Anti Anti-Americanism

By Hanson, Victor Davis | The American Enterprise, June 2005 | Go to article overview

Anti Anti-Americanism


Hanson, Victor Davis, The American Enterprise


An entire industry has arisen to account for the recent anti-Americanism. In the case of the Europeans, the end of the Cold War lessened the need for subsidized American protection, emboldening them to caricature Americans as fat and materialistic.

Did envy arise because the world's sole superpower ignored weaker Europeans' efforts to tie up the U.S. with multilateral strings? Did the Cold War make us forget that we were always different peoples--Americans the freer, richer, more religious, fertile, and optimistic? Perhaps George W. Bush--drawling, Christian, and Texan--earned us their fury, so unlike French-speaking John Kerry or obsequious Bill Clinton?

The Middle East was spoon-fed this European anti-Americanism. Twenty-one autocratic governments also deflected popular outrage onto us through state-run media. The bogeymen Israel and America were responsible for everything from stealing oil, even when it was sold to us at sky-high prices, to killing a few hundred Palestinian terrorists, when hundreds of thousands of Arab civilians were butchered by the Husseins and Assads.

But mostly anti-Americanism was a boutique enterprise, revealed as such when the U.S. was the most desirable destination of the world's migrating poor and its popular culture had swept the globe. It is always surreal to read Mexico City elites slurring the United States as millions of illegal aliens risk their lives to cross our borders and escape the corruption and racism of their home country.

Things are changing, however, both here and abroad. Thousands of American troops have left Europe. Its denizens now sense that the American people no longer wish to subsidize their defense only to earn ingratitude. The E.U. dream of heaven on earth may be mired in high taxes, low growth, high unemployment, and demographic and entitlement time bombs--not the sort of platform from which to hector a supposedly sinking U.S.

Things are even more evolutionary in the Middle East. Dissidents in Egypt or Beirut are not singing the praises of the E.U. or U.N. Nor are the new democrats in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is still too early to appreciate much of this shifting, but historical forces are now in play which are not conducive to vaunted European "soft power," so often a mask for crass profiteering. …

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