Grassroots Commentary

America and Amerika

George Handlery · Mar. 22, 2016

The title demands an explanation. “Amerika” refers to a Sixties term that Nazi-tagged the hated country by using German spelling. Fact: numerous languages spell that “c” with a “k.” The low voltage thinking suggested that in America — the “Bad Country” — Nazism survived. Although the linguistic effort remained the thing of a minority, its champions’ influence points at a problem the USA has with “Europe.” Good manners forbid the subject: Realism demands its presentation.

The reality of the sacrosanct connection can be located in a space marked by some determinants. 1. A cultural and ethnic factor ties America to Europe. 2. Europe’s elites had and have a more remote relation to America than do her masses. 3. For the condescending, America is a copy of Europe, yet the replica’s system proved to be more stable and successful than the original. This means that, the USA has put into practice more European ideals than did the “real thing,” therefore perhaps the Americans are the better Europeans. The French Revolution of 1789 ended in a blood-bath. 1776 produced a system that survives. 4. Regardless of the alleged skills of Europe’s leaders, America decided their world wars and settled the cold war. America had contributed more to Europe’s rescue than Europe has.

A shortened list of American contributions explains much about the present’s troubled Euro-American relations.

Let us begin with De Gaulle’s relationship to the Anglo-Saxons who had saved his country. Paris’ enmity is a major story within the postwar West. Why the dislike? The cause is determined by the extent of the service rendered. The Habsburg Empire comes to mind. After 1849, when a Russian intervention in Hungary saved her autocracy, she vowed that the world will be astonished by her ingratitude. Vienna needed to prove her independence from her benefactor. After 1944 France had to show that she did not need her benefactors. Nothing is easier than to bite the hand that feeds you because it is so close to your teeth. Help does not awake friendship, help sows rejection. Rescue suggests dependence, and that produces resentment.

American-European relations reflect the above. The rescue from Hitler, Stalin, the nuclear umbrella and the Marshall Plan are reminders of weakness. Good deeds are harder to forgive than are torts. In the latter’s case, cooperation is wanted because the hurt party will wish to avoid new collisions.

Some time ago, the writer has saved a piece that presents European views of America. The original German text from US-friendly Switzerland was picked because, even to a hardened observer, the message from the “liberal” base seemed shocking.

European perceptions of America are important and their significance will grow. This can be said in view of the GOP nomination and the new presidency. Perhaps to their credit, Republican nominees elicit the disapproval of Europe’s political class — regardless of formal left-right positions. What “sells” in the US sinks in Europe. Reagan’s hostile reception is an example. Win or lose, Trump will produce temper tantrums and, as was the case with Reagan, predictions of civilization’s downfall attributable to America’s immaturity.

For your personal insight, the responses to a piece “Will the USA Remain an Example for us?” are presented. Out of 84 reactions, 11 are positive. The minority’s tone is “which other country would be in a position and willing to defend us?” A few “like America more than China, Russia.” Without the US the world would be more dangerous, therefore “long live America.” To most, “compared to the alternatives” she is preferred as “the lesser evil” among the world powers.

Some responses concentrate on the question about the USA remaining an example to be emulated. What do you mean by “remain”? She has “never been an example to me.” “Think of Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Chile, and Iraq.” No American example is needed because “they have never solved any problem and worsened most of them.” “An example? Never. They are tricksters interested in their advantage only.”

Questioned are also America’s motives and the efficacy of her actions. The US has “created” the conditions for the IS’ rise, and now they “are unable to defeat it.” Rather than relying on America, “we need someone who brings durable peace.” Similarly, the IS is a consequence of American foreign policy. “The US supports the IS, has supported Jihadists in Afghanistan in the 80s (against the Soviets).” She has killed “thousands of people” with drones. America is the one that has “bombed into misery Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya — not to mention other misdeeds. Shame on her.”

Some qualifications appear, such as in “everywhere they conduct unnecessary wars even if there are "many good people there” one meets during trips. “I am no Ami-hater because the pity I feel does not leave room for hatred.” That pity might have its source in the hope-generated analysis that “America is falling apart and even so they think they need to make rules for others to follow.” The States have “a reform-resistant system that does all for the rich and the successful and disrespects the poor and society’s outsiders.” Could that be because “the two party system is not optimal and is not democratic,” while “equality” is not pursued. Therefore, no wonder that the US “disregards human rights, international law and her own constitution. She also uses uranium ammunition, and atomic bombs against civilians” and wages “gas warfare.” What else could come from a power that has an “unfair economic order” and thereby also a “violent” foreign policy?

The view is introduced, that “America’s wars are based on lies and intrigues.” She aggresses, and “even as the greatest economic power, America is unable to feed and employ its own people. "Everything is about the buck, there is no decency there.” That may be because American decisions ask only “can one make quick money.” Consequently, the US “exploited Africa” used “lies, torture, and poison gas in Korea, nuclear weapons in Japan.” That record might explain “racism in the US” and why ever more “Blacks are shot by policemen even if, often, they are unarmed.”

Logically, the question is raised “Protect us”? They “created chaos in the entire world,” they “lied about Iraq” and “promised to fight terror, however, terror has tripled and it enhanced the IS.” Therefore the conclusion that, “had the US not sent out their sheriffs and brought war to the world, then much would be more peaceful and better, and we would probably have no terrorism.”

Knowingly, this piece wishes to acquaint with ignored facts, and so it does not react to the reported accusations. Whether these are wholly true, or distortions that tell more about their source than about the accused, is not the subject of the exposure. However, coming from a “friendly” source, the cited views tell much about a problem of American foreign policy and US alliances. In doing so, it is to be stated that this is not meant to be a plea for isolationism. The chief component of the “problem” of US alliances is their “unconditionality” and that its issues are avoided. Regarding that, we need a reminder: Only unstated problems are not solvable.

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