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BBC: 'Death to US': Anti-Americanism examined ~ Why is the wuestion...
BBC ^ | Thursday, 12 April 2007, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK | Justin Webb

Posted on 04/12/2007 10:12:44 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

The US is perceived by many as an international bully, a modern day imperial power. At this critical moment in history, Washington correspondent Justin Webb challenges that idea.

He argues anti-Americanism is often a cover for hatreds with little justification in fact. His three part series takes him to Cairo, Caracas and Washington but it begins where anti-Americanism began - in Paris.

Send Justin Webb your questions about anti-Americanism

Members of the Greenham Common Women Peace Camp
Protests against nuclear weapons often focus on American weapons

In the Abbey Churchyard in the lovely English city of Bath, groups of demonstrators, many - though not all - of them Quakers, regularly gather to protest against the iniquities of the world.

My dear mother Gloria Webb, who died last year, was one of the protesters. In her day, she was an energetic duffle-coated figure who wanted to ban the bomb, stop wars of all kinds and suffering anywhere.

She was a wonderful person, my mum, and so were her friends. Yet it always struck me, when she told me about these protests (and when, I freely confess, I attended them with enthusiasm as a youngster) that there was an odd one-sidedness to the game.

The protests against nuclear weapons, for instance, concentrated on American weapons. The anti-war rallies were against American-led wars. The anti death penalty campaign focused on Texas.

A pattern was emerging and has never seriously been altered. A pattern of willingness to condemn America for the tiniest indiscretion - or to magnify those indiscretions - while leaving the murderers, dictators, and thieves who run other nations oddly untouched.

In the beginning

And if anti-Americanism is alive and well among surprisingly mild-mannered people in Britain - how much more virulent must it be in tougher parts of the world?

Paris demonstration led by Jose Bove
Criticism of American power and American life lives on in Paris

To find out, I have visited Venezuela, where the nation's leader Hugo Chavez compares George W Bush to Hitler, and Egypt, where the regime warns of a tide of stars and stripes burning if its hold on power is weakened.

And Paris. Paris? Yes Paris - where it all began.

Anti-Americanism was born in France. And here's a fascinating fact: it was born well before the United States existed. It was not caused by Coca-Cola, or McDonald's, or Hollywood or George W Bush.

The prevailing view among French academics throughout the 18th Century was that the New World was ghastly. It stank, it was too humid for life to prosper. And, as one European biologist put it: "Everything found there is degenerate or monstrous."

In their heart of hearts, many French people still believe that to be true.

A French intellectual once compared the United States with Belgium. Wounding. But you see what he meant: the French capital has a grandeur about it that demands attention on the world stage. Belgium does not, nor does most of America.

Washington is grand but Washington was designed by a Frenchman and his vision didn't fit the rest of the nation. America is ordinary. Go on say it out loud on the streets of Paris: "America is ordinary". It celebrates the pursuit of small-scale happiness - in families and communities - and that is what the anti-Americans can't stand.

Dislike

In the heart of Paris, there is the Avenue Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt, the man who helped defeat Nazi Germany and liberate Parisian streets, is celebrated here. And the point many French people make is that they would celebrate George W Bush, too, if they agreed with him. The source of anti-Americanism is plain they say. As one interviewee told us: "It's the policies, Stupid."

Bernard-Henri Levy

Bernard-Henri Levy says more balance is needed in the French debate on America

Well up to a point: in Paris there is plenty of evidence to be found that anti-Americanism is way more than that, that it's not simply reasonable opposition to the things America does.

The kind of anti-Americanism fostered by French intellectuals down the centuries revolves around intense dislike of what America is - not what it does.

Sitting in the Cafe de Flore, in the very seat where Jean-Paul Sartre once held sway, the self-described writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy puts it like this: America became the nightmare that French right-wing intellectuals long feared, a nation built not on respectable ties of blood and tradition but on the self-conscious desire to create something new.

Antagonism

Levy is sympathetic to the US, and a book he wrote on his travels there, American Vertigo, is a balanced and thoughtful piece of work.

But such balance is, according to Levy, missing in the French political debate on American power and American life. He describes a process whereby this antagonism to the fundamentals of the USA - to the kind of democracy that celebrates and encourages ordinariness - migrates hither and thither in the French body politic.

It began on the right but now in the shape of Jose Bove (the anti-McDonald's campaigner, and presidential candidate) and other luminaries of the left, it lives on.

