Scandalous anti-Americanism

The Times of London reports that a joint French-German history textbook “is coloured by anti-Americanism, according to one of the historians who wrote it.”

Guillaume Le Quintrec said that the book, Histoire / Geschichte, contained “unashamedly pro-European ideology” and an underlying distrust of the United States.

But he said that German historians had fought to prevent their French counterparts from introducing an even harder anti-American line into the book….

It starts in 1945, a convenient date that enables the authors to focus on “memories” of the Second World War rather than its causes…. The next stage is the Cold War, where the US and the USSR are presented as broadly equivalent in moral terms. Both were engaged in an arms race described as “the balance of terror” and both sought to “impose themselves by an omnipresent propaganda” that involved “gross exaggerations and simplifications”.

A substantial section of the work is devoted to the EU — a startling success story and a beacon for the rest of the world, according to the five German and five French scholars who worked on the project. “Through its willingness to co-operate with the Third World, its attachment to multilateralism, its dialogue with other regions, the EU appears as a model on the international scene,” it says.

By contrast, modern American unilateralism “enshrined by George W. Bush is widely criticised throughout the world”, it says. Music, cinema and other forms of culture are “dominated by American multinational firms, which are the main beneficiaries of the free trade”.

M Le Quintrec told The Times that it was “largely right” to describe the work as antiAmerican. But he said that German historians had insisted upon softening the message with sentences such as: “Some people, notably in Germany, consider the US to be a power which defends democracy in a world where the UN is not always able or willing to do it.” …

This is beyond disagreement over policy and beyond an effort to find balance. Too much of what I hear today approaches bigotry.

  • bit torrent

    Much of that is true. It is just that Americans are taught a biased and censored version of history. Many can’t even point to their own country on a map. What about Vietnam? Communist witch-hunts? More recently America’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq which is even poisoning the air in Britain, your country is currently imprisoning people without trial, torturing, what about all the dictators you have put in place (Saddam!)? The death penalty. Unfair trade agreements, trying to force GM onto third world countries. You say your country isn’t immoral? You try to impose your own morals on countries (abstinence). Hollywood does dominate the world.

  • jmc

    bit torrent

    > It is just that Americans are taught a biased and censored version of history

    So tell me how you are such an expert on the U.S K-12 history curriculum? Or what Americans know? Lived there for many years, have you?

    Or are you just parroting the propaganda that you read in the Guardian and Independent and watch on the BBC and Channel 4?

    Oh I forget, Michael Moore told you the truth…

    If you had actually lived in the US for any amount of time, living and working with ordinary Americans, you would know that the America portrayed by the media in the UK and Europe (and the Michael Moores of the world) is nothing but a vicious parody of reality.

    What passes for news reports in the British and European media remind me more of the ‘news’ broadcasts from Radio Moscow and Radio Prague back in the 1970’s than any kind of objective reporting.

    And of course the Europeans have been such a shining example. The Germans elected a government that murdered millions of people, the EU allowed the genocide of hundreds of thousands of people on its border, the CAP is the biggest single cause of third world poverty. Etc, etc. The list of European sins is very very long.

    I suppose this is why Europeans obsess so much about Americas ‘sins’. Its because the Europeans have so many more , and so much more hideous sins, to be ashamed of.

  • Will Pollard

    “Through its willingness to co-operate with the Third World, its attachment to multilateralism, its dialogue with other regions, the EU appears as a model on the international scene,” it says.

    By contrast, modern American unilateralism “enshrined by George W. Bush is widely criticised throughout the world”, it says.

    Copied from the Times article

    You know what? Maybe there is a point here

    It did come out of the discussion at We Media that many people in the Middle East don’t feel the need for more explanation of US policy from Bush. They know the policy and they disagree with it.

    It also struck me that the repeated attack on China’s restriction of free speech was not balanced by reference to other parts of the world.

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Jeff,

    I am more offended by the anti-Americanism in domestic media.

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Also, never assume malice when stupidity covers the case.

  • http://www.skin-live.com/ sam

    YOUR BLOG GOES TO SHOW HOW RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC PAPERS ARE OFTEN GOVERNED AND DOMINATED BY POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS . IS THERE ANY THING SUCH AS FREE THINKING AND FREE CHOICE OF OPINION IN THIS HIGHLY POLITICISED WORLD?

  • ZF

    What have the Romans ever done for us?

  • dfrisme

    > It is just that Americans are taught a biased and censored version of
    > history. Many can’t even point to their own country on a map. What
    > about Vietnam?

    The sad truth is that Americans aren’t taught (or at least aren’t learning) much in the way of history – at all. They pick up bits and pieces here and there from the odd source. Tom Hanks or George Clooney movies, MTV, etc.

    I had a co-worker once who was clearly confused about whether World War II preceded Vietnam and was astounded to find out that Japan was once our enemy (Sony our enemy!?) This was not a stupid person, but a decent corporate programmer with a college degree.

