An explanation for the anti-US sentiment in Europe

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Matt Black, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Five years ago, I was very much pro the United States being the world's only superpower. The US seemed to have almost all the attributes you want from a Sole Superpower. It was civilised, appeared to believe in the principles it espoused most of the time (no one is perfect)

    Above all, it seemed to be more focussed on the President's Pecker than on expanding through military force. It therefore wasn't too likely to upset established orders and leave behind anarchy (which is actually quite a lot worse than tyrrany).

    I was probably more naive then - but I don't think that that was the entire cause.

    There had just been an election between a liar and a fool. The liar had won (although the media had portrayed them the other way round - which worried me slightly, (as did shinanigans round the election) but I'd seen enough of our media not to believe it was impartial). Possibly a minor worry - but to be quite honest I was far more worried about University Tuition Fees than anything the US government was going to do. In the course of the year, the US refused to ratify Kyoto, which didn't impress me - but I don't expect to be impressed by any country all of the time. Que serra serra.

    Then, to borrow a cliche, September 11 changed everything.

    Pro-US sentiment shot up in sympathy. The US, assisted by us invaded Afghanistan. I opposed this because I do not believe revenge to be a good motive for a war, but expected it to happen and realised I was on the losing side (and wasn't actually too unhappy that this was the case - the important part was getting the opposition recorded IMO). I believed that Afghanistan would be a sufficient pressure valve for the US to let off steam and that things would return to normal.

    The US set up a detention centre in Guantanamo Bay which appeared (and still appears, despite a US Supreme Court ruling using some of the nastier actions of Charles II as precident) to have been placed into gaps in the law.

    At this point, it's probably worth pointing out that Kipling's reference to "Lesser Breeds Without the Law" was almost certainly referring to Imperial Hubris leading to the imperial power in question putting aside the law rather than to the conquered (and unconquered) peoples being uncivilised.

    Afghanistan didn't go too badly (although I wondered quite what some of the propogandists were on at times - c.f. the Tora Bora complex secret underground lair (that looked like a refugee from James Bond or Thunderbirds)). You kick over an already kicked over ant-hill and what's left is a kicked over ant-hill. (It was also a hell of a lot faster and a lot less messy than I expected on). We also get the US President talking about an Axis of Evil - despite the fact that three more unlikely allies are harder to come up with.

    The US then decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court - which ties in quite messily with Camp X-Ray if you want to look at things that way. Even if you don't, it undermines the belief that the US has respect for international law and believes that its word is its bond. Just another reason to be worried.

    Next up is the Iraq war. (I'm going to skip such things as no-fly lists and the USA PATRIOT act which are purely internal affairs). There were two major reasons presented for going to war with Iraq.

    The first was WMDs. Even before the war, I could tell that we were being lied to - or to be accurate, the politicians had asked the intelligence people to come up with evidence that Iraq had WMDs rather than to investigate whether Iraq had WMDs. If that was the best they could do (including Colin Powell's artists impressions presented to the UN), I was pretty sure that Iraq didn't have nukes or bio-weapons. (Chemicals were possible - but calling chemicals WMDs is a bit disingenuous as tonne for tonne, TNT tends to be a lot more dangerous).

    The second was that Saddam was a Bad Man™ and that we were doing it for the Iraqui People. I can't argue with the first half (although it leads to the question of "why now?") - but I saw too much of the military plans and not enough of the reconstruction ones to believe that there was much of a case for the Iraqui People.

    In short, I could tell we were being lied to and deceived to get us into a war. Subsequent events have only proved me and those like me right.

    Two years after the war, the Iraquis still don't have continual power (5 hours off to one on is the figure given by at least one Iraqui blogger - and the Kilowatts are decreasing). Iraq's tradition of musical theatre is more or less dead becuse "Before there was only one Saddam. Now there are 25" [any of whom could make things too dangerous to perform]. Bombs are increasing. About the only improvement is that sanctions have ended. (Which needn't have taken a war, and were probably actually propping up Saddam...). The hunt for WMDs has been given up.

    And then there are ironies like the excuse of WMDs for invasion and the use of White Phosphorous. Or using Abu Ghraib as an example of the evil of Saddam.

    In late 2004, we had the US republicans trying to legalise Extraordinary Rendition against previously signed UN charters. (And despite the fact that the intelligence value of torture is negative). Fortunately they failed - but that the US can go that far down the line is an extremely worrying sign.

    Between 2001 and 2004, the leadership of the US demonstrated that it was not prepared to be bound by the law or treaties it had signed. It had denied people any law at all - and therefore effectively thrown out the presumption of innocence that underlies its own legal system. It had invaded other countries using lies as a pretext. It tortured people and tried to give this official sanction.

    In short, it had plummeted morally from a fairly high standard to one where I would prefer the EU to be the world superpower (largely because other than under serious threat it would be too busy with internal feuding to do too much damage).

    Still, I had a lot of hope that the US was going to wake up from this insanity at the 2004 elections and throw the Shrub out.

    Seemingly it decided to give Bush some political capital to spend (rather than invest) instead. (I say seemingly because I believe that the election was stolen. (This is the only way I can have any belief in the US at all)).

    2005 continued along the same lines as the previous years of the Shrub presidency, complete with lining up for a new war.

    And then we have Americans wondering why there is so much more anti-US sentiment now than there was five or six years ago. It's not us who have changed (at least mostly), it's you.
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Matt,

    Whatever are you talking about. Europe is moving more toward a pro-America stance everyday, especially now that Iran is starting their nuke program. You will also notice that the anti-US leaders of Canada and Germany are no longer leaders of their nation.

