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----- but one thing I just can't get over is your (the American's) total lack of self-analysis or self-criticism.---

hehehehehehehehe - We're the most navel-gazing, self-analyzing nation in the world. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, that was a good one. Unless you mean WWIV, which we're in. We have learned the lessons of WWII, we just learned different lessons. We will and have made some mistakes, but again, we're in a 9/11 world, not 9/10.

Have you ever considered that that IS what we do? And because we're so vocal about it, you pick up on it? Geez, Klaus, we have animal psychiatrists, for Pete's sake.

Or maybe you're projecting??????

I don't want this to come out the wrong way, but it will, but I have to write it.

And I'm sorry, but this goes back to a previous post as to German risk-taking. They took a tremendous risk about 60 years ago. Unfortunately, it didn't work out the way they planned.

I was going to say that maybe if Germany took a business risk instead of the other way, but then I thought maybe it was business. I'm thinking wayyy too hard.

Klaus, what happens if W's re-elected? Even 53-47%? Would Europe start reflecting that maybe the US understands or sees something they don't? Would they reach out and try to understand US? Don't forget, you have 1000 years of history we can refer to and see patterns in your behavior, and somewhat understand why you do act/think the way you do. We're a work in progress and what we do actually does make sense to us. You have no reference, we're completely different than anything you've ever come up against. And whatever we build up, we tear down and start again.

miraculix is that you? Let us stipulate that anti-americanism is irrational. Nor would I view honorable disagreement about the war anti-american. The problem arises when it reaches the proportion of propaganda for the sole purpose of brainwashing. I do not exaggerate. Here is the link to another thread on this blog about the children's radio show, LILIPUZ, where children are told that the U.S. is beating and torturing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2003/10/antiamerikanisi.html

This is hate speech, pure and simple.

Honorable, true criticism is necessary. But lies serve a purpose, and that purpose is to make America the source of all misery, the perpetrator of all injustice. And. it. is. bullshit.

In pragmatic terms, if the ordinary European believes this nonsense, the ordinary European then wants nothing so much as the failure of the United States, in ANY of its endeavors. How can this possibly contribute to our national security, and more importantly, how could it contribute to yours? Because you CAN'T take care of your own, we've had to do it for 50 years.

Regarding flags and anthems: I can't remember verbatim, so I'll paraphrase as well as I can.

Hannah Arendt wrote that she was never a religiously observant Jew. She grew up considering herself a German, who happened to have a Jewish background. But when the Nazis arrived, she realized something. "If you attack me AS A JEW, I will respond AS A JEW."

And don't think that many of us are not fully aware that we, as Americans, are the New Jews of Europe.

Note to other posters: Do. not. piss. off. Sandy P. Yikes!

I've read the thread in one go, many thanks to all the people who have contributed to it, a good and sane dicussion and a pleasure to read.

One more thought before I go meet the schoolbus--what I am reading here from Europeans appears to be that anti-Americanism has little to do with anyONE (i.e. Bush) or any EVENT (the current war, the rejection of Kyoto--you name it) but is a long-term systemic process. If this is true, then Americans are misreading Europeans, for most of my friends and family are convinced that if we replace Bush with a Democrat this year, all will be well. My own sense (and it is echoed by many posters) is that this is not the case.

Now, what do you suppose will happen when (perhaps a few months after the election) our new president does something that ticks off the Europeans? That is when the shit will REALLY hit the fan.

Very interesting topic.

I lived in Germany for 3 years as a military wife and I loved it..I consider it the best 3 years of my husbands military career (though Colorado was a close second).

Maybe what I found about Germany that made it so likable was...it was so much like America, without the castles of course.

I made a very good German friend, the wife of an American soldier and she liked to drink very much. When she drank she was perhaps more open than she otherwise would have been. I'll never forget sitting outside with her not long after we met and she stated that Hitler had some good ideas. I was shocked, but it began one of many debate sessions between us. It was fun, especially since most wives weren't interested in talking politics or history.