    As to the main topic, all history and news is biased. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply hasn’t been exposed to or seriously considered different points of view. Its silly to think that one could learn much about history or current events from reading any one source. The though that a citizen learned history from a single source is a lot more scary than any bias that might or might not be present.

    Sadly, our solution in this country is not bother with learning annoyingly complex history. You simply pick a party and let the “talking points” gurus do your thinking for you.

  • will pollard

    dfrisme

    when you say ‘this country’ could you be specific?

    guess you mean the USA but Buzzmachine now reaches far and wide

    UK much the same by the way

    will

  • dfrisme

    will pollard:

    This country = USA

  • http://unbeknownst.net Kirk

    The kids of Europe aren’t stupid, they’re going to notice(maybe because of blog reading) a disconnect and distrust their government, schools etc.

    I’m not a fan of Bush but to say the EU is a huge success seems a little odd considering their farm subsidy issues and inability to grow their economies.

  • http://www.beatcanvas.com Brett Rogers

    For those who say that American kids aren’t taught history is not true where I live. Here in Iowa, my daughter graduated from high school with a deep interest in German history and, influenced by her classes here, requested two European history books for Christmas – one of which she received (I believe it was called “The Germans.”)

    I’d say that it depends on where you live and what is taught, but such blanket statements (“Americans are taught a biased and censored version of history”) are silly and incorrect.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    There is absolutely nothing anti-american in your quotes. There is just a huge contrast between the tolerance the author has in favour of EU, which of course, never was a model for anybody and the neutrality towards the US, which then, relatively, sounds negative.
    I am actually shocked by this part: “Some people, notably in Germany, consider the US to be a power which defends democracy in a world where the UN is not always able or willing to do it” because it can only be read today in reference to Irak. America does nothing useful in Irak, it just makes it easier for Iran to build nuclear weapons. Nobody serious, in France or Germany,would ever contest the greatness of the US when they came to Europe in 1944 – but this is just not the same thing.

  • http://www.scaredmonkeys.com Tom

    To all the United States soldiers who served in Europe during the Cold War, I thank you.

    To the countries that had the extra money to fund social programs instead of national defense, they are resentful. When France and Germany knock the US actions over the last 50 years, they are really knocking their own selves. They knew they could not stop the Soviets on their own and were under the protection of the United States. Once the threat was over, they act big and brave, but if they were ever endangered, they would come running to the United States.

    Lets hope Germany and France do not ostracize the United States to the point that we fail to heed the call.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    France built the bomb not to have to call the US in case. De Gaulle actually did not believe the US would come “in any case” if France was attacked.

  • Mike

    Just like we didn’t come twice before.

  • clinton

    I think every country should hate itself like america does (but more). patriotism is bad. If were busy critisising ourselves we be less likely to run off and police the world.

  • clinton

    we should kill those frenchies. and dont get me started on the gerries

  • http://www.scaredmonkeys.com Tom

    Thierry

    You said that DeGaulle built the Bomb because he did not trust the US to come to his defense, but at the same time we invested BILLIONS to provide the protective layer in Germany to keep the Russians out when they were committing their expansion.

    The part that horrifies me is that we spent Billions of dollars to ensure your security and survival, and there is only resentment. After travelling in France the majority of the population remembers what the American saving France and visiting the American Cemeteries http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/am.php , especially the one outside Chateau Thierry (ironic, huh) makes you appreciate what America has offered in the past.

    And then my last point. America has power that is unstoppable. Yet we do not use it to take over countries to be part of our territory. Would the Soviets have been so benevolent? Was France? Got to throw this out, when France was powerful they did the behavior that you attribute to the United States of America.

    Just some grist for the mill.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Mike,

    1) As I hint you’re less than 85, “You” did not do anything yourself. Just try to take some credit for your parent’s or grand-parent’s heroism (which, btw, is a typically aristocratic attitude).

    And in 1944, Roosevelt, Churchill and Pearl Harbour were needed to force the US intervention – maybe not in that order. But the US certainly did not come for France, although NOBODY denies how good it was for France that “you” came.

    You should also know that the american military doctrine after the 60s was to not confront russia directly in Europe as long as russia fought with conventional weapons. Nobody can guarantee a US president would have taken the risk of nuclear war for a european country – and the UK actually made the same reasoning and tried to get the bomb as quickly as they could.

    Nobody moved for Prague. As Russia was by far the greatest european power by conventional terms, De Gaulle was probably right strategically – just read Kissinger books for more details.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Tom,
    If you think I have the LEAST resentment against the US, you are just COMPLETELY wrong. I just LOVE the US – not kidding at all now.
    And if you think I don’t differentiate between the US and soviets, you are EVEN more wrong.
    And although I can’t talk for other french people, I do believe a vast majority of french people absolutely feel like me – I don’t view myself as an exception at all.
    Now, I just don’t like ideas when they become too general or “cliche”. Let me give you an example for instance. You say “was France so benevolent when it was powerful… ?”. This is very complex question in fact because:
    – France was powerful about 100-200 years ago and, you will agree with me, that’s other times…
    – France clearly exploited colonies it conquered but never totally destroyed populations as the americans did with the indians, for instance
    – Although France, as a power, clearly had what I would call “very bad” behaviour in colonies, this behaviour ultimately stopped because of ideas that very much owe to the French “lumieres” (Voltaire, Diderot, etc…)
    – Actually, the US “for the good” ideas today are also clearly derived from those french thinkers, whether you are conscious of it or not.
    – So, pushing the reasoning a bit too far, I agree, I could say that everywhere there is a fight for freedom, it is, in part, a french fight – whether France as a power supports this fight is another story that has to do with “real politik”. You see, sometimes, France just does not behave as it should.

