I’ve been reading Jean-François Revel’s brilliant Anti-Americanism and it is one of the most singularly lucid books on US-European relations I’ve read recently. Revel pulls no punches in describing the virulent anti-Americanism that has swept the European continent. Revel makes this note:
Anti-Americanism is at base a totalizing, if not a totalitarian, vision. The peculiar blindness of fanatacism can be recognized in he way it seizes on a certain behavior of the hated object and sweepingly condemns it, only to condemn with equal fervor the opposite behavior shortly after — or even simultaneously… According to this vision — in the sense that Littré confers upon the word: a “phantom projection, a credulous fantasy of fears, dreams, delusions, superstitions” — Americans can do nothing but speak idiocies, make blunders and commit crimes; and they are answerable for all the setbacks, all the injustices and all the sufferings of the rest of humanity.
Indeed, this charge is borne out by the accusations levelled against the American people by the European media. We’re rabidly pro-Israeli, despite the fact that the Bush Administration has restrained Sharon on more than one occasion and have publicly supported the idea of a Palestinian state. We’re too imperalistic, but we need to give more foreign aid to everyone. George W. Bush is simultaneously a moron and the most dangerous man in the world.
Given the kind of vicious anti-American crap like Frédéric Beigbeder Windows on the World and Thierry Mensonge… err… Meyssan’s vicious libel September 11: The Horrifying Fraud, it’s refreshing that there’s a Frenchman who recognizes that the roots of anti-Americanism are the same roots which spawned two of the deadliest wars in human history on European soil. The same blind hatred of America today stems from the same roots of the blind hatred of Jews fifty years ago (indeed, anti-Americanism, anti-globalism, and anti-Semitism are often fellow travellers). Revel’s j’accuse against the continental madness is a work of great courage, great force, and is absolutely indispensible for understanding the nature of anti-Americanism in Europe and elsewhere.