Saturday, 2 August 2003

Anti-Americanism as a religion

Matthew eviscerates a George Monibot piece this morning that decries “Americanism” as a religion. And he supplies a necessary corrective to those on the American left who believe the anti-American EuroLeft shares their pathological hatred of George W. Bush, but otherwise likes America:

Now I realize that it is par for the course for American liberals, and Democrats in general, to assume that the international left only hates America because of George W. Bush, but Mr. Monbiot is refreshingly honest in his admission, through this and other writings, that he loathes not merely Bush and that “warmonger” Reagan but all American presidents. You see, the “cult of America” he desires to destroy began with George Washington.

Go Read The Whole Thing.

One minor quibble. To an extent they tolerated Clinton, mainly because he “knew the language” of the European anti-American elite due to all that time he was at Oxford not-inhaling, and thus told them what they wanted to hear (“Sure, we’ll sign Kyoto”; “Sure, we’ll support the ICC”; “Sure, we’ll do your dirty work for you in Bosnia/Kosovo/Macedonia”; “Sure, we’ll continue to pay a disproportionate share of the U.N. budget, and even pay some back-dues, just to be chummy”) even when he had absolutely no intention of following through on those commitments when he returned to the U.S. (see Kyoto and the ICC, both of which Clinton put exactly zero effort into promoting at home). After all, that’s what they expect from their own politicians (see Chirac, Jacques and Schröder, Gerhard, neither of whom have been particularly fastidious in adhering to their countries’ commitments to the EU under the Treaty of Amsterdam). And they became more sympathetic to Clinton after he got his 1998 high-tech lynching for being an uppity black (wait, I’m confusing him with Clarence Thomas), even though he started bombing different foreign countries on a near-daily basis during that period (not that I’m implying causality here). But Slick Willie was by far the exception to the rule in this regard.

Gephardt and trade politics

Jacob Levy needs only 232 words to eviscerate Dick Gephardt, the Bush adminstration, and (by extension) the Teamsters, on the basis of their shared, idiotic trade policies.

However, I don’t share Jacob’s guarded optimism that the Gephardt endorsement will stop Bush from proposing yet more protectionist policies; not only are union voters often non-observant of the union endorsement (and thereby able to be wooed separately), there are also plenty of other interests in swing states that want additional protectionist measures: catfish farmers in Louisiana, timber workers in the Pacific Northwest, and midwestern agribusiness.

The seeming last gasp of Gephardt and his New Deal Democratic philosophy is overall a great thing for American politics, but the confluence of pork barrelling, nativism, isolationism, and protectionism at the heart of trade politics on both sides of the aisle remains.

Administration ratcheting up/scaling back WMD expectations in Iraq

Today’s game of compare and contrast for Signifying Nothing readers: compare this post at CalPundit with this post at Pejmanesque, which arrive at completely opposite conclusions based on the same day’s reports of administration actions vis à vis Iraq’s WMD programs.

Perceptual screens—they’re catching on!