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Anti-Americanism as teacher testing

Clearly a great deal of the anti-Americanism that now afflicts this world is stupid, malevolent, small-minded, cowardly, a mask behind which lurks Marxist or sub-Marxist cretinism, and generally ridiculous. But I want to suggest now that some of it may be rational, and even wise.

Consider the phenomenon of a classroom full of semi-unruly school children, who, when confronted with a new teacher, proceed to ‘test’ that teacher.

A common interpretation of such behaviour is that children “want” or “need” boundaries. That was not my experience. The fewer damn boundaries I faced when I was a child, the happier I was, and this was never more true than when I was stuck in a damn classroom, being made to attend to some stupid intellectual rigmarole that did not interest me or did confuse me or annoy me.

But what all children do want to know is simply, what kind of teacher is this? Like babies who find out how things are put together by trying to take them apart, children try to break a teacher, simply to find out what he is made of. If it turns out that he is indeed the sort of teacher who is going to put in place lots of those boundaries, well, this may be very bad news. But, whether they need such boundaries or not, most children want to know about them, so that they can then proceed with true assumptions in place in their minds about how things are going to be from now on, until this guys goes, and someone else shows up and there is another testing session.

Testing is even more necessary if a new teacher declares his desire to be nice, to allow freedom, to let children choose how they behave, what they will learn etc.. He will find himself being tested to destruction. Teachers get set upon like wounded deer being savaged by wolves.

Here the common explanation is that children behave like wolves because, basically, they are wolves.

Again, I dissent. A classroom full of children confronted by a new, liberal, nice, permissive teacher will, again, need to know where they truly stand with such a person. It is not that children do not like freedom, deciding what they will learn, how they will behave, etc. It is simply that children want very much to know, if such declarations are presented to them, whether they are in fact true, or just pious utopian drivel which will collapse in the face of the first serious challenge, or in the face of the first real decision made by a child which the permissive teacher actually does not approve of.

But there is another even more basic problem with permissive, nice teachers. The problem with a nice teacher is that there are other forces in play which threaten to destroy niceness besides nasty teachers who are only pretending to be nice. There are also the other nasties in the classroom, and a nice teacher is all too likely to be especiallyl bad at restraining these nasties. So why get your hopes up when Mr Nice Teacher makes his first nice speech? On the contrary, join the nasties and try to destroy him, again, to see what he is made of. If he then shows himself both willing and able to quell such a rebellion, good, then it looks like he might be trustworthy, a teacher whose protestations of niceness from now on might be worth betting on. If not, then best to find out now.

Here is a case where the children who are tempted to bet on the new regime do indeed need boundaries – boundaries to protect them.

There is nothing crueller for a child than having his hopes aroused, only to have them dashed by the feebleness of the very person who promised him all these wonders. Nothing is more cruel for a bottom-of-the-pecking-order child in a school to be presented with a utopian manifesto of niceness, to believe it, and then to find that actually it is not true.

Well, you can see where I am going with this, I am sure. To the point where I hardly need to spell it out. But I will anyway. Much anti-Americanism nowadays is, I surmise, simply the question: What are you guys made of? We hear your fine words. But what, in practice, do they actually mean? If a few insults about cowboys and Macdonalds and stupid Schwarzenegger movies and Oil Company Corruption are enough to get you so angry that you already want to bugger off back home, then clearly your new Pax Americana, or whatever the hell it is, is a total waste of space, and the sooner we all destroy it the better.

A policy of American isolation may not be perfect, but it makes sense. (This is the equivalent of simply not being a “teacher” at all, or trying to become one and then giving up in despair.) A policy of turning the world, or at least certain clearly defined parts of it, into something like an American empire, with clear rules, backed by overwhelming force and the willingness to use it in certain quite clearly defined circumstances, also makes sense. (This is like being a firm but fair teacher, who sets boundaries, and sticks to them.) What does not make sense is a cloudy, (President Woodrow) Wilsonian dream of universal niceness, unsupported by serious power as soon as such vapidities are seriously challenged.

It is said that just before Thatcher launched the British Naval Task Force that sailed off to the Malvinas Islands in order to turn them back into the Falklands Islands, she confronted her Cabinet with the question: Are we serious about this? Because if we are not, now is the time to say, not when the serious fighting gets under way and young men start to get killed in serious numbers. Nobody spoke up, and the Malvinas were duly Falklandised. America now faces a decision like that, but on a global scale.

Since 9/11, America has strode back onto the world stage, chucking all kinds of Big Words around. America is going to hunt down terrorism not just in America itself and at the borders of America, but everywhere. America is not just going to sit tight and wait for the explosions; it is going to get out there and hunt the bastards down, and topple any or all despotisms that now back terrorism and will not back down and turn them into something far nicer and far less likely to churn out terrorists. Personally, I can entirely see the rationality of this new foreign policy, and I think I support it, provided it is pursued consistently and until it has worked. But, do they mean it? What are the Americans really made of?

Now that the President Bush version of the USA is facing (I would say) its most serious test since 9/11, in the form of an insurgent challenge in Iraq clearly timed to coincide with the forthcoming Presidential election, we are about to find out. Will Bush himself blink? Will the Democrats offer a cut-and-run alternative to the American voters, and if they do, will the American voters grab it or spurn it?

We are, I think, about to find out. And if it turns out that America does not have the stomach for the fight it now faces to impose its new foreign policy on the world, the sooner the rest of us find out, the better.

I do not expect Americans of the sort who read this blog to like this analysis very much. (I expect some corresondingly equal and opposite and rational attacks on Europe’s various foreign policies.) But I do expect some Americans at least to understand the rationality of it. The world is already too full of people who trusted America to support them, and then got let down, not a few of them being Iraqis who were sold a pup by President Bush’s dad.

But the good news is that if I am right, then although this may now be bad news for Bushism, the longer term outlook for the new American policy, of hunting terrorists everywhere rather than just waiting for them to show up, may be much better than it now looks. If Bush, backed by America as a whole, does tough out this latest little flurry of fighting – if, in other words the Tet analogy does not hold (military victory but political defeat) – then this particular strand of anti-Americanism will weaken rather than grow.

For we will then know where we stand. Even those who do not like where they stand will at least know where they stand. And those us who do like where we stand will like it very much.

74 comments to Anti-Americanism as teacher testing

  • A very interesting article Brian. I think you’re onto something. It fits in nicely with a theory I have about why America attacked Iraq, aside from the stated aims of the US govt on this issue and the aims others normally attribute to America.

    After 9/11 America did say they were going to be tough on terrorists. They also put down an ultimatum to states not to provide support to terrorists. The question every state had to ask themselves at that point was: Is America serious? Afghanistan was an initial indication of seriousness. But Iraq had been defying the UN’s authority, and implicitly US’s authority for over a decade in refusing to comply with UN resolutions that are supposed to be binding (unlike the non-binding resolutions with Israel). If the UN didn’t act, and America didn’t act against this defiance, people would have little reason to take America’s post 9/11 proclamations seriously. America HAD to act against Iraq to show they were serious about enforcing their authority.

  • toolkien

    The question is, do I vote for Bush (as I did four years ago) so that we can finish what we started, as far as foreign policy, or do I vote Libertarian because of the huge increase in federalism and statism under Big Government Conservatism, domestically?

    I’ve never been a huge buyer into the War on Terror as if it were going to be the end to it. It never will. As long as there are humans, there will be creeds, and differences, and with differences come War, big and small. All we are fighting for, IMO, is our place and time, our resources and markets, our methods of individualism and fighting the various ‘shades of night’ out there. We can never end it, but make it better for ourselves. Either we fight, or we are swamped by totalitarian idealogies. So we fought the fascists hotly, we fought the communists coldly. How do we fight ‘the terrorists’? We define them for what they are, where they are and end the threat, by nationality or region, and over the specific reason. Simply calling it terrorism is too oblique. We show those who will listen and watch a better way to live, with civil models based personal decisions and values, instead of collectivist values, as the foundation.

  • The one consistant thing about Bush and his administration is that they do not panic when things get tough.

    This also means that they do not give a rat’s ass what the New York Times or Le Monde or the BBC says about them.

    I also believe that the US after 9/11 has the guts to tough this out. I could be wrong, but I also strongly believe that the quality of our troops will, in the end prevail.

    This crisis is not going to be easy, the lesson we are going to take away from it, is that its better to be hard and ruthless early than late. Our enemies in Iraq can now expect no mercy.

  • Brian Dale

    Wow. Good piece. The core, if I’m not thoroughly dense, is not that people in countries with less military power are as children; rather, it’s that people will test those who have power in order to find out if they can be trusted to do what they say they’ll do. Even when the stated goal is to convince the authority figure to be “nice,” the true goal is to find out if one can expect consistent behavior from them and make one’s plans based on such consistency. Thanks for that insight.

