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Michael Naumann Europe and America The Ties that Bind HEARING WHAT THE NEW AM ERICANISM IS ALL ABOUT, I ALWAYS wonder what anti-Americanism is. Obviously, one has to know what Americanism is. And now Ihear it is basically almost a caricature ofhigh school teachings that I enjoyed in Missouri as a kid—those great days of Jamestown as re-imagined at Harvard University—which actually leads me to add one little tidbit of information to that fabulous view of what America is all about. In the 1850s, after a failed revolution in Germany in 1848, tens of thousands of people emigrated to the United States and by a quirk of newly discovered statistics, their habits were recorded. It turned out that these brave, good, new Americans had, unlike the majority of the Germans, the tendency to be left-handed. Actually, lefthanded German Protestant. German emigrants did make up a huge part of the American population. After 1917, they were the fourth larg­ est ethnic group—the second largest, actually, after the English—if you exclude the Welsh, the Scottish, and the Irish, which, of course, one should always do. They completely merged into the United States, perhaps because the United States does have that wonderful freedom to let kids write with their left hand. The European view of the United States at this very moment has to be totally separated from the European view of the American administration. There are statistics—mentioned by Lord Eatwell— that probably 68 percent of Europeans share the positions of the social research Voi 72 : No 4 : Winter 2005 799 American Democrats versus the Republicans. This means, if you would ascribe, as many of my German colleagues and American correspon­ dents in Europe do, anti-American attitudes to the Europeans, what they are actually describing is the anti-Republicanism of American Democrats. I am bothered by the argument that one’s position in the political discourse of the day, specifically since 9/11, is either pro- or anti-American. It is a conservative argument with which one wants to silence one’s opponent in Germany. If you are critical of the Bush administration, people who support it think that you are an antiAmerican . Now, if Americanism is nothing else than that great corpus of American political culture, where do you stop and where do you begin in describing anti-Americanism? Allow me some rem arks as we look toward Iraq and what is going to happen to all of us, and what we possibly should do. Up to one billion non-Americans will have watched the last Kerry-Bush debate on their television screens. One can only imagine if the Gauls or the ancient Greeks had been able to witness the power struggle and intrigues in the senate of the Roman Empire, the Roman Ceasars or emperors would have failed with their tried divide et impera strategy. Nothing, I think, characterizes the historically unique position of the American hegemony as notably as the political self-assurance with which the imperial democracy—or, as Iwould like to call it, the empire of goodness of the United States—is currently acting out its internal power struggles on the global stage. Just imagine if the Kremlin would have had its power struggles on television. Unbelievable, impossible. That, in fact, is one part of what I would call the positive aspect of Americanism—that is, an open democracy, able to share its conflicts with the rest of the world. And, indeed, the rest of the world is now very interested at this point in time. The Europeans, of whom 65 percent would prefer a President Kerry, are mistaken, however, in their hope that a Kerry presidency would automatically bring with it a new spirit of strategic self-imposed moderation, or a return to the good old transatlantic comfort-zone. 800 social research Washington’s disparaging tone vis-à-vis its old allies would no doubt lessen, and the Christian Democratic missionary zeal in Germany would also assume less of a salvation-imbued front-stage position. But the continuously saluting Kerry (well, it worries me a little) would not want to change the military supremacy of the superpower United States...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-768X
Print ISSN
0037-783X
Pages
pp. 799-806
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-30
Open Access
No
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