April 12, 2009

YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO FOLKS WHO REJECT THE MESSIAH...:

America under Barack Obama is taking a long, cold look at its transatlantic relations: Europe's passion for the States is unlikely to be reciprocated (Janet Daley, 12 Apr 2009, Daily Telegraph)

America has become quite accustomed to being despised by Europe. I wonder how Europe will adjust to being hated – or worse, dismissed – by America.

What's that? You thought that the contemptuous attitude to Old Europe had been definitively trounced when the swaggering Texan was replaced by Barack Obama, the cosmopolitan sophisticate who took time out from his own domestic political campaign to address adoring crowds in Berlin? Bizarrely enough, precisely the opposite has happened. Paradoxically, what Mr Obama has succeeded in demonstrating to his own nation is that no amount of charm and flattery, no degree of self-abasement and apology for American "arrogance" is going to get any meaningful reciprocity from the Old Europeans (which is to say France and Germany, and the EU which they dominate) who could give lessons in sublime, transcendental arrogance to any American president however urbane and nuanced his message might be.

It is only now America has stopped swaggering that its more erudite, socially acceptable commentators have begun to engage in vitriolic condemnation of European selfishness and irresponsibility in the face of international danger: what is emerging is, in effect, a mirror image of the anti-Americanism which has become commonplace among European intellectuals. And paradoxically, it is precisely the change in presidential tone and approach which has made this possible.

So long as it was those rough and ready cowboys George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who were condemning it, Old Europe could afford to smirk – and its loathing was lapped up enthusiastically (and put to good use) by all those American liberals who saw the Bush administration as a crass international embarrassment. But now Europe has got the US president of its dreams and it has given him nothing in return for his pious declarations of global humility. So maybe, thinks mainstream America, Mr Rumsfeld was right all along about those cynical, self-serving Old World powers whose leaders seem not to understand that they have rendered themselves irrelevant by their refusal to help defend Western values militarily, and by their unsustainable economic policies which will see them marginalised in the global market place.


It can't be that he isn't magical, there has to be something wrong with them!

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 12, 2009 7:04 PM
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