  • http://www.scaredmonkeys.com Tom

    Thierry

    Great comment, and it seems like we are at 2 degrees of seperation, more quibbling than arguing. I just get nuts sometimes when you try to do something correctly and those that you are trying to help pick at you from 100 different directions.

    I do not think you are, and if you are it is being done constructively. Thank you.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Also, coming back to the real topic which is the history book, I would like to give you a different point of view, after what I’ve just read in the french press.

    The only reason the Europ. Union really exists is because it is a protection against war in western europe, particularly agains franco-german wars. In that sense at least -and probably in that sense only – it can really be considered as a model.

    Just to show you how big the threat still looks here, you should know that the french and german historians who wrote the book have so far limited their work to the post world war II period – which is a period of reconciliation – because they feared they would never come to an agreement for the earlier periods. They are just starting now their work on pre-war time and agree it is going to be difficult…

    Then things are quite complex. After world war II, France clearly opposed USSR, building the bomb but Germany had surrendered and feared that ultimately the russians would come.

    A lot of germans wanted the US missils to go away because they may create nuclear war. Russia’s propaganda was very successful in convincing young germans that the potential threat was american and the “better red than dead” movement got strong in Germany where as it remained weak in France. Ironically, most germans may owe their freedom today to the fact that the theories they were defending in the 70s did not succeed.

    So, touchy story. But now, what should kids remember ? The only important thing is peace and the european union. I don’t disagree with that.

    And,although I have not read the book and theerfor don’t want to stand as its defender, I tend to believe it is most probably inappropriate to qualify it as “pro” or “anti” american. It is just not the right angle. That book is probably not in any case very interested in America. It is about “what should you say to kids to make franch-german reconciliation last” ?

    As a comparison, suppose you are a journalist and you see a bear climbing up a tree for honey. You may very well report that the bear is offensive to the tree because of its claws, the fact mat be true in itself but you will be completely out of topic. The bear is just looking for something else. Same thing with the book.

  • http://www.mediarambo88.blogspot.com Leon Paczynski

    Well, it depends where you are in Europe as to how you see the USA. The further one moves eastwards into Russia the more suspicious the people are of the United States – they miss the certainties of having an empire. In the “New Europe” of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and other new members of the EU, the view is more balanced and often sympathetic (which does not necessarily mean knee-jerk support for US foreign policy). But in the western part of the European Union, the “Old Europe”, public opinion can be downright hostile. It is probably the worst in Germany and not surprising. Post-war Germany (the one on the western side of the Berlin Wall) got the lion’s share of assistance from the US under the Marshall Plan. The more one gives the greater the hostility in subsequent generations.
    Negative and bigotted European attitudes to America have little to do with their actual reaction to US foreign policy. They are but excuses for deeper conflicts and complexes in the psyches of the Brits, French, and Germans.
    The other night Jay Leno had a joke about an illegal immigrant lambasting the evils of America and when asked what are his demands he replied: “I want immediate US citizenship!”

  • Rich Banner

    Thierry,

    Love this:

    —1) As I hint you’re less than 85, “You” did not do anything yourself. Just try to take some credit for your parent’s or grand-parent’s heroism (which, btw, is a typically aristocratic attitude)—

    That in a nutshell is the European culture except replace heroism with any minor advancement.

    When people from Euroland talk about culture what they really mean is what someone did a very long time ago. It of course has nothing to do with them. I disagree with you that it is an aristocratic sentiment; I think it’s probably more of a racist attitude.

    But it is an excellent point. And one I think everyone from the “new world” should remember when you hear “You _________’s have no culture?” What they mean is a member of our tribe did something newsworthy a long time ago…so there!

  • bit torrent

    Rich are you *seriously* suggesting that America has more culture today than Europe?

  • EsmeV

    “Through its willingness to cooperate with the Third World”? This is absurd. The EU provides massive agricultural subsidies that keep Third World products from competing fairly in European markets – and in turn keep Third World countries in the 3rd world. The US does this too. So people from the Third World come to Europe to find work (illegally in many cases) and what happens?

    Who does the EU cooperate with in the Third World? The dictators, that’s for sure. Just like the US.

    Let us not forget the French in Algeria and Vietnam, the Dutch in Indonesia. They did not leave willingly – they fought to retain their colonies, and all this quite recently (after WWII). Ever wonder why these countries are so rich? Centuries of plunder.