It was only after 9-11 that something changed between us. Before we could talk on the phone for hours debating politics and talking about our families. We lived in different states by than.

After 9-11 I couldn't stand to listen to her anti-Americanism although her ambition had always been to move to America which she achieved, everything German was better, especially the "benifits" she'd received as a German citizen, but lost when she moved. After a screaming session over the envasion of Afghanastan I swore off talking politics with her. She and her family visited over thanksgiving, but things aren't the same between us.

miraculix, when someone tells you he intends to kill you, believe him. THE Lesson of WWII. We ignored it for 25 years, even more, if you want to count the 1973 assassination of our diplomat and the Paleo thug giving the go-ahead. A lot of us got it on 9/11. Even go back to 1972 and the Munich Olympics.

Sometimes the world is really simple. And sometimes one has to take complex problems and break them down into manageable and possibly more simplistic components to be able to solve them. If every problem is complex, nothing will ever get done because no one wants to tackle it.

And to whoever wrote this, "If you can provide me some clear and materialistic reasons for this war from an european perspective you might convince me that the war is good. but no clash of civilization stuff. i do not buy this stuff.--

And there's the rub, you and others don't buy it.

We are in a war for Western Civ which is caught up in their reformation. Christianity started reformation about 1500 years after, and they're at that point. That's it in a nutshell. Why do you think they're going after the country which personifies it? By getting rid of US, they don't have to deal w/it. Which European country/countries will pick up the standard and defend it when we're gone?

Read rantburg.com, The Command Post, Belmont Club, Strategy Page. Oh, and USS Clueless for one of thousands of American perspectives.

And I'm sure others would be delighted to provide other sites. They spew the same message from SA, Iran, London, France, Germany, Malaysia.

Did you know the islamofascists are targeting/killing buddhists in Thailand because they're infidels? That's a piece of last week's news. Were you paying attention?

And maybe that's part of being an "arrogant American," (I also write w/smile) we think we can solve almost anything.

We don't know if we can't if we don't try and learn from our mistakes.

"Because the premise here is "Gemeinschaft" -- unity, not "individualism". Individualism, be it of the monarchist, fascist or communist kind, as we all know, has inevitably lead to disaster in Europe."

I get so tired of hearing this. It is not individualism that has led to disaster in Europe. It is collectivism. It is the people unthinkingly following their leaders that has created its greatest crimes. If you cannot recognize that fascism, monarchy and communism are collectivist, not individualist, because they require mass movements to back them up, you have not learned much from your history. If every German had been an individual, every German would not have acquiesced to Hitler the way they did.

Thank you N. Klaric.

I'd like to pose a question for the Europeans here. Why do I not see, in any of your media, a repudiation of, or even a challange to, this repugnant, hateful "Bush=Hitler" conflation?

Why?

miraculix--

where are you from?

My $0.02 on this discussion: much of the transatlantic sniping is largely beside the point, which is that we are now living in the Asian Century.

The fall of the Berlin Wall signified not Europe's rise but its eclipse. Germany is no longer a frontline state. Europe's now on the periphery, not at the center, of world events and is of secondary relevance to these crucial strategic issues that will dominate our era and that are centered on actors located in the near and far east:

1) the rise of islamist totalitarianism;

2) the globalization of terror;

3) the spread of WMD among rogue states across the near and far east;

4) the shift of most of the world's manufacturing and, eventually, software development and pharmaceutical research, to Asia;

5) the steady decrease in Europe's population in absolute terms and the rapid shrinking of Europe's population as a % of world population.

Most Europeans are blinded to these facts by their own success at building a liberal, very prosperous (for the most part--ignore the Balkans) peaceful order in their corner of the world. I doubt that more than a handful of Europeans are even aware that China will surpass the UK in economic output in another year or two and Germany a few years after that, or that India probably has as many highly-skilled programmers, financial analysts, doctors etc as the entire EU.

As to Euro-blindness about global terror and the other Asian/Mideast-centered security issues, when will hte Europeans learn that none of these ahs anything to do with Israel and the Palestinians, and next to nothing to do with the Bush Admin's views on Kyoto, the ICC, ABM treaty etc?

