Oh, lordy: it’s Nick again.
From de Pauw’s defence of the natural superiority of aristocratic Europe, via Nietzsche, Heidegger and the other Nazi philosophers, to Baudrillard and the postmodernists who decry America as “the desert of the real”, there has been a barely disguised fear that European peoples would abandon their hierarchies if they got the chance to follow the American way.Yes, indeed: France feared the rise of the United States so much that it bankrupted itself in order to make it happen. If you were to find a modern-day analogy for the relationship between France and the revolutionaries of the thirteen colonies, probably the most appropriate would be the relationship between Iran and Hezbollah, except that Hezbollah appears to have more operational autonomy. The Continental Army fought with French muskets and French artillery, and were paid directly from the French treasury. The Hezbs run their own businesses and buy their military kit from all over, if the effective use of Kornets, Milans and RPG 29s in the late war is anything to go by.
The pretext for this is a review of George Walden’s God Won’t Save America, and that in turn is a pretext for promoting the faintly paranoid decentist worldview that the debacle in Iraq exposes a conspiracy of cynical Europeans and Muslimonazis to thwart the spread of freedom from its one true home to the rest of the world. Take this dig at Chris Patten:
Walden reinforces the point with a marvellous portrait of the over-promoted Chris Patten, a Widmerpool for our times. While governor of Hong Kong, Patten was loud in his demands for democracy. When he became European commissioner for external affairs, however, his passion deserted him. Supporting democracy in the Middle East would upset the dictatorships Europe did business with and compromise the EU’s strategic ambition to be a counterweight to the US in the region.
Actually, Patten didn’t just shout about democracy in Hong Kong. He introduced limited but genuine institutional reforms which enabled more Hong Kongers to vote for the Legislative Council. These measures were overturned when China took over, China of course being a dictatorship that no-one at all wants to do business with, unlike the economic powerhouse that was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
I’m not sure what you’d call this kind of thinking, but the phrase bourbon comforter springs to mind.