And this is not a recent migration brought on by Mr Bush. In May 1944 (just weeks before American GIs landed on the beaches of Normandy), Hubert Beuve-Mery, the founder of Le Monde newspaper - certainly no mouthpiece of the right - wrote this: "The Americans represent a real danger for France, different from the one posed by Germany or the one with which the Russians may - in time - threaten us. The Americans may have preserved a cult of Liberty but they do not feel the need to liberate themselves from the servitude which their capitalism has created. "

It is time that we understood that this attitude, this contempt for what democracy can do, is at the heart of at least some of the anti-Americanism we see in the world today.

"Death to America": Anti-Americanism examined will be broadcast on Radio 4 over three weeks starting on 16 April at 2000 BST.


Justin Webb will also answer your questions about his trip and Anti-Americanism. Send him your questions using the form below.



TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: antiamericanism

1 posted on 04/12/2007 10:12:49 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: All

We need spell check for titles....

typo -—— Why is the wuestion.?..

Should be .....Why is the question?..


2 posted on 04/12/2007 10:14:33 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ....that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
argues anti-Americanism is often a cover for hatreds

More often it's a cover for envy.

3 posted on 04/12/2007 10:15:52 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I highly recommend Paul Hollander's magnum opus, Anti-Americanism. Its an in-depth and unvarnished look into why people hate the freest and most humane country in all of history.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

4 posted on 04/12/2007 10:15:56 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
to the kind of democracy that celebrates and encourages ordinariness

Excellent article, but I would disagree with this line just a bit. I would change it to: to the kind of democracy that celebrates and encourages the extraordinariness in ordinary people and situations.

5 posted on 04/12/2007 10:20:58 AM PDT by The Blitherer ("What the devil is keeping the Yanks?")
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: goldstategop

Are you talking about Anti-Americanism: Rational and Irrational?

Or this one - Understanding Anti-Americanism: It’s origins and impacts at home and abroad?

I like the topic and saw both at Amazon and was wondering which was best?


7 posted on 04/12/2007 10:27:51 AM PDT by cpanter (9/11 - first time in history that fire has ever melted steel - Rosie the Hut)
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To: All
. . .The Americans may have preserved a cult of Liberty but they do not feel the need to liberate themselves from the servitude which their capitalism has created. "

That is the bottom line. Fear of American strength and belief that ANYONE can become anything they want with the freedom and wherewithal to attain it.

8 posted on 04/12/2007 10:29:12 AM PDT by misharu (US Congress = children without adult supervision)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

#1 has a target on its back. Same as always. People hate those at the top, because they want to be there—goes the same for countries.


9 posted on 04/12/2007 10:30:06 AM PDT by Cyclopean Squid (A Day Late and a Dollar Short)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

This all made sense to me after talking to an educated Lebanese Muslim, who was convinced beyond any argument that the US used *most* of its defense budget to support the Israeli military.

And thus, by his thinking, if the US stopped spending vast amounts of money on the Israelis, then Israel would fall and the Jews would have to leave. Therefore, it is *all* the fault of the US.

He had seen the great power of the Israeli military in action, and he refused to believe that any army could vastly larger than them. It was beyond his ken.


10 posted on 04/12/2007 10:30:30 AM PDT by Popocatapetl
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

This Webb guy is going to get raked over the coals for this if the rest of the pieces are remotely as sympathetic. If I were in his shoes I’d be afraid for my career. (And I’m not exaggerating.)


11 posted on 04/12/2007 10:33:52 AM PDT by Sandreckoner
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To: goldstategop
List from Amazon...

Paul Hollander ....and others

12 posted on 04/12/2007 10:34:14 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ....that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
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To: Sandreckoner

Yes, doesn’t fit the image of the BBC around here....


13 posted on 04/12/2007 10:35:50 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ....that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Who cares if we are not the most popular little "butterfly" at school! The USA is taking care of bid'ness!


14 posted on 04/12/2007 10:37:45 AM PDT by avacado
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To: avacado
The French are annoyed though.....LOL!
15 posted on 04/12/2007 10:45:05 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ....that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
"The US is perceived by many as an international bully, a modern day imperial power.

Every time I hear this garbage it pisses me off. If that were even halfway true, a lot of these brainwashed morons would already be little more than smoking craters.

Oh well, don't let reality intrude. We are dealing with left-wing moonbats, after all.

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

16 posted on 04/12/2007 10:45:59 AM PDT by Joe Brower (Sheep have two speeds: "graze" and "stampede".)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I saw that list. I need a recommendation of which of his books is best. Can you help?


17 posted on 04/12/2007 10:49:47 AM PDT by cpanter (9/11 - first time in history that fire has ever melted steel - Rosie the Hut)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The French are annoyed though.....LOL!

I have been to Paris enough to know that half the bridges over the Seine River have people taking open air craps underneath them. It's disgusting, and apparently a "feature" of the French "culture!"

