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Posted by on Sep 9, 2007 in At TMV | 6 comments

Europe Turns Right

My latest article for Pajamas Media is up. The subject of the post: recent developments in Europe (the Right has been successful and is likely be even more successful in the coming years) and the effect this will have on the American-European relationship and on how Europeans think about America and Americans in general. Furthermore I wonder whether Europe may be less anti-American than some suggest. An excerpt:

Although the American-European relationship is likely to improve in the coming years, it would be a mistake to assume that the shift to the right is caused by the anti-Americanism of the left or by the pro-Americanism of the right. Sarkozy, Wilders and Merkel did not garner support because they were close to the US: they won as many seats as they did because of domestic issues.

Sarkozy’s main talking points were France’s immigration and integration problem and the miserable state the French economy was and is in. The same can be said for Merkel, although she is not the populist Sarkozy is. Wilders – the most outspoken and blunt of all – focuses completely on the issue of integration and on the compatibility of Islam and democracy. He is probably most famous for comparing the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and arguing that the holy book should be made illegal.

The Dutch continue to think negatively about America, George W. Bush, and Americans in general. If one has a conversation with the average Dutchman about politics, in particular Iraq and the US president, one does not have to wait long before hearing a remark like “a stupid president for a stupid people.” Although most Europeans thought highly of Bill Clinton, the image of the gun-slinging American cowboy has never disappeared from the European mind. To many, Bush confirms this image of “the typical American.” The belief that Americans care only about money, wealth and oil is alive and well, and is seldom or never refuted by media reports. For years, neither by political leaders. (Bill Clinton was not depicted as the average American, but as the exception to the rule: he was able to keep the American nature in check.)

It’s an interesting read if I may say so. To read it, please click here.

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