Ralf posted a few days ago about anti-Americanism. Unless I’m completely off-target here, he claims that the stuff we read or see in the foreign media isn’t really how people feel, that the effect is superficial. He also states that it simply isn’t as bad as we perceive it. The comments to the post seem to bear this out.
That’s fair enough, and I thank him for his input. But then there’s things like this that keep cropping up. (Go ahead and click the link, read the post. I’ll wait.)
The question that pops into my mind when I see things like this isn’t why the people of France hate us, or even if the sentiments expressed so blatantly and repeatedly in French rags like Le Monde is actually how the average Gallic citizen really feels. Instead I wonder what they think will happen if they piss off enough of the American voting public.
The cartoon and article that Gregory so kindly points out to us makes it plain that the authors think America is a violent, war-mongering country just looking to invade and kill innocent people. If they were even half right then I know which country we’d invade next, which odious culture we’d wipe out.
This is, of course, ridiculous. The US is benign and a force for good in the world or else the European powers wouldn’t be so quick to dismantle their militaries. But there’s other ways that America could make it’s displeasure plain, such as by looking elsewhere for partners in international trade or defense agreements. This wouldn’t even be done as a form of retribution, but more as a way to avoid those that have expressed a hatred of America’s people, government and culture. Considering how Socialist entitlement programs and extremely poor planning have kicked them in the teeth, I don’t think they’d like it too much if we washed our hands of them.
As I’ve mentioned above, Ralf claims that anti-American items in the foreign media really don’t have that great an impact. What I’m wondering is why Europeans have such a Euro-centric and short-sighted view. The United States is ahead of the every European country in any meaningful measure (prevalence of culture, wealth, military dominance, technological innovation, global influence). Who gives a flying fig if some guy sipping coffee in a bistro in Paris has a distorted view of the US? It can’t hurt us one way or another. But they should be supremely worried if a truck driver drinking a coke in a McDonald’s in Columbus, Ohio is pissed off at Europe.
But that would mean that Europeans would have to accept a truly global view, and I don’t think they’re capable of that.
(Hat tip to Prof. Reynolds.)