And how long before Asia gets the three Security Council seats it deserves--and Europe is reduced to one seat?

Kelli--

Good points. Bush may have hurled salt into European wounds, but the resentment and loathing of US "hegemony" was very strong during the Clinton era as well. Chirac used to go out of his way to insult Clinton, and Le Monde was just as hysterically slanted against US capitalism during the go-go 1990's as during the last few years.

It's not about Bush, or any other occupant of the White House. It's about America as it exists in the European imagination.

americans the new jews of europe? that is nothing else than pathetic.

I provided some folk-psychology answers of why anti-americanism is to some extend an overrated phenomena in a political discussion (but not in personal life) - people talk bad of foreign countries except they are nice, lovely etc. The us is too big to be nice or lovely. another try: in the us you do not cross as soon a border and you are rediculed from where you are comming from. In europe yes. this might be one answer why americans notice always anti-americanism. when other people say no "its not the greatest country of the world". There is no longer love and affection or sense of community. One has always to defend its own country against these bad europeans.

but in the the end i think much of it is a hype made by those who equate america with a "conservative-libertarian" ideology. because then there are also anti-american americans. If you count all the democrats you have 50% antiamericans in america. why bother about 60-80% of antiamericans in europe. but american anti-americans make no sense to me (2% yes but 40% no). it is a nonstarter.

what you mean with taking car of our own? the presence of american soldiers in europe? there were material, financial and strategic interests of the us that western europe was not becoming part of the soviet empire. at that time there were two superpowers in conflict. now no longer. there is only one. this changed the world. the bi-polarity was replaced by the military supremacy of the US. And now europeans should do whatever an american pesident likes them to do? Send troups there and there. Defend ourself from a danger that we (rightly or wrongly) do not see? Conduct a "war on terror" with the wrong weapons - tanks instead of inteligence, bombs instead of infiltration, airplane strikes instead of police actions. If one is convinced that it is wrong way then it is to easy to talk about anti-americanism.

i smell anti-europeanism .... funny.

miraculix "If you count all the democrats you have 50% antiamericans in america."

Isn't that logically impossible? If half of america doesn't like something America is doing, doesn't that MAKE it pro-american by defintion? If not supporting everything the GOP-led government is doing is anti-american, by default doesn't that mean that the GOP defines what America is? And therefore, since the GOP is not an absolute majority in the US, doesn't mean minority rule in the US?

Matt

The Europeans' first big test as the power(s) they wish to be , came in the early 1990's. When they couldn't handle the mess in Yugoslavia without us, the Euros must have been depressed by their own disillusionment. With the Soviet Union gone, they thought they were finally ready to make a difference in the world without U.S. influence. Yugoslavia proved just how impotent Europe really is concerning big world issues. And they despise us for their own misgivings.... And it kills me to say that about my ancestors.

"US. And now europeans should do whatever an american pesident likes them to do? Send troups there and there. Defend ourself from a danger that we (rightly or wrongly) do not see"

There's a big difference between having a philosophical disagreement with a friend, and actively opposing your supposed friend. People in America arent bitter with Germans at all, they are looked on as having a different philosophy as us, and our ways parted. Same with Canada. But France actively tried to undermine everything we tried to do, when we believed our very security was at stake. And this is not the first time. Let me turn it around on you. Are _we_ supposed to abandon our policies, which our backed by most of Nato, btw, because France and Germany disagreed? Why should France have more sway on our policies than Italy or Spain or England or Japan or South Korea, or Poland? If the new world order requires unanimity before action, we are doomed. That is an impossibly high bar.

Klaus said, "the first is the thing with the "socialistic society": a simple look in statistics will tell you that our average density of population is much more higher than in the US. Already this simple fact implies a lot of consequences: if you live together in such a narrow envirnment you HAVE to make compromises and limit your freedom."

