Monday, April 18, 2011

Adulating in the High Esteem in which they Think they are Held

Europeans, permanently putting America on trial, can’t seem to get a bone out of their throats: for all their resentment, they have no-one out there to do for them what the United States does.

Asked to rate US impact on the issue most important to them, views are even more negative. On average, 61 percent have a negative view, with just 29 percent positive. Indeed, majorities in
all countries except one have majorities holding a negative view. The one exception is Poland, which is divided – 44 percent negative, 41 percent positive.

Canadians are 62 percent negative.
The arrogance is in the questions. The only way the “impact us” conclusions make any sense to discuss is if you naturally assume that the United States exist to serve your interests at its’ own expense. It actually doesn’t.

For example, when the “transatlantic study” ask the question “is the relationship effective?”, what they mean to ask is “it is effective for them?” The very fact that there are a majority of French people who want to further relations with the United States should make Americans ask what all of these couched phrases, the auto-eroticism, and pretend-statesmanship are for?
In summary, it seems that the EU is nearly universally seen as intrinsically positive, though there is less enthusiasm about its ability to produce positive results on the issues that matter to people.
Amusingly, this comes up in an evaluation of what Europeans think of the EU, and what Americans think of the EU, ignoring the incompleteness of the study: what do Americans think of the US when similar questions are asked, if for no other reason, as a control point? The idea that you can assert that they are “loved universally, except when anything meaningful is at stake” is idiotic.

If they really want to understand what people think of their standing in the world, the questions that should be asked are:
“What can Europe do if the United States starts ignoring it?” and
“What can Europe do if the United States becomes hostile to it’s interests and requests?” Their arrogant imaginings that they are at the heart of all global affairs prevents them from even thinking realistically in such terms.
Lastly, the French appear to see themselves as important players in transatlantic efforts to address global issues. The perceived success of these efforts, in French eyes, seems to require France to exert its influence, and for the US to be reliable.
This, despite the fact that minus “peacekeeping” in the Ivory Coast, they’re total commitment is quite limited, and that their demands for others’ reliability needs to be tempered with decades of playing the spoiler at every opportunity as a means of triangulating more influence than their power and capacity at commitment can justify.

Now that they’re buoyed by studying themselves, perhaps they can then start expressing themselves in some real way: do something other than wring their hands, hold seminars, have unimpeachably simplistic opinions about things, and take sort of action that will actually let observers see if they really are doing something that makes them the world’s superpower teddy bear of their fantasies. This is only true if you can “hide the decline”, or in this case conceal an inherent inhumanity and indifference at every turn:
Nearly three quarters (73%) say it is very likely they would volunteer their time to help address the poverty issue, rising to 81 percent in America. Poverty is another issue on which Americans are more prepared than Europeans to contemplate paying higher taxes – 56 percent say they would be likely to do so willingly, compared to 47 percent of Europeans.
Sssh! Don’t say that too loud! De’re hunting wabbits!
Europeans have rather strong perceptions of Americans
you don’t say!?!
with most of these being negative. Majorities or near majorities perceive Americans as manipulative, aggressive, and selfish. However, majorities or near majorities also perceive Americans as bold or daring and as keen consumers.
It must be all of that volunteering to relieve poverty that makes Americans “manipulative, aggressive, and selfish”...
Americans have much less pronounced views of Europeans. They give them modestly high ratings in a number of positive traits including being open, collaborative, sensible and respectful. They also give Europeans low ratings in being aggressive, selfish, and vulgar.
Including aggressive, selfish, and vulgar thoughts like the notion that people are trying to beat down Europe’s door in order to worship them:
The survey suggests that one of the legacies of the turbulent last few years may be a situation in which Americans are much keener on a closer transatlantic relationship than Europeans.
Of course, of course. Whatever you say.

The rest of the publication has a collection of essays which with a few exceptions are not interested in Transatlantic relations in any way, but rather use stale preconceptions and stereotypes about the United States, a few harmless old saws about Europe, and the assumption that the whole “America thing” is simply there for them to use. It is to the point of offering nothing. So fond of its preconceptions, the editors probably thought themselves generous when they asked American Heather Gonzales, Association Director for the National
Association of Evangelicals, to contribute to it – in some effort to get a grip on “that religion thing” that they think plagues “that America thing”. Fighting the temptation to having her play the goat must have been agonizing.

Like the basis of the opinions of most of the essays included, it is printed on post-consumer waste.