  • Will Pollard

    Slightly off topic, I have heard that German almost became the official language in the United States. Did I imagine this? A lot of my ideas about history come from the radio when not paying full attention. Anybody know where or when?

  • http://liberpolly.livejournal.com/ Poul

    > “Rich are you *seriously* suggesting that America has more culture today than Europe?”

    i am not Rich, but yes, absolutely, orders of magnitude more. i am european by birth and education, and artist by trade. almost no new interesting art is coming from europe in the last few decades, be it painting, music, books or films. with very few exceptions, it’s all horrible reused clichés of american culture of decade ago. europe is dead culturally. or at least resting. pining for fjords.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Rich,

    I wrote this comment as I was a bit angry with Mike’s comment so I knew that in my comment, the word “aristocratic” was negatively connotated.

    Actually, in today’s society, the word “democracy” can be used to justify any behaviour positively and “aristocracy” negatively. It’s not so simple.
    People, as a whole, inherit from their fathers, genetically or not. Yes, german kids are in a way the fruit of nazism and Mike, in a sense, did come to free the Occident. It probably does not make any of them a priori better in terms of human beings, but it does constrain and influence their life and their children’s.

    Although nobody really knows how “this” transmits, it is just absurd to deny it. There is a very strong principle behind the fact that aristocracy ruled the world for thousand years – I am not taking ANY moral stand nor trying to push aristocratic regimes – just observing.

    Coming back to the french, which I know best, of course, Julius Cesar wrote 2000 years ago that they were “arrogant, disorganized, noisy usually divided and not able to reach agreement, remarkably smart and inventive at some times” (among some other lines that are still one of the best descriptions of France today). Now 2000 years later, french are not genetically gauls, there have been many invasions (from Rome, Goths, Germans – Franks were actually a german tribe, Huns, etc…) but this character has been kept. (At least, most american people agree with Cesar).

    And then about what you say about “culture”, very hard to say anything because “culture” is a complex notion that you can take at different levels: culture is what you inherit whether you want it or not, I mean consciously or not, but it also relects your intellectual or social level, so an american farmer does not have the same culture as a Harvard graduate, I really can’t answer generally.

    But Leon, you are wrong if you think Brits or Germans or French’ attitudes towards America are lead by resentment. Al Qaida is lead by resentment, not europeans in general. Sentences like “The more one gives the greater the hostility in subsequent generations” are just an absurdity. There is an extraordinary love of french, starting with me, for the americans in general.

    Approving the US foreign policy is just different matter. Your children may very well not approve present foreign US policy and that won’t make them anti-americans.

  • http://www.mediarambo88.blogspot.com Leon

    Thierry
    Of course, it’s not good to generalise as to even what public opinion really is in such countries as for instance France. But there is a general attitude in Western Europe that everything across the ocean is crass and primitive. Still, I would rather be served breakfast in a US diner than in a French bistro, regardless of how much I enjoy French cuisine. Am I anti-French? Of course not, just expecting that a customer should be welcomed rather than just tolerated. But this is a problem that even French customers complain about.
    As to your point about resentment not being a valid basis for knee-jerk anti-Americanism. When the French and Brits had their empires they behaved with a viciousness that surpasses any of the excesses of the US in Iraq. Think back to the Algerian War. Even today, when France wants to intervene in its former colonies it does so decisively and without first turning to the UN for permission. On those occasions French opinion makers, Le Monde, for instance, do not rush to condemn and cry about the disregard for the wishes of the international community (whatever that is). So there is resentment for the loss of influence, loss of empiresand, more important, loss of economic clout in a global economy. But, again, let’s not generalise. If we can agree that there is resentment we can also agree that it has its unique qualities in each country.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Leon,

    a) Chances are you’ll live longer though if you eat in Bistro. Did you visit France and not only Paris ? Your description of bistro looks like you just saw Paris. Do you think I should generalize to American what I saw in New York City ?

    b) Again, “we”, at least have a chance to intervene in colonies where as “you” can not ressucite indians. You can only make (very nice) movies about them. But the second part of your statement is really so general and approximative I just can’t comment. just one thing, whatever France or anybody did in Algeria or anywhere else, it is not a justification for Irak.

    Don’t take me wrong. I don’t think that the US as a people or as an army are acting so bad in Irak. I just think that no real good will come out of it, except may be, if you consider this with Al Qaeda’s or Iranian’s eyes.

  • http://moviesandmore.typepad.com Patricia

    ZF
    Well, there’s sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health… :)

    I’m beginning to think humans cannot live without bigotry. The black civil rights movement was about blacks being equal, finally, in a country they loved. The left has appropriated liberalism, illegal immigration, feminism, and a host of other -isms since then, all to Stick it to The Man, the ‘Man ‘being America.

  • Dave_Violence

    “The next stage is the Cold War, where the US and the USSR are presented as broadly equivalent in moral terms.”