Americans have an interesting way of trying to get around that. Many of them get along by limiting their freedom to be intolerant. They say, "I don't like what that person is doing. I wouldn't do it myself. But as long as he's not hurting anyone, IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS."

As long as everyone agrees to "live and let live," millions of people can live very close together, with a great deal of freedom to do what they want.

"Defend ourself from a danger that we (rightly or wrongly) do not see?"

You would see it if you pulled your collective head out of your collective ass. I fear it will take the Louvre being vaporized for Europe to get it. Why does Europe always wait till the last minute when they're on the brink of destruction?

This is one of those things that also makes Americans angry. The US wasted billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives defending you people and now you can't even be bothered to lift a finger when wackos decide to kill thousands of Americans. In fact, many of you are of the opinion that we were asking for it and deserved it. My grandfather, a WWII vet, is now of the opinion that you weren't worth it and he wants his dead brother back.

"Conduct a "war on terror" with the wrong weapons - tanks instead of inteligence, bombs instead of infiltration, airplane strikes instead of police actions."

If you are unable to see that we are using every tool in the arsenal and the extent of the problem is quite severe, then we'll just have to wait till Islamikazes start blowing themselves up in your neighborhood. Cheerio.

"Isn't that logically impossible? If half of america doesn't like something America is doing, doesn't that MAKE it pro-american by defintion? If not supporting everything the GOP-led government is doing is anti-american, by default doesn't that mean that the GOP defines what America is? "

It would be, if democrats were 50% of the population. In practice there is 10-15% of the electrorate that are independant. The real question is, if the leftest agenda had anything approaching 50% of voters in this country, wouldnt they have control of at least 1 branch of goverment? One chamber of congress? A majority of state houses?

Mark,

The point I danced around was that he concluded that democrats are anti-american. I disagree on principle and I'm not a democrat. Do they want a different America, yes. But that doesn't make them any more anti-american than when the GOP was bashing Clinton on the fact that he existed and was elected president twice.

Matt



For what it's worth, the pattern I have noticed is that the freer any people are, the less they wantonly criticize others.

In a more rigid society, which is to say, a more hierarchical one, what else could you dobut complain? If you were free and felt humiliated or debased by your life, you would change it. But if your choices are restricted, you could only save face by blaming someone else for your mistakes.

The socialist nanny-state convinces people not to take charge of their own lives. And when they try, it discourages them, or even puts up roadblocks to prevent them from changing anything.

It would be interesting to cross-reference the degree to which a person is anti-American vs the degree to which they feel they can take control of their own life.


tombo

i have a italian passport. grew up in northern italy where they speak german. I always hated the questions do you feel more italian or more austrian(german).

I do not believe in the thesis of islamist totalitarianism. it will be shortlived if they get their "back into the stonage - country" as they want essentially the same thing as pol pot's red khmer. indeed iran moved much farther towards something like a islamic democracy than a completely totalistarian state. with an islamist stalin those guys which give back their parlament seats yesterday would be dead or in prison by now. And I do not believe into the fundamental opposition between the religions. The palestinian conflict is more about nationalism than about religion. And there are still catolics and protestants divided by walls in northern ireland. but they live in peace in germany, switzerland etc. the question regarding the seriousness of the threat i do not think it is underestimated in Europe. I think that the ideas how to fight this dange is different in Europe and the US. As I come from a area where there was a bit of mostly symbolic terrorism in the 60s and 70s and 80s. I had the impression that using excessive force would create the potential of new terrorists. Of course the italian and german experience with the red brigades and raf would tells another story: Force as a useful strategy. However in Northern Ireland, in the bask countries, and corsica a "softer police oriented" approach seems to provide better results.

The capability of getting nukes etc into the hand of rouge states is dangerous. but if you look it from the side of a country included in one of the axis. there is now more than ever an incentive to get a hand on this weapons. It is the same logic as in the arms race in the cold war.

matt

that's right. I do not want to dispute that there is antiamericanism. But sometimes the discussion about anti-americanism (especially in the US) has a "Party line" connotation. This part of the anti-americanism is in reality an inner-american discussion (like the : if you are for dean then you are anti-american). I think that is nonsense.

