February 12, 2003

Ron Liddle lands some punches

Ron Liddle lands some punches in this complaint that the Anglo-American "special relationship" is often a one way street. Most acutely here:

within weeks of September 11 2001, the US failed, astonishingly, to outlaw Noraid, despite having proscribed and seized the assets of every other terrorist fundraising organisation in the known universe. There is terrorism directed against the US and terrorism directed elsewhere, you see.

(As to his other examples: The Falklands and Grenada are rather more ambiguous. And Bush's steel tariffs weren't so much a betrayal of the British per se as a betrayal of just about everybody, not excluding his own putative philosophy.)

Nonetheless, he is wrong to suggest that despite all the shoulder-to-shoulder rhetoric America regards Great Britain as merely a less inconvenient France, "irrelevant, useless, antiquated, and decadent." (Well, maybe we do regard Britain as a bit antiquated; that's why it such a charming place to visit.) I believe we would indeed rush to their aid were they to catch fire (though I'd hope our methods would be a bit less primitive than the one he suggests.) And you know what? We'd rush to the aid of France as well. That's what makes old Europe's sophisticated anti-Americanism stick so irritatingly in the collective American craw.

Speaking of American regard for former colonial masters of the universe: flipping through the TV channels last night, I found the level of barely-disguised scorn for all things French to be astonishing. (And by "French" they mean "French-Belgian-German," strangely enough.) Lou Dobbs was particularly "on" in that regard, saying, at one point, "the French, well, bless their little hearts" and uttering the word "Belgium" as though he'd never heard of it before, but didn't much like the sound of it. I think he may even have rolled his eyes. He managed to make his voice put a little question mark after each mention of any of the old European countries, as though he could not quite bring himself to believe any of them might make an appearance in an otherwise serious broadcast. Even some of the local news broadcasts got into the act. Make of it what you will, but to the extent that the media reflects the American street, it's not very Franco-phile at the moment. Turnabout is fair play, I suppose.

Posted by Dr. Frank at February 12, 2003 09:46 AM | TrackBack