The Public Interest

A genealogy of anti-Americanism

James W. Ceaser

Summer 2003

AMERICA’S rise to the status of the world’s premier power, while inspiring much admiration, has also provoked widespread feelings of suspicion and hostility. In a recent and widely discussed book on America, AprOs L’Empire, credited by many with having influenced the position of the French government on the war in Iraq, Emmanuel Todd writes: “A single threat to global instability weighs on the world today: America, which from a protector has become a predator.” A similar mistrust of American motives was clearly in evidence in the European media’s coverage of the war. To have followed the war on television and in the newspapers in Europe was to have witnessed a different event than that seen by most Americans. During the few days before America’s attack on Baghdad, European commentators displayed a barely concealed glee—almost what the Germans call schadenfreude—at the prospect of American forces being bogged down in a long and difficult engagement. Max Gallo, in the weekly magazine Le Point, drew the typical conclusion about American arrogance and ignorance: “The Americans, carried away by the hubris of their military power, seemed to have forgotten that not everything can be handled by the force of arms ... that peoples have a history, a religion, a country.”

Download a PDF of the full article.

Download

Sign-in to your National Affairs subscriber account.


Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


subscribe

Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

SUBSCRIBE
Subscribe to National Affairs.