    John Le Carre ghosted this history book?

    Speaking for myself, an American who graduated from a public (not the same as a British public school) high school in June 1981, my history classes pretty much covered “American” history from 1492 on. I wrote a paper on Francisco Pizzaro when I was in 4th grade; we learned about Cortez, de Gama, Magellen, et al. We covered the events of 1776, too. I was 13 in 1976 and we had a lot of fun. We covered the American Civil War in great detail and even took a field trip to Gettysburg. We didn’t much cover WWI, but we did cover the GReat Depression, we did not cover WWII in high school. I supplemented that by building plastic models of German tanks and reading lots and lots of books on the subject (much like a lot of my peers). We skipped up to the Civil Rights movement beginning circa 1950. We covered domestic politics during Viet Nam. One of my history teachers was a Viet Nam vet (a marine) and, this was 1978, he had a lot of slides to show us and was a tough dude – and a Civil War buff. We even got taught civics, how to vote, etc.

    The real history lessons came in college. It got more intense in terms of required reading, learning about the Polk administration, etc., etc., etc.

    I’ve found that most of the “kids” I meet (like nephews, neices) who are engaged with grade school are learning the same stuff I did.

    As far as the “ignorant of history” types in the US go, it’s pretty much the drop outs who’ve become self-made celebreties (oh, how about Johnny Depp) who reinforce this stereotype. While they were out making millions of dollars, the rest of us were in school reading the history books.

  • http://ipex2002.blogspot.com Will Pollard

    Here is a truly shocking example of the kind of thing that appears in parts of the Comment is Free website hosted by the Guardian

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/martin_kettle/2006/05/a_house_built_of_straw.html

    “Sledge – you really are a bizarre North American conspiracy theorist.

    Lets ignore the fact that Iran’s hardliners have different ideology and tactics from AL-Quaeda, have deepseated ideological antipathy aganist Al-Quaeda, have severaly divergent interests from Al-Quaeda, have never been credibly connected in any way, have nearly gone to war against the Taliban that shiekded Al-Quaeda, have had their client and ally in Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Masood assasinated by Al-Quaeda, helped the US plan and attack Afghanistan and Iraq. Lets ignore all that.

    Yes, yes all anti-American groups are united in a plot against America.

    Everyone who is hostile to America gets on really well with one another, and never gets on with anyone who likes America. Because they are not each motivated by a complex web of interests and ideologies, they are all motivated by EVIL.

    Thanks for proving my point about being incapable of seeing anything but black and white. ”

    There is a point in here , and I think it is maybe a useful thing that the US audience for Buzzmachine should realise the extent of the discussion in other places. The context is the removal of the UK foreign secretary and apparent UK support for military threats against Iran.

  • Ronnie in New Orleans

    Thierry….

    – France clearly exploited colonies it conquered but never totally destroyed populations as the americans did with the indians, for instance

    Next time I visit a local casino I’ll be aware that I’m supporting the extinct.

    Your basic knowledge of US and French history is deplorable.

    Makes me embarassed to be of french descent.

  • http://www.mediarambo88.blogspot.com Leon

    Good comment about the Indians.

    The French sold Louisiana so I wonder how they would have behaved had they kept it. As for the English, in British North America they forced out the Acadians in probably the first ethnic cleansing on the continent. Though, at least British policy vis a vis Quebec after they defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham laid the groundwork for a future Canadian confederation.
    As for the benefits of the EU as regards the French and Germans not fighting another war, of course, that was the basis for setting up the original community after WWII. But on the micro level things are still not historically neutral and so they should be. For example, the EU does not prohibit the French from keeping residence requirements for German citizens to own property in some parts of France (effectively barring them) in such places as Strasbourg, in Alsace Lorraine, a bone of contention between the French and Germans for ages. Historic legacy is not something which is cast aside even within EU structures.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Ronnie,

    Yeah, very good comments about the Indians. Makes me really feel good about Indians. I’ll definitely try to remember it next time I see a panda at the zoo.

    Also, I really apologize for my basic knowledge of US and french history. I just did not expect my thoughts to be so rigorously and smartly analyzed by such an expert as you are. I really feel squeezed by your mind power, now. Next time, I will even avoid thinking without contacting you first.

    And Leon, the EU has absolutely NOTHING to do with barring or not barring german citizens to buy property in France. French law – and EU law – is completely clear about that and considers this illegal. Living in the US, you may hint that sometimes, some individuals can discriminate whetever the law -and courts – rule. Remember KKK ? BTW, just go to Strasbourg or Alsace and you will see PLENTY german real estate properties.

    You know what ? I feel the most interesting things have now been said about the initial topic of the post, which initially consisted in, if I remember well, comments about a history book. May I unmodestly add they were said by me ? So I’m not going to debate anymore about this.

