Thursday, May 02, 2002

WHY DO THEY HATE US? No, not "why do the Europeans hate us," but "why do the Americans hate the Europeans." It's a question Euros haven't thought to ask until recently. In fairness, they've been so busy chiding us for our "simplistic" foreign policy and "unilateralism" and explaining to us, speaking slowly and using small words, that "you -- have -- a -- public -- relations -- problem -- with the rest of the world," that they haven't had occasion to flip through an American newspaper or magazine to learn how America views Europe. They've grown so accustomed to kow-towing American reporters hanging on their every snide remark about American society-culture-government-fast-food-sports-you-name-it that it never occured them to wonder what 280 million people -- running the world's largest economy, armed with the world's most powerful military, and really, really angry about the murder of thousands of their countrymen -- thought about them. And so it's with almost child-like wonder -- "gee, look what I just found out" -- that the Times of London, reporting on American media coverage of Europe, writes:
The past fortnight’s comment in the media and politics has been so poisonous, so homogenous, and so voluminous, that it amounts to a sharp change of national mood, and is a real diplomatic problem of its own.
You don't say? Now, the Times' awakening is only partial, since it bizarrely blames this new-found diplomatic problem on Le Pen's first-round "victory" in the French presidential elections. No, lads, Europe's had a public relations problem with the United States ever since about, oh, September 11, 2001, when European intellectuals and politicians taught us that lovely German word, "schadenfreude," by personal example. It got worse when Americans could clearly see across the Atlantic burning synagogues and Jew-baiting that Europeans couldn't seem to see in their own back yard. And Europe's problems with the American street probably peaked when the American public saw European elites put their money where their mouths are -- on Arafat's thugocracy. No, lads, after that, the French giving a nationalist-socialist-protectionist crank a crack at the presidency was really just comic relief. But carry on. At least you're asking the right question now.

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