  • Brian Dale

    Wow. Good piece. The core, if I’m not thoroughly dense, is not that people in countries with less military power are as children; rather, it’s that people will test those who have power in order to find out if they can be trusted to do what they say they’ll do. Even when the stated goal is to convince the authority figure to be “nice,” the true goal is to find out if one can expect consistent behavior from them and make one’s plans based on such consistency. Thanks for that insight.

  • eric

    Not a bad analysis. But I think you miss that the current US administration is there because it got voted in. It can get voted out.

    What you might rather be asking is “Are the American people serious about this”, rather than the current adminstration.

    I would say the American people are, if they are adequately informed about the choices involved.

    But that is a big if. The largest media outlets in the USA are uniformly against the Administration. They are doing pretty much all they can to help defeat the reelection of Bush in November.

    The average person being average, will eventually internalize the constant diet of news unfavorable to the administration. It’s very scary, really.

    At most, President Bush will only serve until 2008. If he does, then one probably will see a set policy in place by then that subsequent administrations will follow more or less, much like the cold war was. If President Bush is defeated in November, then all bets are off.

  • Patrick

    Funny though, didn’t some of these “children” used to be faculty members? Yeah, I’d swear that kid in the beret has a five o’clock shadow.

  • Good article….Wish people would read this in the “People’s Republic of Houston”

    Houston Chronical

  • Rebecca

    Are you insinuating that when a decent, courageous man like Bush is in power then he should do nothing in the face of such acts of war as the 9-11 attacks, because at some point he will no longer be in office and the next President may not have the same resolve?

  • Charles Copeland

    Brian writes:

    What are the Americans really made of?

    Now that the President Bush version of the USA is facing (I would say) its most serious test since 9/11, in the form of an insurgent challenge in Iraq clearly timed to coincide with the forthcoming Presidential election, we are about to find out. Will Bush himself blink? Will the Democrats offer a cut-and-run alternative to the American voters, and if they do, will the American voters grab it or spurn it?

    In other words, how many US soldiers will have to die before the Americans funk it?

    – 1000?
    – 10000?
    – 100000?


    Great courage, Brian. Great chickenhawking in the real sense: your clear willingness to lay down other people’s lives for the sake of other people’s lives! Ekshelly I’m a kind of chickenhawk myself!

    I love Iraqi freedom so much that I’m willing to let one million US soldiers die! Even ten million US citizens! Because I treasure freedom. I treasure freedom and if that means a million body bags – not my body bag, though – I’m all for it. I’m all for it even if it also means bumping off a few million Iraqis as well. Because Iraqis treasure freedom so much they would prefer to be dead than see the Americans leave. Poll after poll shows it! So does the telly – every evening I watch all those thousands of Iraqi demonstrators treasuring freedom and showering flowers on US soldiers and calling on them to stay. All those secular Iraqis shaking hands and treasuring freedom with their US buddies.

    Indeed I treasure freedom so much I’m willing to nuke Falusha just to teach these guys a real lesson. …


    What about those casualty stats we’re all waiting for, Dale?

    I mean the update – the stats from March 2003 thru March 2004.

    Come on! Show us! Maybe they’ll even publish your graph once again in the Wall Street Journal ((Link))

  • No, George W. Bush will not blink. He has already stiffened backbones throughout America and the calcium is there to stay. There will be no going back during this presidency, and no withdrawal in Iraq. After his re-election Bush’s actions will lay down even thicker deposits of bone density that will crush America’s fifth-column leftists and paralyze the timorous foreigners.

    After Bush, things will get even better. The good news is that the enervating forces of happiology have begun their retreat from American scientific and educational thinking. The wailings of the evil spirits of feelgoodism have failed to make any inroads into the crusty old American spirits of strength, virtue and will. That is why the media of weasels wail so loud. They are about to collapse.

    Popular strength, virtue and will are growing in power behind the leftist pessimistic stink screen. The presidents and politicians who succeed Bush will continue his benign, forceful and wilful course. There will be no going back. Strong teachers have taken over, and are here to stay.

  • Grant Gould

    As you say, what small children and countries crave is to know what the rules are. The US is hardly alone in being subject to this sort of testing — it is what power diplomacy is about.

    International conflict almost always turns out to have been a bad idea for one of the two parties involved, and so ideally should never happen (because the party for whom it ends up sucking should have settled before things started). But to reach that ideal, everyone would have to know where everyone else’s lines are and how much effective force they have to back them up. Diplomacy between major powers has generally been the art of revealing forces and committing to lines on the one hand, and of testing those forces and the strengths of those commitments on the other hand.

    I for one think that the Iraq war was a blunder — that if anything it makes America look weak and muddies rather than clarifies its policy lines, that it invites more boundary-testing rather than answering the questions. As a result, we’ve seen more boundary-testing from China over Taiwan, from potential nuclear powers Iran and North Korea (and even, good grief!, Brazil), and from moralizing anarchist-types and nuisances worldwide.

    The big question is whether America can hold something resembling a firm line on all of its bright-line commitments, or at least devise a consistant and convincing fall-back from them. “War on Terror” was a big vague statement that invited boundary testing, perhaps more than the current government was prepared for, by its very bigness and vagueness. For better or worse, American foreign policy for the forseeable future is attempting to define what it was meant to mean and prove that America has the forces and desire to make it mean that.

  • Bill S

    Good article Brian, I think we will stay the course in Iraq. The real case for our being there may have been articulated poorly (or not at all), but most Americans recognize the war in Iraq as just one battle in the War on Terror, which is a war for our very survival. We don’t have the option to “stop being the teacher” in the Middle East.

    Europe is another case entirely, and I look forward to a real separation between the USA and Europe (maybe Canada too). Most Asian and Middle Eastern anti-Americanism is just a recycling of European anti-Americanism, which is by far the most hurtful and bigotted and unjustified. It can’t be explained as “testing the teacher”, since Europe has had extensive and undeniable experience of American generosity, benevolence, and friendship over the past 75 years. The end of the Soviet threat gives us a unique chance to walk out on a one-sided alliance which is taken for granted by those who benefit from it so extensively.

    I scan the news daily for evidence of US plans for a breakup of NATO, or any other evidence that the USA is about to repudiate Europe. It would give me indescribable satisfaction.

    Bill S

  • Amelia

    I think that woccam is right. I believe is that a silent majority exists. Yes, you see our media and losers like Moore, inter alia, whining, but there is a significant number in this country that wants even more action taken. The questions I hear (to use that lovely democrat phrase) “around the water cooler” are not whether we should we have gone to Iraq, but questions which ask whether we are doing enough. Questions like: Why haven’t we hit SA directly?, Why are we still giving Egypt aid?, Why do we pay for 25% of the UN?, Is Syria next or Iran? Will Bush’s idea of a low collateral damage war work? Just last night a friend was telling me over dinner that the mistake was that we haven’t waged total war yet, thus the Bathhists (sp?) haven’t had to really surrender. I too worry that like in Vietnam the military is fighting with its hands tied. I hope this isn’t the case. Bush has balls, but I think ironically perhaps his deep religious beliefs have led him into this St. Aquinas type war of which I am not sure I approve. As far as our prior softness, the pendulum seems to have swung back. I think perhaps the “children” haven’t recognized this yet. I know our own media hasn’t.

  • A very good analysis overall, I believe. As some have remarked, this testing goes on all the time among all nations.

    I am not pleased with the conduct of many of the Americans around me at this time, but I live too close to the Berkeley Nuclear Free Zone and am constantly being dogged by moonbats. I do fear the effect the one-sided press will have. Too often, to find the good news about Iraq, one has to go search for papers from Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Too often, all the sensationalist American Media blasts is the sort of disinformation and viciousness that we saw coming out of, say, the Guardian during the war.

    I do hope that this administration will continue through a second term and return to America the spine that the too-liberal Sixties ripped out of it in reaction to McCarthyism. We need to stop enobling victims simply because they are victims. We need to stop dismissing violence out of hand as a solution and remember that historically it is a very effective solution, but one to only be pursued after due consideration and deliberation of alternatives. We need to stop worrying about whether or not people who kill hundreds or even thousands are just ‘misunderstood’.

    You don’t worry about whether or not a rabid or wild animal that has killed a child is ‘misunderstood’. You put it down.

  • Shawn

    According to Charles Copeland’s “argument”, I am not allowed to advocate the pursuit and arrest of murderers and rapists because I am not a member of the Police Force, and not putting my life personally on the line as one, and therefore advocating their arrest would make me a chickenhawk.


    Policies for a better world brought to you by the Cowards Party.

  • Euan

    Anti-Americanism can be split further.

