ANTI-AMERICANISM

There is some discussion on Eschaton on the topic of anti-Americanism. Atrios posts: “Opposing the War is Not Anti-American. It’s the people who claim it is who are. Why is this not obvious?”

I agree with Atrios but at least partially disagree with the commentary that follows on his feedback forum, some of which suggests that there really is no anti-American sentiment out there. I think it’s possible to be anti-American, both for Americans and foreigners. There are some on the lunatic fringe of the domestic anti-war movement that are anti-American, defined as those who claim moral equivalence of US and Iraqi policy. But most of those who protest the war do so are well within the bounds of patriotic citizenship, even though I find most of their arguments strained.

There is such a thing as being anti-French or anti-German–and certainly anti-Israel–so it’s not an American construct. There is less of those, however, than there is anti-Americanism because of American hegemony. Because of American military, political, economic, and cultural power, we naturally engender resentment. I think there is much evidence that much of the French anti-war sentiment, in particular, is anti-American in the sense that they’re opposing American policy precisely because it’s American. There is some of that in Germany, too, although I think less of it. Witness Schroeder’s rather despicable campaign rhetoric. I don’t think the Europeans dislike America or Americans anymore than we dislike them–maybe less. That shows when we’re weak, as in their sympathetic reaction to the events of 9/11. But they resent our political power and the fact that we’re willing and able to exert that power without much help from them.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.