From east to west, living room to board room, Americans are watching a slew of disturbing TV news stories . The focus of the citizen is overwhelmingly on the economy and his or her own, modest and hard earned treasure pile. This is not surprising, after all the Dow is behaving like a drunken clam and the finance sector is as chaotic as a college department meeting. The media is constantly rattling everyone’s cages and our commercial breaks are now plagued with the most annoying ads known to man: those of the goldbug.
In the depths of an election the worry meter on many Americans is high. We all want answers to our economic question and, in general, want to see this country restored to a place of prosperity, power, and might. But across the eastern ocean, in the world-weary lands of Western Europe, a strange and different dialogue is bubbling to the surface. In it, the cause for America’s troubles is not practical or function but moral and the feeling is not of despair but strangely, of glee.
As the United States hits a rather large bump in the road, many in Europe’s chattering class are taking up a rather despicable tone. This tone, in the forefront hammers home the idea that America’s Economic woes derive somehow from moral failing, that her age of dominance is over, and that both are happy occasions to root onward.
Moral supremacy and the role as judge has always been a part of the European tradition. Since 2000, this proclivity has been primarily focused against the United States and Israel in discussions that usually, either, apologize for Islamic terrorism, lift up the European ‘way’ as just, or simply scapegoat America for a host of domestic European problems. Recently, full and front page articles have popped up in major European papers claiming that the age of American dominance is over.
Strangely these articles and comments come with, not just a statement of fact, but a moral judgment and indictment of American and her way of life. Quite often the words ‘redneck’ ‘bubba’ and ‘empire’ appear when authors mention America and her apparently lost power.
Moreover, in these periodicals there is also an obvious bit of smug cheer. That is to say, that Americans current crisis is not just mentioned it is cheered on with a form of moiling academic demonology. In these circles, somehow, the financial troubles of America and Americans is actually a good thing.
Such feelings and statements are as uninformed as they are vile. To state things as they are and point out fault is one thing; but to actually root for calamity and chaos is quite another. Moreover, it is quite self-destructive. An important fact seems to escape most European chatterers, that is, if America ‘goes down’ that Europe will not be far behind.
We have already seen this as European markets have tumbled in the wake of U.S. financial problems. In a more abstract sense, a removal of U.S. power abroad would force Europe to actually grow up. Specifically, they would have to actually spend money on national defense and foreign policy as opposed to simply relying on the ample subsidy provided by both the United States and NATO.
The historian or more mature reader can attest to the fact that such disruptions from Europe are not exactly new. For years, on many European College Campuses, it has been both fashionable and convenient to viciously assail the United States. Such criticism usually comes in the form of vaguely defined critiques of U.S. policies and or a bizarrely styled bit of political wishful thinking that is not founded in the realities of America or Europe.
Even further back it should be remembered that in the 19th century it was the keen desire of many European Nations to subjugated American foreign policy and behavior to their will and call. Happily this did not happen and it is important that it does not happen now. Listening to friends is fine, but doing whatever they say while they slap you in the face is not.
Unfortunately, it is likely that these academic and anemic voices will continue to blame the United States with the smug liberal tone of Maddow, Mahr, Obama and Pelosi. This blame game will probably disparage the United States for the global economic crisis without the responsibility of say acknowledging that Europe readily invested in America and made economic blunders of its own. This is a shame and will only hinder Europe’s own recovery.
Relations between Europe and America have always been complex and full of recrimination. I like Europe, I like their food, silly accents and women, and I also share their desire for close relations. But I don’t appreciate their chattering classes smug back biting and moral judgment. I’d also say that if Europe wants closer relations and wants to influence U.S. policy, it would help if they don’t constantly attack the U.S. with puerile name calling and instead replace it with a real dialogue.