    European sentiment may be motivated by resentment at the loss of their empires, which was accelerated (though not caused by) America. There may also be a distaste of perceived American naivete in foreign policy (i.e. the idea that democracy is somehow contagious and/or that what worked for European colonists in the 18th century will necessarily work for Arabs/Africans/Asians in the 21st). Americans are seen, rightly or wrongly, in some quarters as obnoxious, uncultured and brash with no sense of history and this no doubt grates on the sensitivity of the Francophile wing of European intellectual opinion which is supposedly cultured, sophisticated and high-minded.

    There is also just plain jealousy – America has (for now) the power and cash to call the shots if it chooses to do so. In living memory, Europe did this, and that this is no longer so annoys many European politicians. I suspect America will feel the same way when in the future China, India and/or Russia are in that position whereas in living memory it was America. This is natural.

    Globalisation is widely blamed on America. It is just a trading phenomenon, but sometimes it is seen as going “too far”, especially when local traditions and customs are replaced by a McDonalds on every corner and foreign (frequently US) commercial interests take over large parts of the local economy. This is frequently, of course, the fault of the locals in that (a) in their enthusiasm to get “modern” they try to throw out everything and replace it with American (synonymous in their thinking with modern, Western) culture and (b) their local economy may be so mismanaged after decades of communism/feudalism/bandit-capitalism that it needs a shake down anyway. Naturally, the benefits of globalisation aren’t exactly over-reported.

    In some third world countries, America is sometimes seen as a replacement for the colonial powers – except this time they don’t bring the incidental items such as discipline, rule of law, schools, efficient government, etc. Colonialism without the oppression, but also without the benefits, you might say.

    In every grievance there is some truth. There are instances of avaricious American (and other western) commercial interests taking over local companies and either stripping them bare or getting their fingers severely burnt (then bailing out, shutting things down, firing labour, etc) when their short term greed blinds them to the realities of the (non-American) world they were venturing into. There are many more cases of western business revitalising broken down sectors of local economies and indeed creating new ones, but they tend not to grab the headlines or popular feeling.

    For the specific case of the Middle East, there seems to be a feeling that America has made the world a more dangerous place by decreasing stability. There is, I think, something (but not much) in this. As the article says, provided America stays the course and manages to achieve something positive, then this should change. The danger is that America will turn away as it has in the past when things get politically difficult, unpopular or too complex for American politico-military thought processes. It’s not always enough to change a government, sometimes you need to be the new government and sometimes you have to do that indefinitely.

    To its credit, America is not an aggressive imperial power. To its debit, it doesn’t necessarily have a workable alternative. Consensus, democracy and the desire for liberty are not universal attributes. Iraq, for example, may indeed become a semi-stable sort-of-democracy. It might alternatively be sliced up between Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran (or Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey(?) and Saudi Arabia), or it might fragment into unstable ministates. Since it’s an artificial creation in the first place, this is not impossible.

    If that happens, then what does America do? If its first serious venture in making the world a safer place serves only to, in the end, strengthen local bad boys, what next? They might try again, learning some lessons, or they might turn away. If they turn away, and if this happens before a replacement great power is on the scene and willing to act, then the world is in fact a more dangerous place. I have read (can’t remember where now) that the increasing Latinisation of US culture will inevitably lead to a less outward looking America, Latinos apparently being more concerned with domestic matters such as welfare and health care. The author, IIRC, suggested 25-30 years before America ceased to be interested in the world stage.

    Worst case, failure in the Middle East could accelerate this process and, if that happens, the anti-Americans will say they were right all along. Unfortunately, by then they might be doing so in Chinese or Arabic, but there it is.

  • Another American who appreciates this article. Like others I think it’s a very good analysis, but I think some may have missed that the main focus of the article isn’t Bush, or Kerry, or the administration at all. It’s the Americans doing the voting. Will we vote for Bush, and keep this policy, or vote for others who say the ‘Bush Doctrine’ is wrong and would steer the country in a different direction. I don’t really know.

    I agree that the US should stay on this course, that we should keep after whatever terrorists come up with military force. Unfortunately, I think we all know that there will be no shortage of terrorists for the forseeable future, and thus it will be difficult to decide which are the important ones to go for first. I don’t really want to vote for GWB, I didn’t vote for GWB in 2000 (nor Al Gore), but I think that as far as foreign policy goes, we need to have the GWB administration continue their policies. I am sure that a Kerry administration will not continue them. Therefore, I have to see what happens up until the vote. I’d rather vote for someone more libertarian (neither Bush nor Kerry), but if the vote is going to be close, not likely given that where I live Bush will most likely lose, I will hold my nose and mark that box, on foreign policy issues alone. That’s the way I’ll vote, because the issues Brian writes about here ARE that important, and because ‘We the people’ are the ones that need to determine it.

  • Ral

    Anti-Americanism does not deserve to be given so much attention.

    Try actually debating the issues with these people and you find how flimsy their understanding actually is. Sheeplike they follow what they think is the ‘in’ thing to think without thinking.

    The same thing is true of the Israel/Palestine issue.

  • ernest young

    Insightful analysis Brian, certainly superior to the usual ‘knee-jerk’, politicised stuff we get from the mainstream media.

    I was surprised to read your comment. What is your problem? jealousy of another’s well written opinion, or are you, yet another Euro appeasenik, who thinks that charm, appeasement, or just plain old smarmy ‘sucking up’, will solve this sort of problem?

    That you reside in Luxmbourg may have affected your judgement, after all it is the spiritual home of appeasement and neutrality, and while your opinion and reasoning may be valid for a tiny country like that, I do not think that the same sociological parameters and values work for a country the size of the USA. The smallest kid on the block really has no other viable option other than to appease, while the biggest kid does have several options.

    You may not value your freedom, but then, I don’t suppose you have ever had to fight for it. That you save your biggest sneers for those who do value it, says so much more about you, than about them..

    I often enjoy your writing, and you usually seem to be a thoughtful, and educated type, if a trifle crusty at times, but when you are in this sarcastic, sneering frame of mind, I have my doubts about you. (Why do I visualise a half empty bottle of something on your desk when you write in this manner?).

    To save you having to reply, yes, I know that you could not care less about my opinion re your comment, but I felt that I had to make some reply, more out of a feeling of disappointment at the style of the comment, as much as at the content.

  • Exactly. This truly is a war between cultures, one fatally mired in medieval philosophy; the other capable of going into the future. Clearly this is a war that needs to be fought and won.

    However, see here: href=”http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/printedition/bal-te.obscenity06apr06,0,2803495.story?coll=bal-pe-asection”>(Link)

    If this war’s main prosecutor cannot see how to win it without kissing the backside of Taliban West; if he cannot see that he is pandering to constituents whose ideals are inimical to those he imagines he is preserving; then he is not the man to fight it.

  • veryretired

    While I found your analysis interesting, you have somewhat fallen victim to the conventional wisdom which says that the Iraq War has put the US in a strange and isolated position. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    For over four decades, the US stood as a relentless foe of the spread of Marxism around the world, all the while being continuously derided by the very same voices who now find the Iraq conflict so objectionable.

    The reason former Eastern European countries have supported the US is because they see very clearly that the very same anti-democratic forces that used to be sponsored by the USSR are now being subsidized by the Islamofascists and their collaborators. Pres. Havel didn’t write an open letter in support of the US because he likes our movies, but because he can see a very clear threat to Europeans’ hard won freedom when it starts blowing things up in his face.

  • Sandy

    –Worst case, failure in the Middle East could accelerate this process and, if that happens, the anti-Americans will say they were right all along. Unfortunately, by then they might be doing so in Chinese or Arabic, but there it is.–

    And that’s their choice. They got what they wanted.

  • Lewis

    I object to the claim

    The world is already too full of people who trusted America to support them, and then got let down, not a few of them being Iraqis who were sold a pup by President Bush’s dad.

    I actually remember the words used during the early Kurdish and Shiite uprisings. Many of the leaders stated publicly they did NOT want the US to intervene. Various reasons were given, but the gist is they thought they would win, and they wanted control over subsequent events for themselves. The Kurds did win autonomy. The media was filled with dire warnings if the US intervened, and much ink was spilled on how awful a US intervention would be.

    After the Shiites failed, and their rebellion was crushed, then and only then did the story change. The Shiites weren’t sold a bill of goods. They gambled, including the gamble of leaders that did not want US intervention and subsequent US control, and lost.

  • I would be interested to hear some American responses to what, I think, is a representative view from the European new right.

    America is not the real enemy or target of Islaamic expansionism. America – or American military reaction – is a binding agent for Islaamic radicalism. The idea is to kick the big lunk until he cannot but lumber in action and, insodoing, galvanise a broader swathe of Islaam for the true war against European civilisation.

    In other words, this is nothing to do with testing America’s character. That is taken for granted.