    That’s the pb with us, french people, we are sometimes so arrogant…

  • http://www.mediarambo88.blogspot.com Leon

    Thierry
    First of all, I am writing this from Canada and not the United States. Do look a little more closely at EU law; it is much more complicated than you seem to think. If things were simply automatically ‘illegal” by virtue of EU membership there would be no need for the European Court of Justice. For instance, Denmark negotiated opt-out provisions when signing the Maastricht Treaty that effectively restricts Germans from buying up property in Denmark. And I have been to Strasbourg, although many years ago, and at that time I heard German civil servants at EU institutions complaining that they had to commute across the border because they did not have sufficient residence time to be allowed them to buy property. Perhaps those rigours have since changed. But perhaps, a little less sureness on your part that things are “absolutely” would be welcome in your exchanges with readers of this blog.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Leon,

    I don’t feel my comments are absolute. I feel they are just, by far, the most moderate of this thread – although I am ready to admit the present sentence may be a significant example of the moderate nature of my comments.

    I am of Alsacian origin.

    The PRESENT situation is:
    – most Alsacians will mechanically complain that they feel too much property is being bought by germans.
    – individually, no alsacian would EVER refuse to sell to anybody who offers a good price.
    – the law ABSOLUTELY prohibits discrimination
    – what you have heard about EU civil servants can’t have anything to do with law or german origin. EU servants have some loan priviledges, allowing them to buy property when they serve for a certain time in Strasbourg/ Brussels or wherever. Minimum presence is needed to be eligible for this benefit, whether you are french, german, english… is not relevant.

  • http://www.mediarambo88.blogspot.com Leon

    Well, you are obviously unwilling to learn about the intricacies of EU law when you persist with that ‘absolute’ word. The web has lots of resources on this topic. Start with the principle of subsidiarity and it should be a revelation to you to what extent EU law differs in its implementation at the local level in such areas as property ownership across member states .

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    What a revelation. I’m just converted to your arguments. Thanks again.

  • http://www.mediarambo88.blogspot.com Leon

    Great!

  • guargle

    In following this thread, I’ve been amazed that “Thierry” fails to acknowledge the thousands of Algerians killed in the decolonization process by pro-French forces, not to mention the massive amount of casualties inflicted by French armies during their various, abortive attempts at extending the borders of their “Hexagon” or “liberating” various and sundry places like Vietnam, Egypt, Rwanda and Alsace-Lorraine of their oppressors.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Guargle,

    I’m amazed that “you” fail to acknowledge that the thousands of Algerians killed by french (why just “pro-French” ???) forces are absolutely not relevant to the debate, and just introduced in various comments to defensively change the subject of the discussion.

    As for Alsace-Lorraine, you’ll be happy to learn this is now part of the hexagon, so at least some of our attempts were not that abortive, even though I don’t fail to acknowledge the importance of US / british acts in that huge success. Just read my posts.

  • guargle

    “Thierry” if you look back in the thread, you’ll see a comment you made about the fact that, though France had colonies, at least they didn’t totally destroy the indigenous population. Come to think of it, neither did the US. What France did do, during its “mission civilizatrice” was to oppress, and then kill those who wanted what the citizens of the “Hexagon” wanted, way back in 1789: freedom from masters. But France continued to offer its version of “liberty” to the colonies, even after the tragic example of World War II should have taught it that colonization, whether of coloured races or whites, is morally indefensible. Oh, did I mention Haiti? And France continues to practice cultural oppression to this day towards its cultural/ethnic minorities. Or are the people of Britanny/Alsace/Lorraine/Corse happy being having French culture and language crammed down their gullets? Oh, maybe it’s because decades of intensive cultural repression has all but killed local culture that most historic minorities are quiescent in France today. Thank “the Supreme Being” that the Beurs had enough of your hypocritical cant!

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Guargle,

    I now understand why your comments are anonymous and mine public.

    You’re just ashamed of your content while writing it and would not be happy to have to endorse it publically.

    Oh, and BTW, you are still completely out of topic.

    I will quote a french author for you, although you probably don’t deserve it.

    “Le besoin d’avoir raison est la marque de l’esprit vulgaire.” (Albert Camus). It means the need to be right signals the vulgar mind.

    Please, DON’T throw me a quote back. I won’t be answering comments that are too low level as your last one anymore.

  • guargle

    How classic, Thierry!! Deny the accusation by dodging the question, apply a little calumny to undermine the opponent’s integrity, and top it off with a reference to an fashionably hip existentialist/absurdist who worked against (French) the colonialists. Maybe the “la France eternelle” should take his maxims to heart. Hats off to you, or should I say”chapeau!!?”

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Just say your name. It will show some progress.

    You can also re-read my posts, I don’t think you got all their subtility.

  • guargle

    No need to. I’ve been a little mollified by reading through your blog: some pretty interesting stuff. And if you really want to have a name to attach to my rep, you can call me Enguerrand.

  • Will Pollard

    Here is another quote from a comment at Ohmynews

    ————————————————————————–

    http://english.ohmynews.com/reader_opinion2/opinion_view.asp?code=2070068&menu=c10400&no=292296&rel_no=1&opinion_no=4&page=&isSerial=&sort_name=&ip_sort=

    Bagasama, 2006/05/17 12:07
    Time has changed, the world has changed, a great deal of perceptions have changed around the world.

