How American Is Europe?
June 14, 2003 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Joshka Fischer Said What? That The U.S. Needs Another Boston Tea Party? Hidden in the depths of this very interesting article by Timothy Garton-Ash, on Europe's misplaced anti-Americanism, is a very interesting revelation from Germany's Green Party-carrying Foreign Minister. To what extent are relations between the pro-American and the anti-American Europe and the United States - the so-called "Old and New Europe" - based on misperceptions? Is Europe, like the Middle East and, well, the whole wide world, too complex for the current U.S. administration to understand? Is it really possible for American foreign to swerve round France and Germany? [Fwiw, my two centimes is that it is.]
posted by MiguelCardoso (8 comments total)
American foreign policy, I meant to say.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:08 PM on June 14, 2003

"misplaced anti-americanism" ??

perhaps europe is just anti-george bush and for good reason.
posted by specialk420 at 1:31 PM on June 14, 2003

N.B.: I think the utter disdain with which the French and German (to a lesser degree), other western European powers and even England address America can be summed up in the following press release, today:

"Giscard hailed as the Socrates of new Europe"

Socrates? Don't they mean James Madison, the "Father of the (US) Constitution"?

Maybe they don't feel that Valery Giscard d'Estaing comes up to James Madison's level, at least insofar as his embrace of Federalism.

Or perhaps because he sided with Napoleon Bonaparte, and eventually declared war against Britain?

Well, maybe they could embrace John Locke, instead.

Hmmm. I don't think they would prefer to do that, either.
Might get people to thinking bad democratic republic thoughts.
posted by kablam at 3:17 PM on June 14, 2003

I read somthing today by William Gibson in Wired that made me realize why Europe is misplaced in attacking the USA.

Europe is attacking the USA because it sees the USA as the world order and when it goes to war it scares everyone. The scary thing is however, the USA is not the world order. Nor is the UN. Nor NATO. Nor the EU. In fact, there is no world order. One day everyone will wake up to this fact and the sh*t will hit the fan.
posted by stbalbach at 8:27 PM on June 14, 2003

What would Europe do with more power? Or put it another way, how does the "European" mission differ from that of the United States. The US mission is, I believe, fairly well understood throughout the world, even if it is not universally liked. If the roles were reversed and Europe, not the US were the hegemon, what would change?

I don't know the answer to this. At a guess we would see an imposed settlement in Palestine and a wave of initally benevolent neo-colonialism in Africa. Would we see free trade, or democracy? The signs are not encouraging.

The European vision as understood in the UK is about a cozy, peaceful, protected, regulated life. Many here have doubts about the wisdom of this vision. Many also find European institutions suspect, cluttered with unelected graduates of the ENA or equivalent, unaccountable, undemocratic, riddled with fraud and driven by incomprehensible ideologies. Hence the suspicion. What does Europe want power for?

That power is available, but it will require some hard choices, Europe must start paying for its own defence for a start. At the moment there is no sign that Europe wishes to do this, preferring to live, lazy and comfortable, under the shadow of the US.

BTW It's nice to see the New Statesman give something away on the Web - it's a shame that its voice is behind a subscription wall while other journals like the Spectator are free.
posted by grahamwell at 4:34 AM on June 15, 2003

Miguel, I know you've had your head up the ass of America, but really. "Europe's misplaced anti-Americanism"? There are many of us in Europe who would normally think of ourselves as pro-American. We have the same ideals of freedom and democracy. Yet since the end of the Cold War, and particularly in the last few years, America has apparently turned away from it's original aims and aspirations. It appears to have imperial ambitions. It is riding roughshod over international opinion. It is damaging international institutions. It appears to have no understanding of the complexity of the world outside it's borders, whether in Europe or the Middle East. Worst of all, it appears to believe that it has a God-given right to do whatever the hell it wants.

I would dearly love to count myself as pro-American. And yet today, I see America as led by a semi-literate moron, advised by a bunch of xenophobic, right-wing idealogues, in thrall to corporate interests. Partly, I also have to blame the American public for allowing such a situation to develop.

The world would be a safer place if there was another economic block capable of keeping America in check. I don't know if it will happen, or if it does, whether the EU or China will fit that role. But I do believe that I can currently no longer consider America as the good guys.
posted by salmacis at 7:20 AM on June 15, 2003

on Europe's misplaced anti-Americanism

if by "misplaced" you mean "having a problem with America as a whole instead of having a problem just with its present government's foreign policy" you are of course right, it seems pretty childish to blame the White House's actions on regular Americans, or using politics to attack America in toto.

but, as salmacis pointed out, the "I'll do what I want and if you don't like that, fuck you, you terrorist-loving wimp, I'll see you in the parking lot and kick your queer ass" attitude is not the perfect way for the US government to find new friends abroad. neither in Europe nor in the Middle East (we won't mention Central and South America where the gringos have had some long-standing popularity problems)
posted by matteo at 11:58 AM on June 15, 2003

president dean and vice president clark(who looked sharp on russert this morning) will go along way in improving americas image abroad.
posted by specialk420 at 2:36 PM on June 15, 2003

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