    Look to France for the real test, when it comes in the next ten, maybe twenty years.

  • MC

    Very well said. As an American living in Europe, you have put into words my exact feeling on the subject. The upcoming presidential election will be the most significant decision Americans have had to make in my lifetime.

    If ‘Mr. Vietnam’ somehow wins, the damage that will be done to our credibility and reputation in the world will be severely damaged by the policies that he is likely to implement (or not implement). It may take a decade of serious bloodshed just to get back to where we are now in a post-Kerry world. However, if Bush wins (especially if he wins convincingly) then the rest of the world will be forced to accept the reality of the new situation and will adjust their conduct accordingly. Not that they will become American ‘poodles’, but they will assess their own interests in a way which is more consistent with the reality they have so far denied. Many lives will be saved as a result.

    Most of the common anti-Americanism (as oppossed to the Raving Loony Hatefest of the hard Left) is based on the assumption that the Bush administration is an illegitemate right-wing cabal that the ignorant, simple-minded voters will turf out once they are properly instructed in the evils of American policy. These people need a reality check.

    As for those libertarians who are willing to throw out anyone who does not fully agree with their own narrow agenda, consider this. Are your overall goals more likely to be advanced or harmed if America draws back from the fight against radical Islam? Furthermore, when America resumes the fight (and we would), a much larger war effort would be required than we are currently expending, accompanied by the inevitable centralization and expansion of government power. How does this advance any of your goals?

    The perfect is the enemy of the good and some battles are more important than others. For my part, anyone who thinks that gay marriage, privatized railways and doctrinal purity are more important than the continuance of their culture and the safety of their children are beneath contempt.

  • Dave F

    Sorry, you had tortured your metaphor to death before I could actually “read more”, but got the gist.

    My ffirm belief is that children should be seen and not heard.

  • Charles Copeland

    Ernest Young writes:

    “Charles, I was surprised to read your comment. What is your problem? jealousy of another’s well written opinion, or are you, yet another Euro appeasenik, who thinks that charm, appeasement, or just plain old smarmy ‘sucking up’, will solve this sort of problem?”

    Ernest, I am not a Euro appeasenik. I’m one of those Europeans who criticised Oriana Fallaci’s “The Rage and the Pride” for not being anti-Islamic enough. But I am opposed to doomed military campaigns that will create more harm than good – as is now pretty obvious in Iraq. I’m not denying that the pro-war community have some good arguments, or that the anti-war crowd have (inter alia) a lot of bad ones, such as bullshit about breaches of international law or America being in it for the oil. I’ve changed my mind a dozen times – but I think it’s now clear that the US will just have to clear out gracefully and let the Iraqis solve their own problems.

    Iraq is at best a distraction and a sideline. We are waging the wrong war – for, as Guessedworker brilliantly points out – “America – or American military reaction – is a binding agent for Islamic radicalism. The idea is to kick the big hunk until he cannot but lumber in action and, in so doing, galvanise a broader swathe of Islam for the true war against European civilisation.”

    The problem isn’t ‘terrorism’ as such – the problem is Islam as it sweeps and cleans. France already has a plethora of mini-sized sharia republics ensconced in its major cities – no go areas for non-Muslims, and where you put your life and limb at risk if you wear a skullcap. France is demographically doomed, even if every Muslim terrorist is strung from the lamp-posts.

    Time to discuss the real issue: the rise and rise of Eurabia.

  • Charles Copeland

    Talking about Eurabia …

    I’ve just discovered this essay by Niall Ferguson via Arts & Letters Daily:

    Eurabia? (NYT, 4/4/2004) — (Link)

  • eric

    France is not necessarily demographically doomed. But to change the situation it will take ruthlessness on a scale that would make the Serbs or the Hutus and Tutsis look like pikers in comparison.

    But, Europeans have done it before. I have no doubt they can do it again.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    I don’t believe the U.S. has “an opinion”. I believe the U.S. has “opinion formation” manifested as a propaganda war between an articulate minority that came of age during Viet Nam and an inarticulate, naturally conservative majority whom the minority is bent on changing. This articulate minority observed their success in changing the U.S. view of VNam in the 60’s and went into the business of change by joining journalism and academia. Now they are at the height of their powers and Iraq is made to order for the promotion of their point of view.

    But, even though that’s what I see as going on, it really makes no practical difference. Win, lose or draw in Iraq, the radical Islamists will continue their pursuit of universal Shari’a Law. They must. They are theologically enjoined to do so and have been for 1,500 years. So regardless of what our liberal coteries in journalism or academics think, we will end up fighting Islam internally, on the beaches…etc.

    In that sense this is not a War on Terrorism, it’s a battle in the War on Terrorism that has been going on since my family crest became a Christian sword in the form of a cross over a supine crescent. The only thing that derails the ongoing struggle is industrial war for other purposes.

    No European should be stupid enough to count on the U.S. to do anything in Europe’s interest. “Il faut cultiver notre jardin.”

  • Charles Copeland

    Theodopoulos Pherecydes writes:

    No European should be stupid enough to count on the U.S. to do anything in Europe’s interest. “Il faut cultiver notre jardin.”

    Precisely — and yet paradoxically the Greeks, with their borders to Islam — are the most fanatic anti-Americans in the EU. According to a Greek book I recently read (‘Kala na pathoun’ – English: ‘They had it coming’), Greeks celebrated the World Trade Center atrocity even more than the Palestinians.

    I have many Greek acquaintances (my wife is Greek) — yet it is simply impossible to discuss the Iraq war with almost any of them — they just go into spittle-flecked mode.

    Sorry to rub it in, Theodopoulos, alla etsi einai, distichos. It seems that the Greeks have already capitulated to Islam. I hope I’m mistaken about that.

    Glad to know you’re an exception to the rule.

  • Charles, Theo,

    A few additional speculations on the purposes of A-Q. Knock them down as you please. I won’t object because I don’t know nearly enough about A-Q and what little I do know is likely to be wrong. Anyway:-

    First, I am puzzled by A-Q’s apparent – or supposed – yearning for a second attempt on Poitiers, and beyond. Is it really that all down the centuries Arabs have ached to recover their honour and their western empire, be it for the glory of Allah or otherwise. That seems to be a markedly vane and self-aggrandising mission for a religious cast of mind, even one considered by we sophisticates as narrow and ignorant. Would so many willing suicides be forthcoming in the name of mere revenge and of empire. People offer themselves for the saving of their own kind, do they not?

    Is it possible, though, that in its zeal A-Q yearns, as we often hear, to conquer Christendom and bring us all to the true faith? Is not the spreading of the faith a just cause for wich to die? But are we not infidels? Is the punishment for disbelievers not death?

    No, I think our punishment is indeed death. We will be dispossessed and bred out of existence. That fact is as plainly obvious to Islaamic radicals as it is to the European right. 30% of the population of France under thirty-years old is non-French and that 30% will breed at three, perhaps four times the rate of the indigenes. The outcome is not readable any other way.

    No, if we go back to the old Caliphate we’ll find that Christianity and Islaam were rivals in the war of faith. But modern Europe is not fighting fire with fire. Modern Europe (and America) is fighting fire with Judeo-liberalism, materialism, sexuality and a general and insidious ungodliness – proxy weapons that can lead, for example, to the Iran of the Shah. The war that A-Q has declared, therefore, is cultural. It may seem terroristic. But its true intent is to guarantee the Islaamic natiure of a future Arab Europe, to stamp out the attractions of our culture as well as ourselves with the Arab’s dusty shoe.

    And America? If it does not understand the logic of A-Q it will not defeat A-Q. In any case, China is rising and the Americans must soon look to the east and away from the ancient homelands of what, after all, is a declining racial component of the melting pot.

  • A_t

    Charles, you’re a strange one… rational for days, & then suddenly

    ” It seems that the Greeks have already capitulated to Islam.”

    …just because they hate America? Do you really bought into the whole culture war “you’re either with us or against us” BS?

    I think they probably (like most Europeans) have a little irrational anti-americanism, and a big problem with the current thrust of US foreign policy, along with a healthy contempt for anyone who might try to impose Sharia law upon them.

    To my eyes, there’s an obvious reason why anti-Americanism is strongly expressed whilst anti-sharia/fanatic feelings are not; America could realistically impose it’s will on European countries… muslim fanatics (although they’d like to, and will doubtless try) couldn’t.

    Also, didn’t the US fuck the Greeks over by supporting the colonels anyway? Propping up a corrupt dictatorship’s never the cleverest way to gain the love & support of a people.

  • Susan

    Dhimmitude scholar Madame Bat Ye’Or says that anti-Americanism (and anti-Israelism) has been carefully cultivated in Europe for years by the power elite to pave the way for EUrabia.

