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My theory on why Europe hates US

Reader comment on item: Europeans: From Venus?

Submitted by Linden (United States), Apr 9, 2003 at 03:22

The US was built largely by people who were considered the refuse of European society: the poor, Irish, Catholics, Puritans, etc --. the people Europe looked down on and persecuted: 'give us your poor, your tired, your hungry'...even the Africans that colonialism treated horridly and believed to be savages (not that the US was much better for many years).

Europe still looks down on the US (in much the same way they look down on Australia, a former penal colony.) If the US and Australia had been populated by the aristocracy, they would be proud of us. They hate that for much of the last century they've been dependent on a country they consider inferior. [Everything I hear from Europeans is the question of why Americans don't want to be like Europeans because European civilization is naturally much superior. ]

The British would have never beaten Hitler alone. American industrial power and manpower was instrumental in saving Europe from World War I, nazism and communism --three times in one century rescued by a country many consider to be the inferior partner.

Since World War II, Europe has been dependent on the US for national security. After World War II, American money rebuilt European civilization, and we rebuilt it in our own image: liberal capitalist democracies. They've mitigated the 'capitalist' since then. (Lest we forget the "German economic miracle" following WWII only to be eclipsed by Germany's current unemployment rate of 11% and stagnant economy). Europe has also forgotten that historically democracy has only ever come about and been preserved through violence: through the barrel of a gun. They do not understand this historical reality, or choose to forget it.

In other words, the 'superior' parent was remade by the 'inferior' child in its own image and protected by the child. Wouldn't you feel humiliated as well? Especially when the continent of Europe used to dominate the world? Europe blames America for preventing Europe from rising again as a major world player, but the real problem is European reliance on socialism and the very low birth rate. They think we're The Man keeping them down.

The psychology is similar to that found in the Middle East. Muslims dream of a lost empire and see the wealth the West enjoys. They blame the West for their poverty. Some of this blame is justified. Most of it is not. If the Middle East wants peace and prosperity, they need to depose the dictators and agree to separation of church and state. I believe that the US is now trying to break the backs of the dictators of the Middle East because they now realize the former policy of placating and supporting dictators was not only harmful to the people of the Middle East but is, in the long run, (here's where 911 comes into play) harmful to Western interests.

More than fifty years since World War II and they still have nowhere near the power the United States has. The genocide in the Balkans proved how weak Europe was in dealing with a conflict within its own borders. It took American military intervention to end the genocide. If 9.11 had happened to Europe and there was no NATO, they would not have been capable of responding the way the US did in Afghanistan. The first Gulf War was what awakened the world to what the American military could do. It was a showcase and scared the crap out of many people.

I hate Bush for his domestic policies. Europe hates Bush because he oh so conveniently fulfills every American stereotype: stupid, cowboy, etc. And yet, he is still considered a successful president (if you judge by American polls, that is.) They are shocked and outraged he has yet to fall on his face because he embodies the worst of America.

Right now on the American left and in Europe there is some lazy moral equivalence happening: Bush = Hitler. Bush is a dictator. Have they forgotten what dictators are really like? And that all good people should oppose a dictator and espouse democracy at every turn? I admit that the US has behaved abominably by helping dictatorships in the past, but when are we allowed to change that policy?

The allegation that the US has gone to war for oil is ridiculous. It would be cheaper for the US in economic and human terms to drop the economic sanctions and just buy oil from Saddam. If we want control, we could for far cheaper just buy an exclusive contract from Saddam, which would just perpetuate the aiding and abetting of dictators. This would not solve the problems of the Middle East, which is basically a pit of dictators. Mini-Hitlers and Stalins at play perpetrating horrid violence against their own people with no recriminations for some time.
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