FRANCE and the US




Christopher Jones wrote: For those Americans who still cannot grasp why the world now completely detests America's governing elite, I am including access to the story of the murder of a 13 years old Palestinian girl who was literally made into a piece of Swiss cheese by an Israeli soldier. Tim Brown replies: I have personally helped pitch up the remains of Vietnamese peasant women whose fetuses had been torn by the Viet Cong from their wombs and stuffed in their mouths to kill them even as Euro-leftist anti-Americans poured into the streets of Paris simultaneously chanting their favorite hate America slogans and other slogans singing the praises of the Viet Cong, while totally ignoring their atrocities. I have dealt with the aftermath of indiscriminate planting of land mines by Nicaragua's Sandinistas by helping those maimed and dismembered by them even as I read veritable reams of panegyrics in European newspapers and magazines glorifying the Sandinistas to the high heavens; in my district in Vietnam, I spoke at length with country peasants who remembered atrocities committed by French forces during their own Vietnam war; and, yes, I have also visited both Dachau and Deir Yassin. And let us not even begin to discuss the atrocities committed by Framce in Algeria or its former Africa colonies or even at Devils Island up until after WW II.  For someone so given to throwing unidirectional brickbats exclusively westward across the Atlantic, Mr. Jones himself lives in a exceptionally fragile glass house.
 
As for me, I know first hand that wars are ugly matters of violence during which the unspeakable often happens.  I was personally involved in five of them. But, and very unlike Mr. Jones's Europe, where every single person on the continent down to the last street urchin hates America because of Iraq while ignoring the guerrillas who have killed twenty times more people in equally ugly ways, even though they were far more guilty of deliberate atrocities, I do not hate all Vietnamese, Sandinistas, French, Germans or Jews. I suppose this marks an important and unbridgeable difference between us.
Tim Brown wrote: "But, and very unlike Mr. Jones's Europe, where every single person on the continent down to the last street urchin hates America because of Iraq ".  From Greece, Harry Papasotiriou says: I sympathize with Tim Brown's frustration, but this statement is clearly wrong.  Many Europeans across the Continent support the American endeavor in Iraq.  Even among those who opposed it at the outset, there are many who now wish it to come to some successful conclusion.  

 

Tim Brown wrote of: "Mr. Jones's Europe, where every single person on the
continent down to the last street urchin hates America because of Iraq ".
From Greece, Harry Papasotiriou said: I sympathize with Tim Brown's
frustration, but this statement is clearly wrong.  Many Europeans across the
Continent support the American endeavor in Iraq.  Even among those who
opposed it at the outset, there are many who now wish it to come to some
successful conclusion.  Tim replies:I agree.  But, read carefully.  It's Jones'
perception of European public opinion that is wildly skewed, not mine. I have
lots of friends in Europe who are understanding or even agree with US
policies, but apparently not a single one of them exists inside Mr. Jones' tight
circle of friends.
John Heelan from UK writes: Perhaps it is not surprising that Tim Brown and Christopher Jones do not have friends in common.  :-))    Perhaps Tim also should consult some of the independent population surveys on Europeans views of American policies.


WAISsers know that anti-Americanism is a loaded emotional term, and it can mean different things to different people. If by anti-Americanism we mean opposition to U.S. policies, then there is a great deal of that here in the U.S., as the recent presidential election revealed. However, if anti-Americanism means opposition to U.S. culture, values, and especially people, that is a different matter. Do we have statistics indicating widespread global opposition to U.S. culture, values, and people? Obviously, traditional societies are adamantly opposed to U.S. cultural infuences, but not secular ones. From Paris to Ankara to Caracas to Shanghai it seems that American culture is popular, perhaps because U.S. companies export culture via music, movies, foods, etc.  When I visit relatives and friends in Paris, I have to endure the usual criticisms about U.S. policies and jokes about American society, but they demonstrate no animosity toward the American people. And even the jokes about the commercialism of American culture is superficial, because European culture is just as commercial. My view is that there is an ideological and political chasm between the U.S. and the rest of the world in general as Chris points out, but it more or less ends there. The question is what lessons must we and our government learn from the anti-Americanism of the rest of the world, and how must we react? Must we be defensive, or constructive and engaging?


Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: March 17, 2005