    Looking at the way the EU has whitewashed attacks on European Jews does seem to offer some evidence toward that theory.

    Her book of that name is due out sometime this year.

  • Susan

    “In any case, China is rising and the Americans must soon look to the east and away from the ancient homelands of what, after”

    This is an interesting comment. I’ve been thinking about China ever since I read an article in the Christian Science Monitor (which despite its name is a secular publication much respected in the US) which said there were 90 million evangelical Christians now in China. (Evangelical Christianity meaning American-style Protestantism.)

    Another article I read noted that Tibetans (Tibet being the spiritual home of Buddhism) were converting to Christianity in large numbers.

    South Korea is already 30 percent Christian.

    We know that Communism is finished in the Far East. If the trend continues, what are the implications of a Christian China? Will it really be the West-hostile gargantuan that everyone assumes it will become?

  • Percy Dovetonsils

    (Susan, interesting point on Chinese evangelicalism. It would be interesting if China evolved to where it considered the U.S. a bit too leftish in its religious thinking – look at how some Christian sects in Africa think U.S. churches are way too liberal in terms of homosexual clergy, etc.).

    Regarding the article, I can’t really tell you for certain if the U.S. will stay the course. I live in a pretty left-wing area (north side of Chicago), and I know for certain that a large vocal cohort in this town is anti-war, anti-Bush, and pro-appeasement. However, the rest of the U.S. is not like this area (THANK GOD!), so it’s tough to get a full perspective.

    My gut feeling is that there is a commitment to seeing things through in Iraq to where there’s some semblance of representative government – the only reason for that is to avoid another half-assed job like Vietnam, where we had nothing to show for the sacrifice.

    Other than that, I would wager there’s has to be a growing isolationist sentiment against Europe – I would think that Americans would eventually get tired of the ongoing prejudice against them. You can’t keep kicking people in the shins without them eventually kicking back. It that happens, well, good luck if France/Germany/Spain/Greece need any help.

  • Charles Copeland


    Thanks for the tip on Bat Ye’or — I feel quite ashamed to admit I had never heard of her before but clearly she’s a must-read. More here at Frontpage — (Link) but you’ve probably been there already.

    A_t: perhaps I’ve gone a bit over the top as regards Greeks, but if you’d had to listen to the kind of primitive anti-Bush jokes I’ve had to listen to as told by upper-crust Greeks, you might go over the top as well. And I’m no fan of Bush myself.

    Guessedworker: yes, yes, and yes again. Besides, let’s ban the word ‘terror’ from our language. We are not ‘fighting terrorists’. We are fighting (or failing to fight) Islam. But how can we win, in a society consisting of so many sophisticated foxes that know so many things, and so few hedgehogs that know one big thing?

  • Verity

    Charles Copeland – Fascinating post. Yes, Bat Ye’or is a compelling and persuasive writer.

    Are we really fighting Islam, or a radical, obsessive strain of Islam? I think until we determine the answer to this question, it will remain all too dispersed. Either way, we will win, but we have to know what our focus is. If it’s the entire religion of Islam, then so be it. If it’s moonbat Islam, then also fine. But we have to know exactly who the enemy is. Right now it’s all too vague, which is why we don’t go in for the kill.

    My personal feeling is, we’re at war with Islam in toto. Even the “moderates” find themselves unable to condemn the terrorists and suicide bombers. This leads one to believe they are all brothers and sisters under the skin.

  • Another must-read: John Parker’s review of Anti-Americanism, by Revel, at Asia Times http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FD03Aa02.html

    (side note to European readers: In the USA calling someone a cowboy is a compliment. Ponder that)

  • Charles,

    You ask how we can win. But you should ask that first of the French. They stand at the point of the Arab spear. The question to them should be: What affronts will it take, what losses will you sustain before your decadent preoccupations with pleasure and prosperity are finally supplanted by a duty to your people and your homeland. Of course, for libertarians it would be better to ask at what point they might defend our liberty against Islamofascism. But it comes down to the same thing. Fight or die. Demographically, it would be better to fight soon.

    The French – and the rest of us – could and probably will wait until the the enemy leaves no alternative. Waiting is the civilised thing to do, n’est ce pas? But, actually, the war for Europe could be won in a few months simply by setting aside civilised scruples and deporting the offending aliens.

    But at present that is utterly unthinkable in the mainstream. We Europeans have not determined yet to save ourselves. We have not collectively even seen the danger. Nor, in all probability, will we do so while the socio-political agenda is conditioned by egalitarian activism from the left.

    This brings me back to recent comment theads on the dire need to defeat progressives in electoral then philosophical terms. The first cultural war to be won is against the progressive agenda of the last three decades. It must be eradicated root and branch from political discourse.

    But here, too – and speaking specifically now of Britain – we are held back by a lack of will … and more. The mainstream right has accomodated first economic then cultural marxist predations for so long it has been hollowed out philosophically. As yet, there is no social Thatcherism that that might perform the noble and necessary deed of freeing us to focus and act.

  • Dan McWiggins


    We really aren’t at war with all Islam. Islam itself has enough variants to make Western Protestantism look monolithic by comparison. There’s a tremendous distance in religious outlook between Sufi mystics and the Wahhabis, to cite just one example. Both, however, are perfectly justified in calling themselves Muslims although each would probably think the other heretical.

    Our problem is with the virulent Wahhabi strain. I suspect that before this problem is over we will have to have a purging of Wahhabis in the same way that we originally intended to have Germany go through a de-Nazification process. That said, we have no reason to add unnecessary enemies by declaring all-out war on Muslims. There are just too many of them who, even ideologically, simply pose neither problem nor threat.

    As for Brian’s original post, he’s made a very good point. It is, however, subject to the caveat we all know: American foreign policy has a guaranteed lifespan of only one presidential term. Much as I hate to think it, Kerry could be the next president; he would quite likely change much of Bush’s foreign policy. “Testing the teacher,” then, only provides a relatively short-term answer. Those who dislike the results only have to wait a decade or less before they get to try again with a substitute.

    Does this leave the world uncertain about American consistency? Of course. Is there any way to change it? Not long term. In the current situation Kerry could speak up about his intent to follow the same foreign policy as Bush (assuming he did intend to do so) and thus eliminate a large amount of short-term uncertainty. Even if he did, we’re back to the decade-or-less paradigm. This country simply isn’t constant on most things and any foreign nation basing its plans and policies on some supposed American core belief is bound to get a serious shock sooner or later because of a major miscalculation. In my lifetime of less than 50 years, the number of ideas I’ve seen us turn 180 degrees on is mindboggling.

    Consequently, if Brian is right, the United States can expect to continue being tested because the only real constant for us is the possibility of change. The testing will end only when we a) change our form of government, or b) decline to the point where our voice in world affairs is relatively negligible.

  • Dan McWiggins


    Deport them to where? In the case of the French a large number of the offending Muslims are home-grown citizens. Do you know of any country that would be willing to accept France dumping its poor, illiterate, radically Islamic millions on their shores? Given their current unemployment rates, I doubt anyplace in the Maghreb would want them; other places would be even less likely recipients.

    I sympathize with the wish to simply remove the problem but I doubt your idea for winning that cultural war has much real-world viability.

  • Dan,

    The first (Arab) encroachment of muslims in the west was in the seventh century, and brought themto Poitiers. The second, the Turkish wave, which began in the twelth century and lasted five more, brought the destruction of Christian Byzanteum and the siege of Vienna. The third tales the form of land colonisation and dispossession of the indigenous populations. Since this is happening I do not see how the fractious and fractioned nature of the invaders faith makes it all harmless really. It isn’t.

  • Dan,

    Well, it’s a positive suggestion anyway – unless you’re a Moslem. The reality is, Dan, that in extremis people get up and go of their own accord. Usually here, but never mind that for now. Where they go isn’t the problem. It’s how much it’s going to cost to get them there, measured in treasure or conflict or both. The one measurement of cost that we cannot afford is to our moral store. No Wahnsee.

  • Sandy P

    –American foreign policy has a guaranteed lifespan of only one presidential term–

    We know almost 3000 wasn’t enough, but what’s the tipping #???

    We’re going to find out.

    As to the Iraq brouhaha, well, after 23 years, we’re finally engaging Iran.

  • Nice article. Charles – again with the “Chickenhawk” stuff… Come on mate. You’re better than that.

    I don’t know if I buy into the war on Islam thing, either. I’ve met plenty of very reasonable Muslims. I tend to think that either Islam has been hijacked, or the essence of it as it is practice worldwide is susceptible to radical interpretations. But condemning all of Islam would be foolish, IMHO. First of all, it would be like condemning Christianity because you had a doctrinal problem with one insular, self-defined sect. Second, the moderate Muslims are very important if we are to keep the present struggles against Wahabbism, radical Shi’a, and Islamofascism from turning into a general Islam v. West conflict.