    Also,

    I have never wondered nor cared why Europe did not like America. So, no explanation is even necessary.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. elijah_lives

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    Superpowers must act like superpowers, or cede the field to France. I remember a lot of anti-American sentiment when I was stationed in Germany during my second tour in the early 1980's (during the first tour, the Germans were nice as could be), because they opposed our policies toward the USSR. Now that it is gone, and our positions vindicated, I am astonished at the attitudes and ingratitude that comes from many quarters in Europe.

    I suppose, when our current positions are (once again) vindicated in the future, that we can expect more ingratitude.

    BTW, who will replace Chirac?
     
  4. carpro

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    Ditto.
     
  5. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Joseph, I'm not on about the governments of Europe, I'm talking about its people (yes, people vote for governments but they do so for many more reasons other than the government being pro- or anti-US).

    And I'm not really trying to justify what I've posted; I get asked time and again by Americans both here and elsewhere why Europeans tend to be anti-American, and here's my attempt at an explanation. I appreciate you don't care, but there are obviously those of your fellow citizens who do, otherwise they wouldn't ask the question.
     
  6. Brother James

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    Matt is right. GW and his ilk have made us stink in the nostrils of the world.
     
  7. Matt Black

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    NB Guys, if this was a generalised ill-informed anti-American rant, I could pick up the material for that from any regular down at my local pub, the Slug and Lettuce, eg:-

    "The U. S. is trying to police the world. They think they won WWII all by themselves. Every sitting president was voted for by every American citizen. The people in the U.S. South are all raging racists of the KKK sort as seen in the films. Mind you, no good film ever came out of Hollywood. Yanks don't speak proper English, it's that 'ard to make out what they're saying. When they eat they look like their left arm is paralysed, it's right sickening to watch. The women are all spoiled nags what don't appreciate their fitted kitchens. The men are all oversexed goons in plaid shirts. Yanks are all loud and stupid and each one of them who ever visited the Tower of London asked where the revolving restaurant was. Their clothes are too bright -- why do they have to dress like Mickey Mouse just because they're on Holiday? They all carry guns.

    And they're all fat."
     
  8. Brother James

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    Tts 1:12 One of themselves, [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.


    Tts 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
     
  9. Matt Black

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    The trouble is, the Slug and Lettuce regulars are getting just as fat as the Americans they deplore - largely because of all the time they spend in the Slug and Lettuce...
     
  10. LadyEagle

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    Ditto.
     
  11. Brother James

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    Sorry Matt. It looks like nothing but arrogance is on display here today. You people across the pond don't count. Bow before our super race.
     
  12. Bro. Curtis

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    Ditto. </font>[/QUOTE]Yup. I could not care less if they like us or not.
     
  13. OldRegular

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    Western Europe will become strongly pro-American when it is necessary for us to save their butts again. :D :D :D My understanding is that Eastern europe is strongly pro-American.
     
  14. Brother James

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    That's because they're on the federal dole my reformed brother!
     
  15. carpro

    carpro
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    Like Western Europe was for many years.
     
  16. Scott J

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    And you call Bush the fool... err, liar?

    Think about it Matt. Bush is in a pickle right now. His influence in the world has been diminished and as well as at home. NO IDIOT OR LIAR would have told a lie they knew they'd lose on no matter what.

    Politics is a game of power and influence. Bush staked alot of capital on Iraq... and so far has been skunked politically by those who want him defeated for reasons that have very little to do with Iraq or terrorism... or even Europe's opinion other than they represent a similar brand of socialism.

    This is the most innane of all the charges against the war and Bush personally. Wrong? Sure. Not careful enough? Possibly. But other than your clairvoyance... pretty much everyone else, including several countries opposed to the invastion, affirmed the intelligence that said Saddam had weapons.

    ... and just one more thought- there are still weapons cited by the UN that haven't been accounted for. There is no evidence they were destroyed but they can't be found. Where are they?
     
  17. Scott J

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    This ranks right up there with comparing the incidental "theft" of someone's pen to a bank robbery.

    Saddam used WMDs specifically for the purpose of killing men, women, and children indiscriminately. Our use of WP had a military intent.

    Comparing something about as abusive as a fraternity prank to the unrelenting, gov't sanctioned physical torture under Saddam is a grotesque joke. Our people were found out and brought to justice by the power over them. The previous management acted at the behest of the power over them... huge difference.
     
  18. Johnv

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    JB is correct. This is rather obvious in the affairs of world news. In fact, the great thing about the current Iran situation is that the US doesn't even need to do anything. We just need to sit back and watch everyone else get upset about Iran (I'm guessing that, if we had spoken out first, a lot of nations would be pro-Iran, just because we spoke out against them).

    World politics is an ugly thing. With Iraq, we did the dirty work while most of the world denounced us (while at the same time toasting in secret that we're doing what they hoped we would). And now, the tables are turned, and we get to toast while the rest of the world partakes in the dirty work.
     
  19. Scott J

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    BTW, I read an article by a European a couple of years ago that I think comes much closer than Matt's explanation.

    This guy's major premise was that Europeans dislike Americans for the same reason American liberals dislike Americans... because we are generally happy and optimistic. We think in terms of "can do". "We "can" make the world safer", for instance.

    We don't sit around and worry about everything that's wrong... that someone else isn't fixing. We go do it ourselves.

    We love our freedoms and liberties and economic opportunities... and largely oppose the notion that gov't has a right to deny any of them to us as INDIVIDUALS.
     
  20. Matt Black

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    And you call Bush the fool... err, liar?

    Think about it Matt. Bush is in a pickle right now. His influence in the world has been diminished and as well as at home. NO IDIOT OR LIAR would have told a lie they knew they'd lose on no matter what.

    </font>[/QUOTE]A fool would because a fool wouldn't have the sense to realise he would be caught out.
     

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