N.Klaric.

Excatly for this reason germans should not make the hitler-bush comparison. I did not see it that much to say. But i think that germans and austrians are qiute aware that most of their grandparents have not fought hitler but followed him.


mirculix: You think the idea of Americans as the New Jews of Europe is pathetic. So do I. I also think it's true. When Germany sustained that terrible flooding last year, America got blamed. The rationale? The floods were caused by climate change. The climate changed because America refuses to ratify Kyoto. LeMonde recently reported on Amis in France being yelled at and told to "f**k off" by shopkeepers. Everything WAS the Jews fault. Now it's the Americans fault.

You wrote: There is no longer love and affection or sense of community. One has always to defend its own country against these bad europeans.

Did you even READ the link to the LILIPUZ transcript? Please don't condescend to us as though it's a matter of our feelings being hurt. The issue is a culture of hate being directed at my country, threatening our physical existence. On September 11, that pathology killed 5 of my neighbors. All we heard from Europe was that we better start asking why everybody hates us. So we're here asking, and finding out that - what? - that it's CONVENIENT. "There is no longer love and affection". How dare you.

No. Europe should not do anything the President asks. But in taking upon itself the mantle of being the exception to America, Europe commits the identical folly - defining itself in terms of America. How stupid is that?

N. Klaric: "Oh, and that comparison even helps some of the darker minds to twist history in a way that it seems Germans fought Hitler in the same way as they fight Bush now. Or so they think."

That's the problem. This is not a product of critical thinking, a faculty I am becoming more pursuaded by the day is in short supply in Europe. Facts do not serve the "narrative".

"Because the premise here is "Gemeinschaft" -- unity, not "individualism". Individualism, be it of the monarchist, fascist or communist kind, as we all know, has inevitably lead to disaster in Europe"

This is the most wrong thing I've ever read. Monarchy, fascism and communism are the opposite of individualism. They are extreme forms of "Gemeinschaft" - unity in the Party (or under the King) - un-tempered by any individualism. It is the "Gemeinschaft" that has inevitably lead to disaster in Europe - and continues to hold Europe back in its slightly less comprehensive current Socialist form.

The postings in this forum have been absolutely marvellous, and forced me to re-embrace my own experiences with Germans and living in Germany.

I had the interesting timing of being a woman in uniform in the 70s. At that time, there were not many females in the Army, and even fewer went to Germany. To this day, I will never forget the looks I would get when walking down the street in uniform.

What caused, basically, people "in Ohnmacht zu fallen" (figuratively) was when I would pay my Telephone bill (at the Post, I lived off the base) the tellers in the wicket would give me a look of "you've got to be kidding" and I often overheard them joke with each other about "must be a lesbian" and other snide remarks about Americans as well. Then, when I would get their attention, I would blythly utter the words, "ich moechte diese Rechnung bezahlen, und, ich habe noch einige Frage.....". They would turn white. I didn't know if it was because of the German or because they "got caught". After many iterations of this, I rather came to find it amusing. What usually resulted is, by the time the transactions that began with insult were completed, the teller would, still with eyes dangling out of the sockets say, ironically in English, "your German is very good!"

I cannot recall who posted it, I've so many good ones prior to contributing, but s/he stated that Americans "stride." I agree, you could always pick an American out in a crowd by the way s/he moves. I now operate a business in Canada and through the years, even in cultures that share the same border and language, Americans and Canadians have distinct body language. In no uncertain terms it the stature of confidence and the willingness to be friendly (that too was a nice comment by someone), Americans stand out. (Strangely enough, I find Americans to be more similar socially to the English, who also tend to make friendly small talk)

Anyhow, I lived away from Americans and my neighbors were very curious about me, peering from behind the curtains, pretending not to be staring when I would turn to try to acknowledge them. However, with some time and effort, this well, shyness, was overcome. I made the effort.