    Also, based on my prior experiences in the Gulf, I believe the well educated Iraqi middle class is probably looking forward to the day when they can ply their professions in peace. I met a lot of members of that class during a prior stint in the Middle East, and they struck me as smart, capable people who could definitely govern themselves. And they hated Saddam, and begged us Amurkans to come liberate them.

    That doesn’t mean the Iraqis are about to rush out to the U.S.’ defense in this present little uprising. Fear of death, fear of being done like the Shiites in the South of Iraq got done (or any other ally the U.S. has sold down the river in the interest of domestic politics… paging South VietNam, white courtesy phone. Hello?). So a lot of folks are waiting to see rather than helping the U.S. It’s kind of a Milgram box here, when the situation is considered from an individual viewpoint (the presumption that any one individual can’t change things).

    Wait it out – if it goes good, you win, the country is fine, you have a good result, as good as if you helped and lived.

    Wait it out – if it goes bad, well, at least you won’t have specific enemies in government coming after you.

    Help the US win – if the U.S. loses, it’s your ass.

    Help the US win – if the U.S. wins, you are in good shape… if you don’t get killed by Baathist thugs or Shiite revolutionaries in the process.

    Clearly, waiting and hoping the U.S. squares things away is the easiest route to a good outcome. If an Iraqi is risk averse politically – and I’d suggest that after 40 years of dictatorship that’s the case – then waiting and sitting tight is a good plan.

    Finally, Sullivan has a letter from a Marine NCO or Officer today in the Sunni triangle. He is worried about his Marines, but tells Sullivan the jarheads are happy. The two worst enemies they have in Iraq have suddenly decided to form up all together on the battlefield and try to fight. He believes this is much easier than trying to root them out one by one – even if the Marines have to engage in bloody, dangerous MOUT operations.

    Perry de Havilland’s analysis of a real opportunity the other day was spot on, as far as that Marine leader is concerned. It’s about how I viewed the situation as well – consolidation on the battlefield in the face of superior force was one of the mistakes the Viet Minh made repeatedly prior to 1954.

  • Ted Schuerzinger


    Regarding your comments on Christianity in China, the Samizdatistas just had that discussion less than a month ago thanks to voracious book reader Findlay Dunlachie.

  • Al Maviva,

    Charles is noting the fact that the heartland of western civilisation is being colonised by an alien people with a vigorous, alien culture. Whether they are moderates or fundamentalists is immaterial to the outcome for Europeans. What sort of comfort is there in being able to, “Well, at least they are nice, middle class professionals” – even if it were true, which it isn’t.

  • Verity

    Guessed and others – This article in this week’s Spectator heartbreakingly sums up the whole multiculti debacle. (Link)

  • Frank P


    Your link didn’t work, but I clicked up the Speccie from my bookmark and read David Lovibond’s piece, which I assume is the one you tried to link (my copy, as usual, won’t arrive by post until Tuesdsay.) DL must have been reading Samizdata and Mel P’s blog, unless of course the sentiments are now becoming a spontaneous ground swell of furious indignation that simply has to manifest itself in similar passionate prosody.

    But as I repeatedly ask, “What political party is tapping in to this latent fury?” Certainly not the Tories at present. We have chewed this over on other threads and you, GW and I reluctantly came to the conclusion that they are the only hope, but why is this head of steam not being connected to the whistle of an express train?

    A previous article by Lovibond (11th October 2003 – Spectator) needs to be read in conjunction with this one, as it deals with the concomitant phenomenon of what has happened in Devizes as a result of the alienation of our indigenous underclass of the testosterone-zone, who now see themselves as abandoned by their own government and act accordingly.

  • Susan

    I read the Spectator article. Truly heart-breaking as you say Verity.

    It reminds me of a good scene in an otherwise horrible Kevin Costner movie called “The Postman.” The movie is set in a post-nuclear-war US that has been taken over by barbarian warlords who have enslaved local populations and isolated them from other communities.

    A group of the enslaved (led by Costner) try to fight back by trying to restablish the US Postal Service (of all things) and start delivering mail between communities on horseback.

    One of these Pony Express riders is captured and his mail his intercepted by the barbarian soldiers. They take the mail to the evil barbarian warlord.

    One of the soliders looks through the letters in the mail and says, “It’s nothing. Births, deaths, marriages.”

    The barbarian warlord replies, “It’s EVERYTHING, you idiot.”

    The tranzis and the sheeple who follow them remind me of that scene. The boar statue and all the rest are EVERYTHING.

    The sheeple don’t understand that. But the tranzis do.

  • Verity

    Frank P – David Lovibond may well have been reading the opinions of the Samizdats, as all the best people do, but I get the feeling there is a groundswell going on.

    As I’ve said before, I think Mr Howard is playing his cards very close to his chest. No one of the public knows what he is thinking – an excellent quality in a poker player and opposition politician. Don’t forget, Mr Howard has only been leader for around four months. Blair’s been lording it in Downing St for seven years.

    My guess – he feels strongly about this. He has integrated and become the leader of one of the two major national parties within one generation. Not bad going!

    On the other hand, we have third generation slimeballs in Leicester and elsewhere who burn the Union Jack that hundreds of thousands of real British have died for.

    The Tories are going to have to fight on two fronts: the European “constitution” which Blair is planning to cram down British throats with the same brutality with which he forced “multiculturalism” on them; and the multiculti issue. Either one of these would be a huge issue to fight. Howard & Co are going to have to fight both.

    Fortunately, the electorate doesn’t seem to trust Blair on either. But that’s no guarantee. People often prefer the devil they know …

    The word “racist” has to be denuded and shown to be thus. It has no meaning any more. People should stop fearing it and ask what the accuser what he means by it. I guarantee they will not be able to come up with a spontaneous answer – because they use it only as a weapon, not an argument. The British have allowed this word to acquire the power of a silver bullet and shut down all debate. Which is the intention of Blair and his minions, who fear debate and fresh air.

  • Verity

    Susan – Very piercing. Thank you.

  • The problem with people who espouse the “no boundaries, no limits” principle (ie. most Libertarians) is that they are unable to comprehend that not everyone has an IQ of 120+. The ability to set proper boundaries voluntarily is directly related to intelligence — and unfortunately, that ability probably rests on the far right-hand side of the intelligence bell curve: ie., most people are unable to do so.

    Add to that group the people to whom fuzzy boundaries are an advantage — the lazy, the venal, the rapacious — and it should become clear that the “no boundaries, no limits” thing is about as practical, as well, Communism.

    When it comes to political philosophy, I’ve always said that Communism attempts to suppress human nature, while capitalism just exacerbates it. Libertarianism, on the other hand, simply ignores it — which is why it’s a great ideal, but ultimately impractical.

    “Lord of the Flies” may have been fiction, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    As for the second part of this post (and it’s really two posts, with a thin line to connect them), I have to say that there’s a simple answer.

    Anti-Americanism is rooted in one simple emotion: envy. Everyone decries “capitalist imperialism”, but everyone buys McDonald’s horrible burgers, drinks Coca-Cola, and wears Levis and Nikes.

    Everyone decries American military strength, until Serbs starts slaughtering Bosnians.

    Everyone deplores American culture and calls us “Philistines”, but goes to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster nevertheless.

    Everyone deplores American society, but the lines at our embassies grow longer every day, with people clamoring to be allowed to come here and join us.

    And everyone thinks we are morally flabby and weak, yet when we respond to a grievous attack on our country and our citizens, we are somehow expected to incorporate the morals of France (France?) into our treatment of terrorist nations like Afghanistan, Iraq and (soon) Iran.

    The plain fact is that smaller nations, like young children, absolutely require boundaries. Libya got the picture twice, the first time when America bombed Tripoli and inflicted on Gaddafi a tiny measure of the same misery he had inflicted (and sponsored) on others. The second time Libya got the picture was after we invaded a nation which refused to admit that they had destroyed their weapons of mass destruction — whereupon Libya suddenly decided to “do the right thing”, not from altruism, but from the prospect of having the U.S. Navy anchored off the Gulf of Sidra.

    Why do you think that the new Hamas headman (forget his name) quickly pulled back from including America in his war against the Israelis? Because he knew that the first Hamas suicide bomber to blow himself up in a suburban supermarket in New Jersey would result in daisycutters and MOABs landing on his ass.

    Sorry, this has been too long.

    Does America have the stones to keep the War On Terrorist Bastards going?

    Most of us do, I think. A small percentage don’t. Unfortunately, that small percentage occupies the mass media, academia and the leadership of the Democrat Party.

    We’ll see in November 2004 whether America has the stones.

