Tuesday, March 11, 2003
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A SANE ANALYSIS OF TRANSATLANTIC
A SANE ANALYSIS OF TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS: Seth Green has an hopeful essay on the distinction between mainstream and extreme viewpoints in Europe. The highlights:
"I am convinced that anti-Americanism is not nearly as prevalent in Europe as media accounts suggest. Generally speaking, I have been overwhelmed by the friendship of my European peers -- from their outpouring of compassion when I came here just after the September 11 attacks to their concern for my safety now. It is true that a distinct, and unfortunately visible, minority do virulently hate us -- but they are the headline-hogging exception, not the rule. Indeed, the vast majority of Europeans continue to embrace American ideas, American culture and American people.
That is why I am troubled by the recent tendency to lump together all Europeans who oppose any facet of U.S. foreign policy under the one-size-fits-all banner of "anti-Americanism." No doubt there are extremists -- and drunkards -- here who deserve the label. Yet they are the very reason that we must use the term sparingly. When we see all Europeans -- from those who reasonably disagree with us to those who senselessly hate us -- as part of the same phenomenon, we blur the critical distinction between Europe's mainstream and its fringe.
Mainstream Europe shares American values. In the aftermath of September 11, Europeans overwhelmingly supported our common war on terrorism. Today, most Europeans still agree with our campaign to end terrorism and promote world security. Eighty-five percent of Brits, 67 percent of French and 82 percent of Germans believe that Saddam Hussein is a dangerous threat, and majorities in each of these countries support removing him. While many moderate Europeans are against war in Iraq under the current conditions -- primarily because they want more time for inspections -- they fundamentally share our principles.
By contrast, European extremists resent the United States and our beliefs. To extremists, every American icon -- from Starbucks to Britney Spears -- represents a form of American imperialism. And no matter what we achieve, whether in Kosovo or Afghanistan, they fault us. They call Americans bullies even as they seek to bully us. They call the United States a terrorist state even as they romanticize true terrorists."
Green glosses over the division on Iraq to suit his argument, but his point is worth remembering. Give it a read.posted by Dan on 03.11.03 at 10:40 AM