    The biggest change of all, after the disintegration of the old USSR, and after 9/11, the US has now become a universally recognized Super Bully who only looks after their own selfish interests in total disregard of all the others in the world under a very narrow-minded, dishonest and dumb regime which still upholds the old cold war assumptions.
    South Korea has also changed a great deal. The younger generation prefer to have more dialogue with the North instaed of taking orders from Washington to treat North Korea as evil untouchables. Washington despise the so called “sunshine policy” and they prefer military confrontation instead.
    No matter how much the GNP (the opposition party in Seoul) might be interested to support the US policy, they also have to listen to what Korean people want, otherwise they just cannot gain power.
    To call this as US-Korea conflict is incorrect, since the US clearly still has the upper hand.
    Only the US has to recognize that Korean Pennisual now need a different approach and a more equal, open-minded policy to deal with Seoul insead of an arrogant commanding position to order Seoul around at all times, whether rightly or wrongly with an outdated mindset and pre-conceived prejudices.

    ———————

    There are complexities to living in Korea. The views about China expressed at We Media were a bit simplistic as they came over for me. There needs to be more discussion around this.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    Thank you Guargle, because I really have a hard time defending US image in France and defending French image in english-written blogs… I insist on the term “image” because, when you go beyond imagery, there is really no need for defense and much more understanding.

  • John

    As an American, while I am driven up the wall by the ignorance of some of my countrymen and general lack of intellectual interest, I have been living in western Europe for six years now, and experience much of the same from French of Germans.

    Germans know almost nothing of the Poland or the Poles, except that they are disgusting and stupid, and one can go there for a good sex trip, but that’s about it. Many also like to tell me how much similar the relationship between Poland and Germany is to that between Mexico and the US. The ignorance is shocking. The US never murdered 20% of Mexico, and then got money for it, as the Germans got from the Americans after the war, on whom they spit now, but that’s just the nature of these supermen.

    Many Germans also take great pleasure in telling me why an Arab would want to cut my throat or those of my family, while they don’t seem to realize that they’re quite a lot of people in the east whose parents and grandparents were butchered by the Germans, and then were stabbed in the back by the Americans after the war.

    The French don’t know much about that kind of stuff either. Love to tell me why we deserved 9/11 even after getting away with all their colonial bullshit for years. They’ll get their September 11th one day. I don’t really care any more. Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans, French, Aussies…all really the same.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    french think so much that 9/11 was well deserved that there were over 20 million people in the streets on 9/12 to commemorate. The same happened in the UK and Germany, BTW.
    And everybody here is quite conscious that a french 9/11 is very likely.
    I will never understand sentences like “germans killed 20% of Poles” coupled to “then got money from the american for it, on whom they spit”. It is full of approximations, lies and you are just merging 3 or 4 generations of people.
    One of the reasons why the US have shown greatness in 1945, in comparison with Russia for instance, is that they have actually freed the Germans and really revitalized the country. I don’t understand how you can criticize that.

  • John

    To have freed the Germans and then stab our allies in the back for more murdering from the Soviets – countries the Germans were in the process of exterminating – needs to be criticized. This is the exactly the same kind of stuff for which Germans tell me so many countries hate us.

    And for many of these countries, WWII is still very much reality. No so for countries who are top of Europe and can tell Eastern Europeans what they have to do.

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    The US did not “stab their allies in the back” as you say. They have no direct responsibility in the way Russian handled eastern europe, except maybe some lack of judgement when Roosevelt negociated with Stalin at Yalta. But Roosevelt was sick and Churchill did not say much either at the time. “stab allies in the back” mean doing intentional and direct harm. This is definitely NOT the case.

  • John

    And would you like to tell me what in “20% of Poland was murdered during the war” is lies and approximations?

    Now, to their credit and the credit of many living in Eastern Europe, I have met nobody there who enjoys telling me these things or that on top of all the horrible things that happened during the war, they were stabbed in the back at the end of the war by the Americans. Unlike most Germans or French I meet, they don’t take pleasure in telling me how horrible my country is, even though, after reading some basic history, I see that they have every right to.

    If there were people in Europe who would want to spit in my face, I would expect them to be Poles, Czechs, or Ukranians, not Germans or French, as is the case.

    That is what I find so disgusting about the Western European anti-Americanism. Many of these people are still living in 3rd-world conditions but seem to be able to forgive and forget.

    Germans, with their fat 3rd-largest economy in the world, get off on demonizing Americans.

  • John

    Read a history book. The Poles had the 5th-largest army among the allies. Put together with the army fighting in Russia (Berling) it was bigger than the Free French army.

  • John

    It was not intentional or direct, but it was completely without honour and gutless, and did DIRECTLY lead to the FURTHER suffering of those in Eastern Europe. This at the same time as those who started the war, (including Italy), benefit.