  • Frank P


    ‘Everyone deplores … everyone decries … everyone thinks … etc. etc’

    Nah,nah,nah,nah! Not everyone. Most English people, particularly those who have experienced your adopted country and it’s amazingly hospitable people, don’t think anything of the kind. But there are many who do, and you are right, it is mean spirited envy that motivates them and downright ingratitude that denudes them of any credibility.

    For my own part I am deeply grateful for the starspangled umbrella that shields me from the fallout of global anti-Western murderous mischief and I despise those who are under it and still trying to poke holes in it. They are all ‘kin’ crazy! Even crazier than the Islamofascists that are perpetrating the suicidal nonsense that sparked all this off: they have some sort of an excuse, I suppose – brain washed religious hatred and a desire for stacked-up virgins. “Help them achieve the multiple-hymened objectives, Rummy. I’m sure the celestial voigins will welcome them with legs akimbo.”

    God help us all if you chose ‘Lurch’ Kerry as your next C-in-C, though. Please don’t terrorise me with that prospect. He’s Uuuuggg-lee! An’ stooopid. Worse, he has that old son-of-a-bootlegger-Mob-associate- bastard pulling his strings. A Kennedy-by-proxy? Wouldn’t have thought Kerry fancied that, given what happened to the dynasty so far. They all seem to die-nasty.

  • Frank,

    Anti-Americanism is not simply a dislike or distrust of America and its role in the world. It has a virulence that flows from a deep aversion of power – power exercised being always, in the minds of the anarcho-left, the parent of oppression.

  • Frank P


    What I fear most is the ovine susceptibility of the hoi polloi who swallow and follow the leftist line pumped through popular medias’ soap, sitcom, drama, ‘satirical’ comedic/current affairs programmes; stand-up ‘comedians’.

    It is pernicious because its appeal is to to stupidy and ignorance – abundant resources in England today. Excuse me if I no longer refer to Britain – that concept is already moribund at best and the ‘United Kingdom’ is now just a piss-take.

    And, of course, the infernal BBC bias. The same BBC who promised after the Hutton enquiry to clean up its act. A prime example of virulent anti-Bush bias this very morning on Radio 4 made me throw my tranni across the room. Justin Webb, ‘Washington correspondent’ on a piece entitled “In Blair Bush Trusts”. Read the transcript on:


    The spin was so intense that the sinistral centrifugal force made me dizzy to the the point of nausea. If the CIA were really the efficiently murderous bunch that leftist historians would have us believe them to be, this sort of subversive propaganda from a foreign correspondent in their own capital would result in a convenient car accident. But of course in the Land of the Free, the First Amendment is paramount, so scum bags like Webb can abuse the hospitality of an ally in any way they please.

    As someone who contracted Yankophilia (and before anyone asks, that is a spelt with a ‘Y’ and not a ‘W’) on my first visit there in 1980 and who has benefited greatly from the generosity of both officialdom and personal friendship ever since, I am ashamed when my compatriots produce this type of poisonous bilge on our National Broadcasting Service. Ingrates all!

  • Frank P


    Sorry – ‘stupidy’ slipped my autoproofread – bad spelliing another abundant English characteristic, it seems!

  • Verity

    Kim – I am another Brit who loves America and is grateful for her existence. I am even one of the (probably very few and far between) Brits who believes in Manifest Destiny.

    And of all of the United States, you are dwelling at the summit of personal freedom, happiness, quick-witted humour and an attitude of helpfulness – the great state of Texas, God bless it!

  • Frank, Verity,

    You may know by now that I tend to an entirely England-centric view of all things. It does, I admit, leave me out on a limb when, as is all too often the case, I find most of my fellow countrymen inexplicably convinced of a contrary principle. And it does, I admit, lead to some strange and contorted, temporary loyalties, such as rooting for the American national soccer team against any true footballing nation save our own. But it is an Englishman’s solemn duty to support the underdog wherever possible. If we don’t do it who will? Not many, I’m afraid. The glamour of success is altogether too strong.

    So, burdened as I am by this essential lodestar, I tend to recoil somewhat from too much unqualified enthusiasm for the glamorous and undeniably successful American Way. To be honest, I can be quite picky about it. More than picky, actually. And that’s what I’m going to be now.

    I’ll utilise the four categories of complaint identified by Kim. First, capitalist imperialism. I am not grateful for anything forced on me from without. Kim answers that nonetheless I exercise choice and, thereby, I consent to the process. But my consent is obtained through the application of a certain force which I am too suggestible or impressionable or weak to resist. The commercial interests being served here may or may not be concomitant with mine. That isn’t the point. My interests are bulldozed – witness the effect on English social life of the jitterbugging WW2 American servicemen. Popular music has been infected with a painfully jarring and pathetic American accent ever since.

    In itself, US military strength is a neutral consideration. Like a gun, it doesn’t kill – or save – anybody. Its application under Policy does that. I don’t wish to get involved in a long analysis of recent US military interventions. Much humanity is evident in them. But British military intervention should ALWAYS serve British national interest. We should never put our servicemen’s lives at risk for any other rason. But, at the very least, there is an argument that the power and energy of America is currently overiding this consideration. I direct readers to my comments earlier in this thread.

    American society is free and economically vigorous and these things are a good. But American society is a wholly immigrant society. This profoundly limits, indeed quite literally colours the American perception of race in the ancient states of Europe. Most particularly since 1965, when the emphasis on European migrants was switched to Third Worlders, a presumption for cosmopolitanism has informed discourse at all levels between America and Europe. The liberal-left nature of American academia, of Hollywood, the music industry et alia has filtered into our too, too receptive culture, and been underpinned by that other American cultural export, political correctness. Indeed, culture war, though incubated in Germany between 1923 and 1933, was born and raised in the USA.

    As to whether Americans are flabby and weak, I suppose Kim means decadent. Decadence is productive of and fatal in decline. America is not in decline. She is not the country we see in the output of Hollywood, and thank God for that.

  • Verity

    Guessed – You raise some interesting points, some of which I actually agree with. For example, the British military should be used only to further or protect Britain’s interests. As it happens, I think we are protecting Britain by being in Iraq because it is the second step in wrenching the Middle East away from their rigid theocracies and rule by bigoted, Stone Age mullahs. But you may, with equal reason, see it in a different light.

    Re American crazes – a libertarian cannot object to people adopting crazes they find appealing. If the people have the bad taste to want them, that is their privilege. I include myself in this. A lot of American crazes and habits are just so damn’ much fun! I agree that the most grating is the phony American accent adopted by pop singers. Probably the worst imitator of American accents in the history of mankind is Elton John. But millions of people, including Americans, buy his output. I have, emblazoned on my brain and I wish it would go away, a repellent memory of T Blair and P Mandelson after their first election victory, up on a stage somewhere – and this was before Alastair Campbell or someone had told Blair to wipe that silly grin off his dial – singing, “Things – can only get baddah”. (Well, they were right – although they thought they were singing “better” with an American accent.)

    I notice that 80 per cent (rough guess) of viperous America haters have vocabularies composed almost entirely of American catch phrases and neologisms. All with a deeply ignorant lack of awareness. This is so striking that I once started making a list, but it got too long and tedious. I remember some wimpy little BBC interview girl asking an American politician if he would understand what she meant by the term “control freak”. He was so startled that he hesitated for a moment – given that the term had been invented in the United States around 20 years previously and had long since lost its currency – before saying, well yes.

    Unlike you, I have no reservations. My admiration for the United States is unalloyed. They are simply better than any other nation. They have never had imperial ambitions – look how many years it too Hawaii and Alaska to get admitted as states. The electorate thought that it was somehow a universal law that America could only be the lower 48. They are breathtakingly generous, both as individuals and as a nation.

    Compared with the bounty they have given the world, their faults – and yes, my toes sometimes curl with irritation – are minor.

    I would agree with you, Guessed, that one of their faults which sets my teeth on edge is their inability to understand nations which have indigenous populations, and their bafflement that we do not want great gobbets of unassimilable cultures in our midst. Even the sainted Susan cannot get her head round this. But I forgive them for this blind spot because we can all only go on what we know and understand. It drives me crazy, though.

  • Frank P

    Having tried through half the night to formulate as profound and thoughtful a reply as your last post, I failed and lay awake for most of the remainder of darkness rueing my literary frailtyand knowing that Verity would have risen early and answered you with similar sentiments to the ones I experience, and in prose that I simply cannot match.

    All I can add to what she writes above is that at times like this, when friends are in trouble, we forget their irritating foibles, put our arm around their shoulders and tell ’em we love ’em. Even if in this case it was someone, viz. Kim, who adopted the USA late in life. He swore allegiance to the Flag and publicly displays his loyalty, though I suspect he does qualify it a little by a Freudian impulse to let slip what he really occasionally thinks about his new country, by suggesting that it is what ‘everyone’ thinks about America – and at times probably does! But I probably do him an injustice.

