2004-12-16

L�st der europ�ische Traum den American Dream ab?

--- Die Beziehungen zwischen der EU und den USA stehen am Ende eines Jahres mit vielen transatlantischen Spannungen im Mittelpunkte mehrerer B�cher und Rezensionen dar�ber. Heute widmet sich beispielsweise der Economist dem Thema: From the other side of the Atlantic, Europe can seem a grim old place. Writing in the Weekly Standard, the house journal of American neo-conservatism, Gerard Baker (a Briton) opined recently that Europe is �sliding steadily into an ugly maelstrom of intolerance, fear and hatred.� [der Artikel wurde von Blogs wie F...France �brigens begeistert aufgenommen]. At a recent Brookings Institution seminar, Walter Russell Mead (an American) even asked �does Europe have the biological and the cultural will to live?� But what is this? A new spate of books is coming forth in America that swings to the opposite extreme. Europe is not washed up after all; on the contrary, it is an emerging colossus. �The United States of Europe� (Penguin) by T.R. Reid, a Washington Post journalist, is subtitled �The new superpower and the end of American supremacy�. According to Mr Reid, �the European Unionhas more people, more wealth and more trade than the United States�and more influence in almost every international body.� Meanwhile in �The European Dream� (Polity), Jeremy Rifkin, a Washington seer, proclaims that the EU also has the edge on ideas. �While the American spirit is tiring and languishing in the past, a new European Dream is being born. It is a dream far better suited to the next stage of the human journey.� One explanation for this new strand of opinion doubtless lies in the grim realities of modern publishing. A willingness grossly to overstate your case can help to secure that all-important cover story or book deal. But there is also a clear ideological split.

Das New York Times Magazine packt das Thema von einer anderen Seite her an: Of late, a whole shelf of books has been published attempting to explain why people hate America so much. These works fall roughly into two categories: left-wing attacks on the United States, and attacks from the right on those who attack it. Think of the first group as the anti-Americans, and the second as the anti-anti-Americans. Just about all these two factions can agree on is that anti-Americanism, in one form or another, is almost as old as the country itself -- and that it has recently grown a lot worse. Consider first the views of the antis. Americans -- as the Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier recently suggested in his inventive but maddening movie ''Dogville'' -- are, by turns, materialistic, ignorant, rapacious and brutal. Arundhati Roy, the Indian author of one good novel and many peevish essays, complains in her strident broadside, ''An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire,'' that the United States suffers from a ''self-destructive impulse toward supremacy, stranglehold, global hegemony'' and is led by a genocidal coward who manipulates a craven press to do his bidding. In less hysterical terms, the Washington-based British scholar Anatol Lieven laments (in his well-written and well-researched ''America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism'') that Americans are excessively religious and nationalistic; worse, they seem determined to inflict their Old Testament values on the rest of the world. It's the ''self-congratulatory guff'' of this civilizational mission (in the words of Will Hutton, another British writer and the author of the cranky ''Declaration of Interdependence: Why America Should Join the World'' that drives many of the anti-Americans around the bend; if only the United States would act more like other countries -- especially those in kinder, gentler, more cosmopolitan Europe, Hutton says -- much of the resentment would dissipate.

Interessant in diesem Zusammenhang auch ein offener, an die Amis gerichteter Brief einiger europ�ischer Vorzeige-Intellektueller (Giuliano Amato, Ralf Dahrendorf und Val�ry Giscard d'Estaing), die die transatlantische Spaltung kitten m�chten: As the political dust settles in your country after a long campaign season, we urge you to engage promptly in a reassessment of relations with Europeans. However powerful your country may be, experience has already demonstrated that you will need allies and functioning global institutions to preserve your fundamental interests. Your best potential partners remain the Europeans. For all our current shortcomings, we share basic values, we are committed to democracy and market economics, and we are strong believers in making multilateral institutions effective. Und noch ein letzter Link zu diesem Thema: Dialog International verweist auf ein neues Image- und Propagandabl�ttchen der deutschen US-Botschaft mit dem Titel "Atlantic Times", in dem nat�rlich auch gleich just �ber Rifkins neues Buch berichtet wird.