Dollars they desire; free-market capitalism they dread.

Europe and Africa’s Hatred of America

by | Jun 20, 2002 | Africa, Europe, World

It’s become painfully apparent that the world is becoming the United States’ responsibility. Clean water, rudimentary healthcare and decent housing for the world’s destitute all fall on our collective shoulders.

“If this country doesn’t get help, doesn’t get the sense of a new beginning,” said the faux humanitarian and rock star Bono on his recent fact-finding trip to Ghana with US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill. “You (Americans) come back in five years and they’ll be throwing rocks at the bus.”

Ironically, when the first Dunkin’ Donuts opens it’s doors in Accra, Ghanaians will undoubtedly grumble about the hegemonic ambitions of the United States and the loss of their unique cultural heritage.

Dollars they desire; free-market capitalism they dread.

This isn’t merely a third-world trait. European nations are eager to take the dollar but terrified of the cultural consequences. Big Macs and Nike sneakers have become the anti-serum to European cultural identity. A decade after the liberation Eastern Europe in a decisive yet costly Cold War victory, the nations that gained the most have inexplicably joined Western Europeans in harsh unbalanced criticism U.S.

In a recent television interview, a Russian man confirmed the feelings of many Europeans when he explained that Americans were arrogant and George Bush, in the midst of his European tour, was a “cowboy,” a simpleton who didn’t consider the world’s view when making decisions. “Many Europeans regard George W. Bush as a gun-toting, semi-articulate cowboy whose bellicosity extends far beyond the battlefield and whose unilateralism is damaging everything from trade to the environment,” wrote the Times of London.

What would Europeans have us do? Vote for politicians who are concerned with the future of Hungary or Latvia? Don’t the French, Germans and Polish all vote in their own interests? When Russia sells hazardous military technology to Iran, one of the world’s most belligerent states, is Vladimir Putin taking U.S. foreign policy into consideration or is he simply serving the perceived interests of Russia? Never mind that so-called American bellicosity is usually the consequence of having to fix similar European mistakes.

Europeans hate the United States for many of the same reasons its citizens love it: prosperity, family and flag — and yes, even cowboys. We provide clear-cut answers to complex questions. Europeans, striving to forge a single political identity to counter American power in the guise of the crisis-riddled EU, have become so self-involved that any international action or policy that doesn’t meet with their instant approval, whether it be military (Iraq) or economic (tariffs) is branded unilateralist.

France’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hubert Védrine, goes as far as describes the U.S. as a hyperpuissance, a post-Cold War hyperpower, one that has political, military, economic domination over the world without competitor, acting exclusively for it’s own gains.

Cowboys have the self-confidence to act when necessary. Europeans do not. What they do have is a misguided phobia of Americanization. What they view as a vulgar, barren wasteland devoid of ideas or refinement, is in fact the extension of the Western standards they invented.

In the United States, one can pick up Chinese takeout and not fret that their offspring will show up in a traditional Cantonese cheongsam dress ten years from now. A teenager can sport brand new French-made Adidas sneakers, wearing a beret and his parents will still force him to take French in high school. Conversely, in Paris, no soul would humiliate themselves and speak or write in English. Here in New York, one has to wade through Korean, German, Russian and Spanish to wheedle money out of the ATM just to buy an Italian style vendi cappuccino and biscotti at Starbucks.

In progressive France, a farmer named Jose Bove shot to fame as an anti-globalization activist after destroying a McDonald’s restaurant to show his opposition to fast food. One wonders if a man stormed into a Dallas supermarket and stomped on every croissandwich in the place, would the incident get any press?

Here in America, you “oppose” fast food by not buying any.

But let’s take a closer look at this fast food giant. The first European McDonalds opened in 1971 in Zaandam, Netherlands. Now, the Netherlands has over 200 McDonalds and pays the salary of over 20,000 employees. None of them are American. All in all they serve an average of 4 million customers a week. The Strasbourg McDonald’s restaurant opened in France on September 17, 1979. Today there are 760 restaurants with 30,000 employees throughout France. Overall, McDonalds has locations in 121 countries all over the world, employing countless locals, injecting millions into local economies.

Hardly sounds like a clandestine plot for world domination.

When Bono, an Irishman, whose band U2 has sold over a hundred million albums the past 20 years and could probably buy Ghana, tries to convince the United States that aiding Africa with additional billions of American dollars is a moral imperative, he has no interest in importing what comes with, namely our culture and political morality. In fact, Bono warns us that Africa will hate us if we don’t unconditionally transfer untold amounts. While that may be true, history has also proven that if we do give, they’ll hate us anyway.

David Harsanyi has written on culture, politics and sports for Capitalism Magazine, National Review, Weekly Standard, New York Press, Associated Press, CNN-SportsIllustrated, FrontPage Magazine, Tech Central Station, Israel National News & numerous other publications. Visit his website (http://dharsanyi.blogspot.com/).

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The views expressed represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine.

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