    I really want to puke when I think about this.

  • guargle

    Hmm, John seems to miss the point that Germany, as the U.S. likes to think of it, just doesn’t exist anymore. The political culture has completely changed, and in place of the hyper-aggressive deutsches Reich, you have a federal republic that is a byword for pacifism. And the anti-Americanism shown by western Europeans, though a bit hysterical at times, is a natural outgrowth of disappointment in their perceived image of the USA. But perceptions go both ways, John, and if a plurality of Germans have a negative view of Poles, then the same can be said for the perception of Germans by the Poles, Czechs, etc. These images are NOT grounded in present reality, but are based on memories of a Germany, a Europe which is no longer. It’s also a bit naive of you to “expect” eastern Europeans to “spit in your face” when to them, their escape from Soviet captivity was brought about by the USA winning the Cold War. Or was that just a rhetorical device to drive in your point about how western Europe should kneel down and kiss America’s ass 24/7?

  • http://www.wouarf.com/blogtk Thierry

    John,
    One thing where I think you are wrong is that there is that much anti-americanism. Criticizing the US from time to time -and I admit more often at times – is not really anti-american. We have a proverb that says “Qui aime bien châtie bien”. It means “Who likes well punishes well”. A bit hypocritic, I admit, but whatever the critics, there is general, over 90% consensus in France in favour of the US. There is no confusion between the US, former USSR, etc… whatever you think.
    Then there is something I found on this blog and I find more and more. It seems like if you criticize any US policy as I’ve done, many people think you are anti-american and have very strong reactions. Again, I am not anti-american at all. I have bad opinion of Bush or US policy in Irak, but exactly the same for Chirac and Mitterrand – and I’m not anti-french either.
    Finally about poles: I don’t think they make any confusion either between the US – who lacked vision at Yalta – and USSR who directly oppressed them. Responsibility is just not the same. US attitude was not “gutless” and without honour. See how many US people died in Europe. Stalin acted quickly and skillfully, at a moment where Roosevelt was very sick and feable. You should read Churchill memories. Ironically, de Gaulle, who could not attend Yalta bec. Roosevelt could not bear him was the only one to immediately understand what was happening and to tell Churchill -almost in your terms – that the deal was evil. I still believe his terms and yours were exaggerated.
    About the poles having the 5th largest army at the time, I remember people saying Saddam had the 4th largest army when Bush 1 invaded Irak and it is really very similar. NOBODY doubted that the poles would immediately be defeated by Germany. The big surprise of WWII is just how quickly France, who had fought so heroically in WWI, was defeated.
    And then, about how many poles died, I don’t know about your 20% rate but it may be true. Jews certainly represent a large proportion, maybe 50% of this number, and unfortunately, poles, at the time, were certainly more responsible for this rate than the US are responsible towards poles. It does not make the number less tragic though. Just food for thought because it seems nothing has been learned and anti-semitism is strong in Poland again today. Finally, I agree with Guargle when he says Germany does not exist anymore, and the same is true for most EE countries, including Poland, Romania,etc…They try to compromise between EEC and the US, thinking it smart to take “the better of both worlds” whereas in fact they are behaving like satellite, non independant countries. Since England now not only chooses the “great shore” but also takes its orders there, France remains the only existing country in Europe with Russia.

  • Ron

    Interesting to see the many attempts to find rationsal roots for Americanisn.
    As someone who lived in the British Empire before its disintegration, in the U.S. and Canada for many years and who has spent extended periods of time in Europe, I have reached certain conclusions about the anti-American phenomenon. Here are some:

    1. It goes with the territory of super-powerdom. While Britain remained a leading world power, anti-British invective was ceaseless (before and even during World War 2, some of it came from America. Should the US miraculously become small and destitute the problem would go away.

    2. No need to look for causes in American foreign policy or domestic shortcomings — Lord knows that those doing the criticism have their own,.(Think France in Algeria, Vichy anti-Semitism and ahem Indochina. Think Belgium in the Congo. Think even Norway (google “Lebensborn”). Think Germany)
    No. The common root of most anti-Americanism is not the superior morality of the critic but envy of America’s wealth and influence by those who wish they had it and those that once did and lost it.

    4. Do not forget the special axes that are ground by this bigotry:
    The U S is a succesful capitalist power. To socialists this is an irritant.
    U.S. power and resolve more than any other factor, caused the implosion of the USSR. This for unreconstructed Marxists is unforgiveble. Do not forget home-grown, guilt-based anti-Americanism — the British had it too.

    3. Do not expect any thanks for American contributions to their own well-being such as the Marshall Plan and their protection from Soviet domination from 1945 to 1989. I think it was Talleyrand who said “There is no gratitude among nations.” He knew whereof he spoke — he was French

    4. Remember always that in every country of those cited qbove. there are sizeable numbers of people who are not afflicted with anti-American bigotry, who, in factw thank God for America’s presence (imperfections and all) without whose wealth and power, the world would be more dangerous neighbourhood than it is.

  • CA__

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