Tuesday, February 11
Sneers From Across the Atlantic
Anti-Americanism Moves to W. Europe's Political Mainstream
Glenn Frankel, Washington Post, February 11, 2003
LONDON--It can be emotional, spontaneous and contradictory. It has no leader, no platform and no ideology. It varies from country to country in its roots and its manifestations. It doesn't even have an accepted name: Those most strongly identified with it indignantly deny they advocate or practice it.
Still, anti-Americanism, West European-style, is widespread, rising and migrating from its traditional home among left-wing intellectuals, academics and cafe society to the political mainstream, according to analysts, critics and public opinion polls. Countries such as France, Germany and Britain, which for more than five decades have been the closest allies of the United States, are beginning to drift away, propelled by a popular wave of concern, alarm and resentment. The immediate focus might be U.S. policy toward Iraq, but the larger emerging theme is an abiding sense of fear and loathing of American power, policies and motives. [...]
Even in Britain, the most cherished American ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair felt compelled to defend his support for the United States before a hostile TV audience this past week. Participants derided him as "Vice President" and "the member [of Parliament] from north Texas," dismissed Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's presentation to the U.N. Security Council as "absolutely laughable" and equated President Bush with the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein.
Scenes of anti-American fervor have become a regular feature of the political landscape. At a recent antiwar rally at Ruskin College in Oxford, England, a packed audience cheered as Ken Nichols O'Keefe, a former U.S. Marine, described the United States as "the most despicable and criminal nation in the world." The recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the elite met to ponder global issues, morphed into a six-day critique of the Bush administration. [...]