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The Dark Heart Of Europe


by Casey Blake

I'm delighted to read Darrin McMahon's account of philo-Americanism in Argentina. That's encouraging news in these dark times.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid the situation remains quite different in Western Europe, at least among people on the left and center-left (including most intellectuals). This is largely a new development, in my view. Even during the Vietnam war, Europeans' denunciations of U.S. "imperialism" coexisted with admiration for the democratic strains in American culture and politics. What is striking about the current moment is not only fury at the Bush administration's policies abroad, which I find perfectly understandable, but the tendency in many European circles to see Bush and his most loyal supporters as representing the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Even more distressing is the growing trend in European intellectual circles--which has parallels among some left academics in the United States--to read back from the present moment to a sweeping condemnation of American history as a whole, which is now seen largely as a story of empire. The other, "good America" Europeans once admired seems to have disappeared from these accounts.

I suspect that much of this hostility will dissipate once Bush is out of office, and I hasten to add that not one iota of this anger has ever been directed at me personally. But the mood in Europe among the very people American liberals and radicals once thought of as allies has definitely changed.

Another gift from George W. Bush and friends.

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