Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

“Knee-jerk hatred”

Hurrah! As President Bush heads across the pond, The Periscope keeps up the good work of finding useful links and the like, and the New York Times reports that the Pres will make the sensible point that “our strong friendship is essential to peace and prosperity across the globe – and no temporary debate, no passing disagreement of governments, no power on earth will ever divide us.”

Meanwhile, The National Review celebrates these attempts to heal the transatlantic rifts with a simply brilliant piece of stereotypical nonsense which almost reads like a parody of the worst examples of American anti-Europeanism of the last few years.

It hits all the bases in an absolutely atypical over-exaggeration of all that’s wrong with ‘Urp – usually based on some kind of reality, but distored beyond all reason. In fact, it’s almost an exact mirror-image of the worst sort of “anti-Americanism” that has come out of the EU over the last few years – only more so:

  • The EU’s economy is reliant on that of the US? Check.
  • European militaries full of “rapists, thugs, robbers, and killers”? Check.
  • Hypocricy of the likes of accusing EU states of basing their foreign policies on their “very large oil and other investments”? Check.
  • Europe is anti-Semitic? Check.
  • The problems in the Middle-East are Europe’s fault? Check.
  • We have “fancy schools like Eton”? Check.
  • We’re ignorant (“In Britain, only a small fraction of people under 30 knew anything about Auschwitz”)? Check.
  • France “eagerly collaborated in the Holocaust”? Check.
  • France is “playing enabler to anti-Semitic terrorism”? Check.
  • France and Germany are obsolete (“if they were American sitcoms, would be cancelled”)? Check.
  • France and Germany’s only policy motivation is “anti-Americanism”? Check.
  • Policies not based on hatred are based on “arrogance”? Check.
  • They also hate “the culture of the American people”? Check.
  • French and German opposition to the war on terror is purely populist? Check.
  • Everything is Europe’s fault? Check.

Fun fun fun. Even when Bush finally starts to try and rebuild old friendships, certain sections of the US (and, yes, also of the EU) have so completely swallowed all the bullshit that’s been bandied about that all they can do is spew it back out again. This is precisely why hyperbole is not a useful tool in political discourse. What should happen is approximately this:

Bush: Right, I admit it, there were no WMDs and no links to al Qaida, we just wanted to get rid of Saddam. Partly to open up Iraqi oil again, partly – genuinely – to bring democracy to the country. And yes, I know it’s hypocritical to try to promote democracy in Iraq when two of our key regional allies are the military dictatorship of Pakistan and absolutist monarchy of Saudi Arabia, but we have to go with what we’ve got. Yes, I also know that Iraq hasn’t gone as well as it might, and that we buggered up the post-war planning something rotten, but we are trying. Honest.

France and Germany: Fair enough. We opposed the war primarily because we had a sweet deal going on with the Iraqi regime, but also because we genuinely thought your reasons were bollocks and didn’t like the direction your foreign policy seemed to be heading (yes, partially because it seemed to make us increasingly irrelevant on the world stage). And – yes – you’ve got a point, opposing your administration is a good vote winner where we come from. You’ve got us there. But still, we reckon you fucked it up pretty bad, and your utter lack of tact and diplomacy when talking about our attitudes at the time hardly helped matters. You could have won us round if you’d had a bit more patience and were slightly less aggressive. No one likes a bully, and that’s how you were coming across. It pissed us off, because we know you’re bigger and stronger than us, but sizable chunks of our respective populations still think we’re genuinely world powers. We know we’re not, but we have to make a show of it every now and again…

Bush: Yeah, my bad. So, you on side for clearing up the mess now?

France and Germany: Yeah, go on then…

*France, Germany and Bush skip off hand in hand for a great big love-fest, as Tony Blair sits on the edge of the bed holding the camcorder*