    As for myself I was definitely sincere in my admiration and gratitude for all the good things that emanate from the other side of the Atlantic, particularly the many friendships I forged there during my travels. What I realised during the first visit was that the scope and scale of the geography, topography, climate and potential was sufficient to assimilate any human desire and allow it to succeed or fail in freedom and comparative peace. I have experienced nothing like it anywhere in the world – yet! It is unlikely now that I ever will.

    The thing that struck me most was that, despite the multinational nature of the States, how much of the English heritage had been exported from here to there and just how resilient it was. And remember that in 1980, my first visit, Anglophilia was rampant except in those centres of Irish Republicanism where the brittle and deep seated resentment coated the ‘smiling Irish eyes’ of some of those of Irish descent. However on one one occasion on March 17, I attended a Paddy’s Day function in Essex County, New Jersey, and didn’t have the balls to inform them that most of ‘Irish rebel songs’ they were singing were in fact Cornish folk songs, or Scottish airs. But that’s America.

    I even interviewed in my later travels a Mafia underboss from Cleveland, John Calandra, during the heat of a Rico Statute trial, when all he wanted to do was to discuss Shakespeare, quote large gobs of it and put me to shame for my comparative ignorance of the bard. Mind you, when he left Court that day, he beat the shit out of the Court hacks with his walking stick and showered them in epithets that I think Shakespeare may well have applauded. They certainly had a primitive poetic ring and expressed his sentiments in unmatchable metaphor that were fully understood by both me and, I am sure, those towards whom they were directed. They scattered with the startled pigeons on the steps of the Court.

    When you fall in love with a country, or a woman, it should be forever, for better or for worse. I therefore have a bigamous national relationship, England and a beautiful paramour, the USA. I insist that my wife approves. I leave you to sort out the mixed metaphors

  • Frank,

    Nought wrong with your prose, mate.

  • ernest young

    A Tale of Blighted Love..

    When you fall in love with a country, or a woman

    I too used to love the Land of my Birth. what a lovely lass she was, so full of promise.

    No sooner had I pledged my loyalty and undying love, than she went and ‘took up’ with some sleaze bag, I think his name was ‘Labour’ Party, or something like that, one who promised her the earth. A promise which he could not fulfil, but he had that glib, smooth tongued way of talking that all conmen have.

    When he tired of her, he passed her on to a relative of his, one ‘Tory’, she was passed back and forth, and so on, eventually she became a regular little ‘gang banger’, a real little slut, who gave her favours to anyone. Anyone who could feed her the funds for her insatiable craving for ever stronger, and ever more delusionary ‘welfare schemes’. There was little hope – she was completely addicted. She is now one very ugly bitch!

    Of course, after much deliberation, and with a heavy heart, I left her, but I kept an eye open in case she ever needed real help, but I fear that she has now gone too far to ever be rescued, or even to be rehabilitated into the real world of normalcy.

    Like most scorned lovers’, I have little sympathy, affection or regard for the former object of my affections.

  • Verity

    Ernest – although the analogy doesn’t quite work for me, I agree with the sentiment. Britain did it to herself. Through greed. Through not being vigilant and allowing conmen and frauds into office. They allowed hordes of those adhering to an alien culture and religion into their country because they feared to be called “Racist”. They allowed unBritish, repressive laws to be passed on hate crimes and thought crimes and race crimes.

    I find England is a very angry country, with a nasty streak I have never encountered anywhere else. Road rage, trolley rage in the supermarkets, parking rage, hospital rage – any excuse to blow their top – because they’re scared of their government and they’ve begun to be frightened of their police. There’s a pent-up fury in England, but I think they will continue to take it out on one another rather get up the collective will to drive a metaphorical stake through Tony Blair’s heart.

  • Ernest,

    I don’t know how far one can stretch the analogy. What I would say is that I am not in or out of love with the old girl. I am one of her sons. One cannot divorce one’s parent or perhaps effect much change in her circumstances. But it is unworthy not to try.

  • Not try to divorce her, of course!! And as for the change of circumstances, if you didn’t desire that why your interest in the political? I think you are les ill-disposed towards to your former paramour than you effect to be.

  • ernest young


    Insighful fellow aren’t you. In the same way that there is none more enthusiastic than the recent convert, there is none more bitter than the betrayed. I to, am a born and bred Eglishman, but living in exile, – it doesn’t make it any easier to bear.


    You are so right about the inate aggressiveness of the Brits. I thought at first that it was my imagination, but others have said the same thing. Reminds me a little of a pack of dogs, arguing over a bone, and that thought may be a little more accurate than I realise!

    On my infrequent visits, I get the impression that the whole place has become one large council estate. A least before the grand Tory sell-off, council estates were, – well council estates.

    Large, boring, depressing areas of brick and concrete, badly maintained and strewn with derelict cars and rubbish, (see Onslow’s house in ‘Keeping up Appearances’, for the real thing), and you didn’t visit unless you had to. The aggressive elements were, at least contained, now they are everywhere. This is, of course, all part of the socialist plan, to bring everything down to a minimum level.

    I think it is something to do with ‘their Rights’, if they don’t assert themselves, then ‘someone’ will cheat or deprive them of, ‘their rights’.

    I am sure the above paragraph will upset a lot of people, and I will be accused of being a snob, (or a Mr. Bucket). Is that a compliment or an insult for someone born in Middlesex Street?

    I know this is a very simplistic comment but after all I am talking about impressions rather than actuality.

  • Verity

    Ernest – I think you’re partially correct when you say that the current English aggressiveness is an over-awareness of their “rights” – but only partially. I think a lot of it is totally senseless pent-up rage – and I think it stems from the knowledge that their “rights” – the right to their own country, their own history and traditions, and their right to speak freely without the hot breath of Tony Blair on the back of their necks – have been surgically excised – and with such a sharp scalpel that they didn’t notice it happening.

    Well, most of them didn’t notice it happening; some did.

    And don’t you think that the current spate of anger over trivialities has manifested itself because they fear to be angry over important things – like freedom of speech and immigration? So they become enraged with each other on the slightest provocation – unwittingly taking someone else’s parking spot is a capital offence – because the government is too monolithic and faceless – and also, they know the government routinely lies to them and manipulates their opinions but it’s all so nebulous and they don’t know who to attack. So they attack each other.

    An example of the criminal manipulation of national policy is Blair’s/Philips’ new soft-focus on “integration”. This is Blair’s form: He ignores the real problem in favour of an easily managable side issue. The real problem in Britain is totally porous borders and hundreds of thousands of people we don’t want pouring in. Blair pretends he has been listening to the public and exclaims: “You are absolutely right! We should have noticed this problem of lack of integration and we are responding by setting up departments, committees, initiatives, targets and new rules to tackle it! My good friend Trevor Philips – himself from an immigrant background, as you can see, because he’s black, which makes him an ideal spokesman for the indigenes, totally agrees with you and will giving some speeches we just thought of to that effect.”

    In such wise does he slither out of his primary commitment to protect Britain’s borders from invasion. People get angrier, but they can’t quite put their finger on it …

  • Verity

    PS to my last comment – I think they’re also angry because the “rights” of the criminal have superseded the rights of the law abiding tax payers who are paying through the nose for their own disenfranchisement, and this is such an affront to natural justice, such a blatant assault on sanity, that people simply don’t know where to turn. So they turn on each other.

    In other words, everything’s going to plan.

  • The huge, irrecoverable flaw in Brian’s thesis is that the relationship between Europe and America cannot properly be compared to the relationship between a pupil and a teacher, so the explanation based on that dynamic makes little sense.

    Europe has a quite different set of values through which to view the world and we should be careful to distinguish military inferiority from any other type. In fact, it is about time Europe woke up to its responsibility to provide the countervailing moral argument and example around which a more enlightened and liberal global order can be formed.

    A policy of turning the world, or at least certain clearly defined parts of it, into something like an American empire, with clear rules, backed by overwhelming force and the willingness to use it in certainly quite clearly defined circumstances, also makes sense.

    Unless you happen to believe that security, prosperity and justice are global public goods that cannot and should not be provided as the by product of what one country considers to be its interests.

  • European anti-Americanism is increasingly vicious. September 11th seems to have tipped it over the edge into full-throttle hatred. Go figure. Normally mass murder would provoke sympathy, not this ugly European schadenfreude.

    At this point, it seems almost inevitable that Europe will be an adversary of the US. Unfortunately the press in the US ignores the issue, and feeds people lies about European good will (like tropes about “sympathy” post-9/11, which were only what the media wanted to show). The reality is much more ominous, resembling something akin to the rising demonization of the Jews in the 1930s.



  • fuck Iraq and Afganistan. Kill them all.