When the bloated and declawed Las Vegas casino-money recipient Newt Gingrich had some fun recently over Mitt Romney’s ability to speak a few words of French, Europeans took notice of this farce. The French are an angry nation: envious, supercilious, and eager to show superiority over those who invented Coca-Cola and the Big Mac. They are also forgetful, especially their amnesia regarding Uncle Sam’s military forays to save la France profonde, as Charles de Gaulle called the land of cheese and perennial German domination.
Jealousy is often provoked by losing something you once had to someone else. In Europe’s case, that “something” is power. Instead of learning to emulate the strategies and systems that have made the US a superpower, many of the European elite, as well as the proverbial man in the street—especially l’homme de la rue—decry Europe’s McDonaldification and endlessly whine about American philistinism. This malicious envy of Uncle Sam is nothing new. It’s been around for at least fifty years. But after George W. and Obama, it seems to be getting worse. Bush was a philistine and his Iraq folly was shared by Tony Blair, a far bigger philistine and phony.
In a recent column, London mayor Boris Johnson wrote that Britain will never get off the pot until the Brits learn to admire success. He noted that unemployment is falling in the US, where wealth creators such as Mark Zuckerberg are generally applauded rather than denounced. However disgusting and intellectually dishonest (my words, not Boris’s) Zuckerberg may be, his success is undeniable, as was his maniacal determination as an undergraduate to become rich. Boris claims this would never happen at Oxbridge.
I’m afraid that I agree with him. I cannot see a European Zuckerberg emerging. I envision debates in European parliaments about the scale of his prospective wealth and whether it was tolerable in a fair society. Anti-capitalist protesters would shut the city down and tents would appear on his office lawns. Such aimless rage is not conducive to wealth creation. This is one of the reasons that most Greek shipowners live outside Greece. A Greek citizen cannot do business unless he or she has a partner inside the government. I don’t think anyone in Congress has as yet approached Zuckerberg to help him push through legislation favorable to Facebook. This is the simple difference between the old and new continents.
Bashing wealth creators isn’t new, but back home in the good old US of A, very few outside the media take it seriously. Americans know that if they scramble and make it, they will receive their fellow citizens’ admiration rather than condemnation.
Which brings me to Obama and his cohorts across the pond. Many of them now have great reservations about the first black president because he has not turned out to be as socialist as they are. The fact that Obama and his fellow free spenders have driven up the national debt to 15.5 trillion greenbacks—nearly five trillion more since he came into office—does not impress the faceless bureaucrooks of Brussels, Paris, London, and Berlin. Obama and those who voted to lift the debt limit should be stars in the eyes of the Brussels gang, but they are disliked for not having lifted it enough.
Far removed from the Brussels power gangs, young Europeans often praise Ron Paul. They agree with his calls to halt the endless wars and to legalize drugs. Europe takes Uncle Sam for granted and refuses to share in military expenditures. Europe refuses to pick up more of the military burden, becoming what some of us who pick up checks in restaurants call a free rider. This should make it easy for Obama to do what Ron Paul asks ad nauseam: Bring the boys back home and see how the rest of the freeloaders like it. Even Europe’s two most important military powers, Britain and France, no longer have the capabilities to execute an overseas military operation. Argentina could invade the Falklands tomorrow, and Britain would have to ask Uncle Sam for a carrier, as their last one was recently decommissioned. Without the US, the NATO powers in Libya would have been without logistics and intelligence, yet they took full credit.
Obama’s refusal to read the riot act to Netanyahu astounded Europe. They see him as more of the same—scared to death of the Israeli lobby and accepting Netanyahu’s insults and defiance of the UN’s anti-settlements resolution. Europeans can’t see a difference between Obama and the GOP candidates who genuflect in front of Likud. I suppose the only difference is skin color. Plus ça change!
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