Response to James B. Rule

Response to James B. Rule

I have bad news from Paris for James B. Rule: the French love America and love to hate it. They whip the Republican administration only to give freer rein to their lust for everything that comes from the United States. Such is the ambivalence of our anti-Americanism, an impossible passion.

I have worse news: even our current government collaborates with the Bush team. The French fight alongside American troops in Afghanistan under the auspices of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (mandated by the UN); they cooperate with the U.S. navy in all the global hotspots (especially in the Red Sea). Even worse: in the heart of Paris, at the École Militaire, France has set up an international center for intelligence gathering. There France’s major intelligence organizations work with the FBI, the CIA, the German MBK, Britain’s MI5 and MI6, along with the Canadian and Australian secret services.

And it gets worse: according to a poll recently published by the German Marshall Fund, nearly 53 percent of French people are in favor of using force if Iran attacks our interests. So I guess 53 percent of French people have become neoconservatives in the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld mold. Horror and damnation! I’m ashamed to say it but there are still French people—it’s terrible, really—who think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and friends are worse than George W. Bush. James B. Rule must really tell them why they’re wrong.

Seriously. For several years we’ve witnessed a strange reversal of roles. Mired in Iraq, the administration in Washington seems to have given up on systematic militarism, while Europe’s most enlightened elites have felt the need for an efficient armed force capable of rapid intervention in distant theaters of operation. Europe is not warlike and will never be so again, but Europeans know that without force to back them their laws and rights are only fictions.

When an American intellectual tells me about his hatred of America, I always wonder where he’s been living. Has he left his corrupted Puritan Babylon for more civilized locales? For the last five years, I’ve seen too many American artists and writers (especially those published in or visiting Europe) declaiming against their country and telling us that the land of Abraham Lincoln is now a fascist state. But during these same five years, I meet the same people in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Miami going about their vapid little business as though nothing were amiss. If the United States has really become an outpost of Big Brother, why don’t you ask us for political asylum? Don’t just visit for a bit and pretend to take on our voices.

Clearly they are just posturing, or imposturing. The hatred of George W. Bush and his team can blind even the best minds.

I advise James B. Rule to abandon his North American provincialism. Don’t just visit Europe, but really speak to people here f...


Wurgraft | University of California Press Lima