet to meet an Arab who does not believe that were it not for American aid and
support, Israel would not be kicking Palestinians around. Some, of course, are
diplomatic about it, lest they give offense, whereas others are prone to spluttering
and swearing when the name of Israel is mentioned.
not the anti-Americanism of the Arabs that I want to touch upon–that is
a given–but that of Europe. Europe was once the center of the world and
deeply resents its displacement by the USA. Embarrassed at its own history of
colonialism and empires, it accuses America of economic and cultural imperialism.
Europe’s chattering classes continually claim that Uncle Sam imposes his
own values through Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike. In return, Europeans
seek moral superiority by redefining imperialism and human rights. Imperialism
no longer means direct rule of other nations, such as England over India, or
Belgium over the Congo, but means the adoption of nonnative cultural values
and symbols. (For example, in England, as in the U.S., Muslims are given time
to pray during their work or in schools, whereas Christians are not permitted
this luxury.) And human rights no longer mean life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness as in the American Declaration of Independence, but are extended
to banning the death penalty and to providing welfare rights as in Europe. This
is the crux of anti-Americanism in Europe, and again, there are no ifs or buts
the time last year when America was ousted by the UN Human Rights Committee
while Libya and Sudan were admitted? This was the work of European leaders,
not of the Third World. European leaders are convinced of their desire to build
a European Union as a force against a too-powerful America. The trouble is America
is truly a free country. The U.S. has economic and cultural influence because
it stands for freedom and choice. However hard Europe tries, people throughout
the world know that European imperialism was based on force, not consent. How
many Marines have we sent over to force Vietnamese to wear Nikes?
elite in Europe, in close touch with their counterparts over here, see Americans
as vulgar, uncouth, ill-educated, religious and patriotic, the last two anathema
to the chattering classes. French intellectuals during the Cold War often repeated
the phrase that they would accept wearing the cap of the Red Army rather than
eat American hamburgers in the Champs Elysees. They could not distinguish between
military invasion and commercial choice. An English writer, A.N. Wilson, wrote
that it was hard to distinguish between the brutal rape of German women by the
Red Army in 1945 and the enormous escalation of VD in Europe after the American
soldiers arrived. Wilson obviously has problems distinguishing between rape
and consent. The Independent declared that Americans would like public
executions so they could laugh, drink beer and cheer. "Then the United
States would be revealed in its true colours."
Reagan described the Soviet Union as the evil empire, European leaders were
appalled. They condemned Reagan’s rhetoric as provocative, rude and lacking
diplomacy. Although George W. Bush has had an easier ride from European government
leaders after using the language of evil to describe the terrorists, the European
chattering classes have really gone after him for his lack of moral relativism.
And so it goes. When the U.S. fails to speak with one voice because of its separation
of powers, Europeans see it as a sign of confusion and naivete. In Europe foreign
policy is exclusively conducted by the executive, in secret, and advised by
an old-boys elite. There are no checks and balances whatsoever.
in my own country, Greece, some 40,000 attending a football match cheered for
Osama bin Laden when asked to respect one minute of silence for the WTC dead.
Greece was saved from going under the Iron Curtain by the Truman Doctrine, and
benefited greatly by the Marshall Plan. But 30 years of anti-Americanism by
the country’s intelligentsia and media elite–not to mention the great
U.S. haters, the Socialists–have poisoned Greek minds against Uncle Sam
for–I’m afraid–a very long time.