Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Latent Anti-Americanism


The way things have always been....

France, 1885:
Jaques: I hate the Americans.

Frédéric: Me too.

Jaques: What should we do to express our disgust?

Frédéric: I'm going to build them a great big statue that they will put in a harbor and hold out as a symbol of their country, then I will laugh and say, "It's a great big lady, and she looks like my mother."

Jaques: Formidable!
When I read that the Iraq war invigorated the anti-Americanism that has always been latent pretty much everywhere , I can't help but wonder... who is the speaker actually describing. What a double standard. We can express absolute contempt for any nation we wish, or for its leadership, but we're not "anti"-that nation. We're doing something else, like standing up for truth, justice and the American way. But when other nations express consternation that our foreign policy is affecting their interests, ooh... there's that omnipresent "latent anti-Americanism" becoming patent again.

I've been to quite a few countries and guess what? I've found that people in other nations are fully capable of distinguishing between an individual American and the policies of our government. If Ms. Applebaum's experience has been different, which I would be surprised given that her travel likely involves floating by chartered jet and limo to five star hotels and restaurants, it's probably less a reflection on attitudes toward America and more a reflection of how she treats those around her. If she's arguing, "Oh yes, I am treated just fine, but then they criticize the policies of my government," well, boo hoo.

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