"My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world. I can hardly bear to see the faces of Bush and Rumsfeld, or to watch their posturing body language, or to hear their self-satisfied and incoherent platitudes."
So proclaimed novelist Margaret Drabble in the London Daily Telegraph. Her screed continued for 700 words -- words like "grotesque" and "hideous" made appearances, along with the ritual denunciation of burgers, Disney, Coca-Cola and imperialism.
Drabble is hardly alone. The hate-America club is not at all exclusive, and many of its dues-paying members are Americans themselves. But while Sen. John Kerry is quite worried about our standing with Europeans like Drabble, and castigates President Bush for not doing more to suck up to the French and Germans, most of us look at anti-Americanism and see one thing above all others -- envy. The Europeans held sway in the world and practiced true imperialism within living memory. Not only can they still recall the taste of power, they have yet to part with their self-importance.
How else to account for this virulent America-hatred in so many European hearts? When you look out at the world from Vienna or Stockholm or Manchester and search for something to deplore, what do you see?
You see Russia spiraling down into dictatorship after a brief interlude of struggling democracy. You see North Korea, arms salesman to the world's criminals, boasting of nuclear capability. You see genocide in Darfur. And of course, you see the ghastly face of terrorism in Madrid, Bali, New York, Washington, Tel Aviv and most especially Baghdad, where terrorists grab and behead innocent Americans and Europeans, and proudly videotape their savagery. But where do many Europeans focus their wrath? On the United States.
Drabble is right to compare her America-hatred to a disease. There is something sickly about the European approach to the world. There may even be something suicidal in it. Europeans excoriate America even as they stand on quicksand. In what Middle Eastern scholar Daniel Pipes calls the biggest story of our time, Europe is disappearing.