Re: War Support Ebbs (almost a rant)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Nov 11 2001 - 02:00:01 MST

On Sun, Nov 11, 2001 at 01:14:11AM -0500, wrote:
> My concern regarding Anders view that Americans have a brain disorder is my
> perception (however adle-pated) that Europe is more off the map, then America
> is. Forgive my rant, for I am a cynic, and so perceive it in all others.

First, I would like to point out that I did not say you really have
Anton's syndrome. US just *looks* like it has it.

That Europe is off the map is another issue -

(since I'm some kind of chimeric hybrid between european and american
culture culture I have no problem at all with disagreeing with and
liking both)
> My view on European policies, over the last several decades are this.
> Europe was soft on nazism, when it was in full bloom. Yes, much of the USA
> was also, but not to the degree Europe was, and they had reason to be
> anti-nazi more urgently. Perhaps their bargains with the Reich, even if it
> brought war to their own countries are Still, not considered, such a bad,
> bargain?
> Europe was opportunistic, for business when the Soviet Union was in power,
> and leftist demonstrators were anti-American and pro-Soviet.
> Concurrently throughout this period they have catered to the middle eastern
> oil states, past 1956, thus, inadvertently assisting in development of
> radical, religious, Islam. I also remember how many Euro business catered to
> Sadam's war machine, and wonder how many still do?

Hmm, how much European history do you know? Many governments in the 30's
were extremely authoritarian and corporativist (including the US; study
The New Deal), and the dominant ideologies at that time were fascism and
socialism - if you were an intellectual and asked what the ideology of
the future were, you would most likely answer one of those. Liberals
like Popper and Hayek were fringe.

That Europe was opportunistic isn't strange (look at how NATO formed),
although trade with the Soviet union was a fairly small trickle in the
west. As for the demonstrators in the 60's and 70's, yes, they were
very much pro-Soviet or at least anti-american - for a whole bunch of
reasons, but essentially the same as have been mentioned earlier.
Antiamericanism has a *long* tradition in Europe by now, and is firmly
entrenched in media, politics and culture. In a way it is also a remnant
from the cold war, since (obviously) it was supported by the pro-Soviet
left, but there is enough cultural friction even without it to keep it
going indefinitely.

As for Europe supporting the middle east, I think you should remember
how that system was set up and how spheres of influence were
distributed; to a large extent the postwar Europe simply agreed to
support the US hegemony. The same complaints that are levelled at the US
for causing the current situation can of course be aimed at Europe. As
for Saddam, again you should remember that the US supplied him with
weapons during the war against Iran - it is Bin Laden all over again.

To sum up: yes, Europe has had a blemished foreign policy too. No
surprise there. Europe isn't better than the US, but at least it has a
different perspective. And that is really what is the problem here:
having a different perspective doesn't fit into the current simplistic
"if you aren't with us you are against us" mood.

> An I anti-European, no matter what? Lets say I am very distrustful, or
> paranoid.
> Are Europeans anti-American, no matter what? Some, sure seem to be. Again is
> it truth or merely perceptions?

Most Europeans aren't anti-American per se, they are just distrustful
and sometimes a bit paranoid. But there is a long intellectual history
of lambasting the US for everything bad. The right did it too (and of
course attacked the Soviet Union even more), the left toned down the
Soviet criticism and wholeheartedly criticized the US for everything it
did. This has deeply influenced media (you would be surprised how much
newspaper articles in Sweden mainly dwell on the bad sides of US
society), and of course percolated into society. If you ask most Swedes,
I think they assume that self interest, disregarding the rest of the
world, is a primary motivator for all US foreign policy.

And remember - we are your *allies*. Now think about the rest of the

It is also interesting to think about the current situation reflected in
a world where China has emerged as an economic superpower sometime in
the 2010-2020 region (you know, the time where so much dangerous nano is
expected to be developed). Will anti-americanism still be a strong
motivator by then?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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