:: Friday, 18 April 2003 ::
A big piece in the Fin Review, this time actually about anti-Americanism. Except, like many attempts at analysis, it is just an excuse to get a screed in - against the Yanks, natch.
This is the opening.
Americans wanting to understand how they appear to the world today should consider the sport-utility vehicle. Oversized and overweight, the SUV disdains agreements to restrict atmospheric pollution. It consumes inordinate quantities of scarce resources to furnish its privileged inhabitants with supererogatory services. It exposes outsiders to deadly risk in order to provide for the illusory security of its occupants. In a crowded world, the SUV appears as a dangerous anachronism. Like US foreign policy, the SUV comes packaged in sonorous mission statements; but underneath it is just an oversized pickup truck with too much power.
The simile may be modern, but the idea behind it is not. "America" has been an object of foreign suspicion for even longer than it has been a beacon and haven for the world's poor and downtrodden. Eighteenth-century commentators .......
And it goes on, and it is worth a read. For sure. It is not all bad.
But the first paragraph and the first sentence of the second paragraph, the whole opening, therefore, is a crock of shit, empty-headed gratuitous slag of America. And if it had not appeared, the article would be an excellent example of criticism of the US that does not warrant the label 'anti-American'. But instead the piece is marred by that opening.
SUV's as metaphor for a country with a gigantic Mexican population. O yeah. That metaphor really fits.
And then nestled in the middle of this piece we get this corker:
In the early years of the Cold War anti-American demonstrations in Europe took their cue from Soviet-financed "peace movements", but the political and economic elites were firmly in the American camp. Today, no-one is manipulating mass anti-war protests and West European leaders are breaking with America on a major international issue. The US has been forced to bribe and threaten in unprecedented public ways, with embarassingly limited success.
I imagine the International Socialists and the Greens would be a bit pissed off to hear their efforts given absolutely no recognition. And bribery? Get far away tha Americans are the only ones engaged ina bit of offering stuff to get a vote their way. You think the French too upstanding to stoop to this? Their bribes just worked better. That and the anti-Americanism they were peddling.
See what I mean? Stupid, clumsy anti-Americanism. Sigh.
And before the simpletons fill my email box with slurs of 'anti-French' at me, I will educate them: Firstly, G'uh. I am Italian. Secondly, I will point out that French diplomacy is not something about which France should be particularly proud. It has resulted in France cosying up to a bunch of Arab despots.
Not something you can say of the Italians.
Or the Spaniards.
Or the Portuguese.
Or the Australians.
Sure, those some of those guys left ruin in colonies and other lousy things, but they have not done not the cosying up to dictators thing. For that there is only the French. And the Americans and the Russian of course.
Love the cheese, the women, and the Peugot cars. Do not think much of Messieurs de Villepin, D'Estaigne and Chirac.
Being anti-French is as ridicolo as being anti-American.
UPDATE: Check out this blog - EuroPundits, on the topic of Anti-Americanism (scroll down to the piece titled "The Mistake"). This is interesting analysis from folks on the ground in Europe, and particularly France.
:: WB 12:32 am [link+] ::