To bring this into the present, I always laugh when the current candidates blame George Bush for the perceived animus towards the US since 9/11 (or, 11.9) There was ALWAYS this animus - or whatever you want to call it. Even during the comparatively wimpiest Presidency of all, that of Jimmy Carter, American installations in Europe were bombed by terrorists and there were constant calls in Germany for the 'amis' to leave. There was also a widespread and open affinity for the USSR. I also question why it should be on the agenda geopolitically to try to get everyone to like you. Leaders have to make decisions that disadvantage certain constituencies periodically, and you can't please all of the people all of the time. The obsession with Americans, albeit manifested as anti-Americanism or consumption of things American has always been present and if we maintain more economic and political power relative to other nations, it always will be.

All in all, my experiences were good. I do concur with, I think it was Pamela, who talked about the eye-popping reaction of Germans when she would state that she liked them. Boy, is that ever true! (It's also a response from some Americans as there are many who find Germans uncultivated and have deep suspicions of them) I do believe my experiences were good because although my dress conveyed the military message, the subject of history, poliitics and such was always avoided. This is not unique to my interactions with Germans, but with some of my American friends and family members too.

In my most recent trip to Germany in the end of 2002, while the UN was leading up to 1441 and the position of the US on Iraq was clear, a close German friend of mine, after showing us his pictures of a recent trip to the Grand Canyon, was very outraged at the US and spoke very hatefully of George Bush. It seemed, wherever I went, people wanted to engage me in this topic, or thought of me as an "insider". I was not prepared for some of these reactions, because they were very, very strong and firmly held. I don't know why, but this issue seems to make blood boil in Germany. Or, it could be the fact that the newer, younger adults grew up in an entirely different era than their parents or grandparents. Their era included occupation, and that of their forebears, liberation. Somehow I think the parents and grandparents would be in a better position to comment on Iraq.

Well, nuff said....ich muss aufhoeren!

Oh---- Hans ze Beeman, your invitation was MOI!

Great comments Mimi. That is similar to my experiences with Europeans as well. American outgoingness is often taken as either rudeness or lack of sophistication. There is something to this, Americans usually arent well trained in conforming to another culture. I've seen Americans do incrediably stupid things in Europe, often out of sheer apathy to the culture. You should know the rules before you decide to break them. On the other hand i've seen the reverse just as often. Sitting in a bistro in Paris with some of my friends once, a rathy nasty French woman at the next table nearly ruined our meal by talking loudly and rather obviously about ugly Americans in French. Finally my buddy turned and in absolutely perfect French told her she was being rude and making a fool of herself. The woman went white faced, got up to leave, tripped and fell on her rear. To their eternal credit, the rest of the French patrons laughed and applauded my friend loudly. That was the best and worst of France all in a space of ten minutes.

Great thread. About 25 years ago I took a Dutch surgeon friend and his wife to a football rally before a big college game in San Francisco. There was a band playing martial music, cheering and chants of support for the team. Later, I asked him his impression. They had jumped at the chance to see a little "Americana" at the end of a medical convention. He told me that he had learned more about Americans there than he had known before. This man was perfectly fluent in English and traveled frequently to the US. He said, "In Germany, it would be mildly dangerous to be in such a place where people are drinking and playing martial music and so on. To be a stranger in such a crowd would be uncomfortable. Here I see nothing but good spirits and friendliness."

I agree with Michael's post of 7:08 above. Americans are selected for individualism genetically. We can do nothing about it. Europeans have been selected by war to avoid risk and strife. We should try to understand each other but will never agree on everything. It's in our genes.

Regarding the earlier question posted by Steve, "Why are intellectuals so anti-American?", a great essay on this question was written 20 years ago by Robert Nozick: http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/cpr-20n1-1.html

In the past two or three or four decades masses of the developed countries in Europe got used to the relative comfort of the Cold War. All the competition was between USA and Russia, so they could afford themselves less work and more leisure – and peculiar political trends. Today they have to compete with a lot more participants in a highly fluent environment. They hardly have any skills to match this task. Now try to reform these societies to achieve the higher competitiveness – repeal the economic regulations some of which stem from the blessed thirties (kind of laws against Jewish competition), stop the state brainwashing, promote the private enterprise and individualism, instigate the difference of opinions. These lazy masses kill you in an instant for their right to party (drink, TV, virtual sex) and for your Darwinist zeal. How to placate them then (because everybody feels, of course, that something’s the air) - just for a moment (if only for an electoral moment)? Give them a bone big, visible and simple to bite, I think. “America”, for instance.

