Kevin at Beyond the Wasteland has kind words for me and for Europe. Much appreciated.
There’s nothing new about the current right-wing Euro-bashing. It’s really not very different from what the globalize-or-die crowd was slinging back in the 1990s. The inclusion of Germany is a new wrinkle, perhaps, but, as Thomas Frank pointed out in 2000 in One Market Under God, hegemonists in the ’90s just couldn’t stop making fun of France:
…it began to seem as though some blue-ribbon committee had chosen France to succeed the Soviet Union as the avatar of economic and cultural error, the rhetorical straw man to set the peanut gallery hooting and hissing….
[The French] are a stubborn people swimming mulishly against the current both culturally and economically, American pundits maintain; they are ruled by a martinet government that prevents people from riding the ecstatic waves of commerce; and they are a nation of uptight killjoys bent on ruining the sweet American buzz that everyone else is getting into. Whether the French person in question was a rude waiter mocking your request for ketchup, a skiier turning up his nose at snowboarders, or a social planner seeking to soften the blows of the global economy, they were all one and the same for American observers, and the nifty possibility of mixing stereotype with economic crusading was too great for the culture-warriors of the new global order to resist.
Back then, of course, the American establishment thought dot.com-driven turbocapitalism could do no wrong and might even bring about permanent, recession-free prosperity. Right now the American government thinks a war with Iraq could be a walk in the park and will almost certainly rain blessings on the planet. Guess who was right last time?