18 posted on 04/12/2007 10:52:12 AM PDT by avacado
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To: The Blitherer

Well said! I didn’t like that characterization either, and you’ve corrected it perfectly. People need to read some biographies of Medal of Honor winners to really tap into the truth of your statement.


19 posted on 04/12/2007 10:54:50 AM PDT by jagusafr (The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not")
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

...The kind of anti-Americanism fostered by French intellectuals down the centuries revolves around intense dislike of what America is - not what it does....Oh, now I see, I’m supposed to give a rats ass what French intellectuals have thought about us. I wonder who would have won the war in Europe for the French Intellectuals?


20 posted on 04/12/2007 11:00:45 AM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway
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To: misharu

That is the bottom line. Fear of American strength and belief that ANYONE can become anything they want with the freedom and wherewithal to attain it.

You just nailed it! When I was a young student in Europe in 1968 the ONE huge ‘lesson’ I took away from that experience was that, in Europe, everyone was BORN into what they were to be. Period. I will never forget the impact that realization had on me.

It’a ALL about class structure. The Europeans who hate us are convinced that their ‘system’ is superior because it provides ‘safety’ - they don’t have to push themselves, or take risks in life (many of them are living in houses that have been in their families for generations) because ‘life’ is all spelled out for them from the moment they are born.

Lastly, the first time I toured the White House I was struck by how very appropriately it represents the USA. Unlike the palaces of Europe, in which their so-called leaders reside (except 10 Downing), the White House is very small, understated, and reflects the fact that ANY citizen can aspire to become POTUS.


21 posted on 04/12/2007 11:15:47 AM PDT by hardworking (USA: So bad that half the world hates us and the other half is breaking their neck to get in!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
“America became the nightmare that French right-wing intellectuals long feared, a nation built not on respectable ties of blood and tradition but on the self-conscious desire to create something new.”

What right wing intellectuals! When was the last time you can think of a right wing French intellectual? De Tocqueville? And he had good things say about America!

“The Americans represent a real danger for France, different from the one posed by Germany or the one with which the Russians may - in time - threaten us. The Americans may have preserved a cult of Liberty but they do not feel the need to liberate themselves from the servitude which their capitalism has created.”

France was left leaning almost from the beginning of their Revolution. Bourgeois, whether its economic or artistic meaning, is still a French word of contempt. Though equality is stressed with socialism France still wants to be the first amongst equals. Unfortunately, French language has lost its all important cultural significance that once allowed it entry into the great houses of Europe and Russia; France had lost to the Germans in three wars from 1870 on and needed the help of the culturally inferior US to bail her out in two of them. Then the worse thing possible: the spread of English as the new universal language from this upshot startling nation with no culture to speak of. The French are beholden to the US and resent them for it — it makes them feel more inferior than the inferior backwater status the French have always given the US (and Canada). In the end, they are ingrates, par excellence.

22 posted on 04/12/2007 11:17:25 AM PDT by Blind Eye Jones
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To: cpanter; goldstategop

I haven’t read any of them....but I need to .....so I’ll be interested if ...goldstategop...can help us...


23 posted on 04/12/2007 11:17:55 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ....that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Hi Ernest!

I’ve read this book by John Gibson. Gibson, IMHO, is one of the “ordinary” experts that America grows in bumper crops. He may not know anything about, say, early Indian artifacts, but when it comes to Anti-Americanism in the EU, John Gibson is the “go to” guy. It’s beyond the comprehension of the EUs that an ordinary man who has an established position in a world class organization should just one day decide to study on something else. From all that I have observed over the years, so many EUs got to one definition of themselves and just stayed there. This is also what I got from this first installment of the BBC seires.

http://www.amazon.com/Hating-America-New-World-Sport/dp/0060760516/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/103-5349280-4727814?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1176402285&sr=8-3e

24 posted on 04/12/2007 11:36:56 AM PDT by ishabibble (ALL AMERICAN INFIDEL)
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To: ishabibble
Hey thanks...and from that link I see this:

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President--and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time (Hardcover)

25 posted on 04/12/2007 12:39:28 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The DemonicRATS believe ....that the best decisions are always made after the fact.)
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To: Mr. Mojo

A cover for envy, or even the opposite, a threat to elitism.


26 posted on 04/12/2007 12:47:21 PM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
There's also Robert W. Kagan's Dangerous Nation which argues the reason we're hated is we MUST spread freedom and free markets. Its in our genes and there will always be those who will hate us for WHO we are. We're dangerous precisely because we are the first universal nation in history. Our ideas can work anywhere and those who hate America hate her because they know that they do. It can't be helped and that is a very good thing indeed.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

27 posted on 04/12/2007 12:47:57 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Dead Dog

True enough. A bit of both, I suspect.


28 posted on 04/12/2007 12:51:28 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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