I have a legal question. Are German newspapers, radio stations, TV channels, etc., government owned? Are they owned? Who, for example, owns SPIEGAL?

Craig
The Robert Nozick article is an interesting read.

I can explain much of the recent events with France and Germany with many of the posts above relating to national identity, desire for more control in the world, steep socialism, etc... But as for the common citizens, I start looking elsewhere. For instance, I keep seeing glamorization of anti-American Europeans on the part of the Left in the U.S. And if I were to narrow the definition of "Left" further, I would have to define it as Leftist-Intellectuals. (many of whom are journalists or writers)

One passage, "Intellectuals now expect to be the most highly valued people in a society, those with the most prestige and power, those with the greatest rewards. Intellectuals feel entitled to this. But, by and large, a capitalist society does not honor its intellectuals" rings true in my experiences. Perhaps the word, 'Intellectual' above could be replaced by names of nations.

Of my so-called intellectual friends, their discussions know no end (and their actions are proportionally inverse to their discussion time). They spend most of that time nowadays berating the individualistic antagonist in the socialists' nightmare -- George Bush.

How could a "cowboy" (Europe's image of him) who "barely got through Yale" (intellectuals embarrassed their school let him in) lead a nation, or comprehend the world? "He can't even speak properly" (intellectuals must be able to spew out never-ending prepositional phrases a-la Kerry).

I even heard a story used by Sam Donaldson to describe the psyche of a Texan, who will shoot snakes on a trail at first sight, without asking questions. Here is a man who's lived in the US all his life using a metaphor that could as easily be applied to any American by a European. Again, though, we can see intellectual snobbiness in our own country, used against someone from a different state.

I can blame a lot of this *hatred* / bemusement / disdain on people looking down their noses. They know better than us, for God sake. If only we would turn over control, and let them control our destiny all would be well.

But, in trying to take down the individual (U.S.), the EU has truly gone mad with France and Germany at the helm. I think they may be starting to realize it at the same time they're realizing the anti-semitism building in Europe. The BBC's stumble will also help, by shining light on government-sponsored news orgs, and perhaps ignite a small spark that might one day help the German people take back control of a crazy government that's slowly being wed to Paris.

Charlie, I think you've touched on something not really mentioned. The US is essentially a child of European civilization as well as evidence of European sin (colonialism). Since WWII this "child" has been nursing and caring for its old and infirm "parent", basically defending the "parent" from its own worst tendencies. The role reversal must be horrifying to people who consider themselves intrinsically superior to their new defender. Humiliating, indeed. Not to mention that most Americans came from the poor, oppressed, lower classes of Europe. It must be deeply unsettling to have the very people your ancestors looked down upon begin to beat you in every race. I always hear that socialism is superior to barbaric American capitalism and that Europe is better because it doesn't have the death penalty or as much crime, but socialism is failing Europe to the tune of a double digit unemployment rate and a lower standard of living than America's, public opinion polls I've read show most Euros favor the death penalty and crime is going through the roof in Europe while crime in the US has been dropping incredibly in the past ten years. It's like a mental block. If everything you've been led to believe is wrong, then it's too difficult and disturbing to change your beliefs so, instead of changing, blame those whose performance puts the lie to your most cherished beliefs. It's the same phenomenon in the Middle East, fortunately many Europeans still pay lip service to pacifism.

Europe is still very religious. Now the state is god and the state is failing them.

Charlie, if Texans shot snakes on a trail at first sight, Sam Donaldson would have been dead a long time ago.

Short answer is: Because they are losers in comparison.

