TCS Daily

Smart Bombs, Smart Communication

By Jean-Christophe Mounicq - June 11, 2003 12:00 AM

This month's G8 summit took place in France, a country where anti-Americanism reached new heights during the war in Iraq. Anti-Americanism was shared by all French politicians, from the extreme right to the extreme left. It was inspired by the Jacques Chirac-Dominique de Villepin team that continues to denounce a "political and moral mistake" and an "unjust and illegal war". Encouraged by French officials, anti-Americanism, which was already dominant among left-leaning, capitalism-hating French, has spread into the majority of the population with the collusion of French media "in a quasi-Soviet atmosphere," as philosophers Pascal Bruckner and André Glucksman say.

The media stressed collateral damage and difficulties encountered by coalition troops, and minimized the horrors committed by Saddam Hussein's regime. "Experts" depicted George W. Bush as a stupid cowboy under the influence of Jewish neo-con hawks. Leftists and Islamists encouraged young French Arabs to paint a swastika on the Israeli flag and Adolf Hitler's moustache on Bush's portrait. Iraqi dissidents were banned from the media, Kurds were forbidden to demonstrate, British graves were profaned, Jews were beaten, and one-third of the French public hoped Saddam would triumph.

As technocrats, Chirac, Villepin and other French diplomats are unused to being criticized. They were astonished and embarrassed to hear that the American administration wants to punish them. They calculate that a few ambiguous words will solve the problem. Chirac tells "his very good friend" Bush that he is now going to be "pragmatic" and that the episode of the Iraqi war should be "forgotten".

The first cold handshake between the two presidents showed Bush has not forgotten. The last thing Americans should do is "forget" as Chirac's "pragmatism" will mean favouring anti-Americanism to stay in power. A shameless anti-American France is understandable in the context of a once great country now crippled by deficits, debts and unemployment. With low growth rates France is in rapid decline. From 1990 to 2000, among the EU countries, the French standard of living dropped from third-place to 12th. In 1980, an Irish citizen had 40 percent of the purchasing power of a Frenchman. That figure is now 125 percent.

Incapable of making any policy other than raising taxes, increasing public spending, enacting more social laws, creating more welfare and fostering more irresponsibility, current politicians and elites are to blame for the French decline, and they know it. Just like failed politicians in the Third World, French politicians know they must divert attention onto scapegoats. What better scapegoat could they find than the US, the world's "hyperpower", "responsible for everything on the planet".

Americans are dangerous. As depicted in Cannes festival-winner film "Elephant", Americans are not only arrogant but madly violent. They carry guns. Even kids carry guns and kill other kids like at Columbine. Haven't you seen the other movie "Dogville"? Ordinary Americans are bad, and gangsters rule. Reality is no different. Americans do not care for their children; they do not care for the environment and refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty. Who is threatening peace? "Poor" Arabs like Hussein or Bin Laden? European polls show: rich Americans like Bush and Rumsfeld.

This socialist propaganda propagated by failing French politicians incapable of reforming their own state would be harmless if it were not worldwide. Not only have the French been convinced by the socialist media but most Europeans too. Germany's Gerhard Schröder won office because he was anti-war and anti-American. The UK's Tony Blair and Spain José María Aznar supported the US but went against public opinion. Anti-Americanism is not a European specificity. Ask an Arab what is his main problem, and he will most likely answer: the Israeli state supported by Americans. Ask a Latin American: he will answer the IMF controlled by Americans who are financially strangling his poor country.

Well aware of that, Chirac, despite his large smiles, will continue to embarrass Bush and confirm his status as number one opponent of the US. As a socialist, he will stay "on the side of the poor" which means against the rich Americans. During the Evian summit, he laid out an agenda heavy on the environment, durable development, and other socialist or "green" economic issues. He repeated the "aid not trade" plea, warned about the dangers of progress and GMOs, supported taxes on the world's wealth and subsidies for farmers. As most countries in Europe and in the world are also headed by a mixture of socialist politicians, leftist unionists and civil servants, and as the economic crisis is worsening, Chirac finds success.

Despite the fall of the Berlin Wall, the military and economic prowess of the US, and the promises G8 members to fight terrorism, the US is losing the intellectual fight in favour of democracy and freedom. The Evian summit was another step in the dissemination of anti-capitalism and socialism - which are linked to anti-Americanism. These phenomena are not new. But because of both their new extent and globalization, they are a much bigger threat. From Toronto to Mexico and Rio, from Ankara to Paris and Berlin, from Riyadh to Islamabad and Cairo, anti-Americanism is growing.

World-wide anti-Americanism is feeding world-wide anti-American terrorism. It is the greatest danger to American citizenry, as 9/11 has shown. As the fight against anti-Americanism is intellectual, the only way to reverse it is not to invest in more smart bombs, but in more smart foreign think tanks and media, and more smart communication with the rest of the world. I hope my American friends understand this.

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