From The Gathering Storm Blog

It’s no secret that America is reviled by Europe because of a culture that is exported throughout the world. Europe sees America imposing its values and mores on a resistant world. America sees European culture in decay and asks what right does America have imposing its culture on Europe and the rest of the world.

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, who writes for the German Weekly Die Zeit, posted the following on his blog.

So you think it’s ludicrous, it’s outlandish, it’s just plain nuts to assume that the United States is more dangerous than Iran? Well, think again. Three weeks ago Russian President Putin attacked the American goliath at a security conference in Munich. On its website, my newspaper analyzed the speech saying:

“It was nothing less than the attempt to re-erect an old world order, an order in which the American superpower is contained by the power of other states, by the rule of international law and strategic considerations of its alliance management”.

Putin was quoted as saying: “Nobody in the word feels safe”. According to the analyst at my paper, Putin’s statements were “rammed into world history”.

The author concluded by writing: “As of today, nobody in the West has any reason to feel at ease.” Immediately after the publication of this analysis, readers started a debate. I counted close to 70 comments.

Here are some samples.

  • One reader argues that Putin’s “critical assessment” was “appropriate”. Another finds Putin spoke “in the name of all mankind”.
  • Putin “disclosed” the “illegal ventures” of the West and “unmasked” Western leaders, primarily Americans, as “dangerous outlaws”.
  • A third reader finds: “The United States are not a role model, but a sick moloch”.
  • Reader number four states that the problem is not Putin, but Bush. He “has to go, immediately.”
  • Reader number five argues that the only individuals who might feel threatened by Putin “have been completely indoctrinated by American fantasies”.
  • Consequently, this reader argues that Germany’s armed forces should vacate the Mediterranean Sea and Afghanistan and all the places where “they support the American crimes”.
  • Reader number six said that “no person in his right mind can doubt that Putin is right on target”.
  • Reader number seven weighs in claiming that “countries like Russia and Iran” are the hope of all those who “suffer” from the American led military machine.
  • Reader number eight notes that it is Europe’s security interest to “stop offending Russia and the countries of the Islamic world”.
  • Reader number nine, ten and eleven agree. So do readers forty-seven and sixty-four.

If I didn’t know any better I’d say we were back in 1980 where Reagan’s attempts at defeating the threat of communist imperialism hung like a sword over all of free Europe’s head.

Maybe this is just a one-sided sample. Surely, not everybody in Germany feels this way. And most of the policy community certainly does not. On the other hand, DIE ZEIT is not a paper for ideologues; it is squarely middle-of-the-road. It is read by educated people, and has a wide circulation of 500,000 copies every week.Maybe we are getting a good look at anti-Americanism. Surely, Germany has quite a bit of that.

That fact ordinary citizens of European liberal democracies feel more threatened by America than Iran (or Putin’s Russia) is not just because of a lapse of judgment that can easily be dismissed. It is cause for alarm.

Look at this poster and see Anti-American propaganda at its best. The sign at the bottom of the poster reads “The USA wants to save European culture from decay. Based on what right?”

What year do you think it is? 1980, 1970, 1960 – Today?

Nope – 1944. Nazi occupied Belgium. Granted, it’s Nazi appeasement propaganda – but has little changed?
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