The writers who comment about anti-American bias of the European media have hit on the single biggest barrier between Americans and Europeans, in my opinion. Unless Americans read the French, German, or Italian, etc. press, and especially watch TV news, they really have no idea the scope of anti-Americanism fed to Europeans every day. To give an idea to Americans who haven't experienced it, the European news services are like the most extreme elements of National Public Radio and Pacifica on a bad day.
I'm not sure how to remedy this. Additional media outlets with other opinions might help - maybe US style talk radio or making Fox News available (which the BBC and other media in Britain adamantly oppose)? Maybe the Internet and blogging is the answer?
This waning of influence has already happened in the US. The NY Times and CBS News (Walter Cronkite) were extraordinarily influential when I was a kid - not any longer.
Breaking up the monopolistic and privileged (and often tax-supported) position of elite media in Europe would also help.

Having lived not in Germany, but in former Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, I have to snicker about Germans "not talking loudly" and not "striding."

In all the Central European countries I have been to (Poland, Czech, Hungary, Slovakia), the German tourists are considered the rudest and most arrogant. I have one German friend who lives -- integrated -- in a small town in the Czech Republic (a very rare event) who constantly apologizes for their behavior.

German tourists and workers in the east behave extraordinarily arrogantly. Unsmiling, loud, bossy and with an apparent assumption that because some or all of these countries might have been part of some Reich or Austrian empire, they should all speak German and snap to attention at questions and orders barked out in German. And there's no "Do you speak German?" prefacing those orders, for the most part.

I can't get over German hypocrisy. They've got hundreds of trucks driving east over the Czech and Polish borders to dump off their garbage. Almost no German speaks any language on their eastern borders. They are the primary clients of the brothels (all printed sex guides are in German first, unlike English first for most tourist materials), and are known for their belligerence and unfriendliness when abroad in these countries.

Furthermore, they have bought out most of the best factories, vacation homes, etc., where speaking German is expected over whatever language was originally used. This enclavistic colonization is similar to what they've done in Spain, Portugal, Mallorca, Canary Islands, etc.

The strangest thing is that they seem not to recognize any of this. For all their mockery of America, they are oblivious to the fact that any country on their east would much rather have an American tourist than a German.

Germans also, for the most part (from my experience in discussion) do not know much of their own history. An educated American will at least learn the events and their results over the last couple hundred years. The Spanish, for example, can tell you more about the Spanish-American War than I ever knew. Educated Germans I knew could hardly tell you about the Kaiser. The Czechs and Poles remember more than they want to.

So let's talk anti-Americanism, so long as the playing field is level.

Sandy P.,

To answer the question you raised about why Germany has had such a tough time unifying itself, check up on the Thirty Years War. It was not only a general European war, but a brutal German North(Protestant) vs. South (Catholic) civil war.
After that war, the Great Powers of Europe felt that it was in their interest to keep Germany split up. Part of the reason that Bismark is considered such a diplomatic and political genius lies in how he cleverly played upon the Great Powers's own internal political weaknesses and external committments in order to get Germany unified.

The "anti-Americanism" mentioned here actually has roots that go back to the country's founding, and was answered by our Founding Fathers, Franklin and Jefferson (cf. NOTES ON VIRGINIA) especially. It is documented in the excellent book:

The Empire of Reason: How Europe Imagined and America Realized the Enlightenment, by Henry Steele Commager:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=2A3T5MALZ8&isbn=184212076X&itm=1

It is no longer in print, but you should track it down.

One of the problems we might have is that, for the older German generation at least, the U.S. was literally seen as a cowboy culture. As a child, I remember my old neighborhood pharmacist, a German Jew who fled the Holocaust, describing how he scraped his small amount of money together to buy himself an "authentic" cowboy costume, only to debark in the world's most modern city (the inspiration for Fritz Lang's great METROPOLIS). He must have been under the influence of Karl May's novels:

http://www.ibaradio.org/programs/winnetou/May1.htm

Note that May's heroes are the Indians, and a German immigrant who sympathizes with them against the American cowboys. (g)

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