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on 12 January 2010
In light of the important role anti-Americanism and antisemitism play in the constitution of a European
identity this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand more about contemporary European
thought.

The book explores the vital issue of the relationship between between anti-Americanism and antisemitism
and how the hatred for America is connected to antizionist thought.
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Markovits provides an insightful analysis of anti-Americanism amongst the influential intellectual and political elites of Western Europe. It is interesting that this hatred of the USA exists on both sides of the political spectrum; the author points out how since the Second World War anti-Americanism has migrated from the traditionalist right to the left. Especially since the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the phenomenon has become ever more pronounced and prevalent in the mass media. Jean-Francois Revel had previously examined the nature of the beast in his excellent book Anti-Americanism.

Markovits argues that it has its own momentum and is not really fuelled by American actions; the attitude is used by the Eurocrats in an attempt to foster a type of pan-European patriotism. As such, it is a rather toxic glue to hold the EU together and not a firm foundation for the nascent superpower. It is clear that the phenomenon is harnessed to plaster the cracks in the wall and to obscure the very real problems faced by the old continent. Scapegoating can only work for a limited period where after the great majority of ordinary Europeans will wake up and smell the burning tires.

Markovits provides examples of the contradictory nature of European complaints against America, coming to the convincing conclusion that it is weirdly irrational and emotionally based. As evidence he charts the long history of the attitude that stretches back to the settlement of the Americas. One is tempted to laugh at the childishness of these early writers but for the fact that this is the same level of discourse encountered today throughout much of the European left-leaning media. See for example Can We Trust the BBC? by Robin Aitken.

Much of its manifestation may be irrational, silly and juvenile, but there is good reason to fear that a sinisterform of derangement underlie it. He devotes an entire chapter to the similarities between European anti-Americanism and resurgent Antisemitism. For example, in its migration from Right to Left, its evil twin Antisemitism has moved with it. The Resurgence of Anti-semitism by Bernard Harrison provides a brilliant exploration and analyses of the new Antisemitism under the mask of Anti-Zionism on the European Liberal Left.

The author is alarmed that this demonization of Israel is not restricted to the Hard Left but very common amongst social democrats and environmentalists too. He believes anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism are inseparable, growing side by side in Western Europe, rooted in the same angst and resentments. Politicians like Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schoeder have exploited this sentiment for their own benefits. Although Sarkozy and Merkel are admirable friends of the USA, they may just prove to be the exception as these attitudes are deeply ingrained in the Euro elites.

The author observes that anti-Zionism is openly Antisemitic in some instances but in the larger context it serves as a respectable vehicle and protective cloak for Antisemitism. Old Europe is undoubtedly in deep trouble. I recommend that Uncouth Nation be read in conjunction with those books dealing with Europe's decline, like Menace in Europe by Claire Berlinski, Londonistan by Melanie Phillips, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer, The Force of Reason by the late Oriana Fallaci and The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent by Walter Laqueur.

Whilst the Eurocracy is now militantly secularist, I don't rule out a return to religion by the people. The most disturbing scenario would be a repeat of the 1930s, by for example the embrace of a charismatic pan-European leader in the face of overwhelming crises like major terror attacks, instead of a return to classical liberal values. Part of the problem is, Europe does not have much of a principled Right, except perhaps the UK Tories and the libertarian parties of Scandinavia.

Oriana Fallaci compared the old Italian Right of the Risorgimento to a noble lady that committed suicide - an apt description of the senescent Christian Democrats that have accepted the tenets of welfarism and pan-Europeanism. Europe is not competing well in the globalised market and is still to a large extent in denial about the threat of terrorism. Now on the East, Europeans are faced with the rise of Putin's increasingly belligerent criminal state.

I just cannot see the entire behemoth of 27 states uniting, rather, I suspect, a core group might form that includes Germany, France, the Benelux countries, Italy and some other Central European states. The rest might retain some autonomy but be closely integrated economically. Markovits is under no illusion about the possibility of a Democrat administration diminishing European anti-Americanism. It will make no difference at all, since it's an emotional condition and is gathering momentum. In addition to this superb work by Markovits, I recommend What's Left? by Nick Cohen and Hating America: A History by Barry Rubin.
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VINE VOICEon 1 July 2007
This book is a detailed analysis of anti-Americanism in Europe, a subject that few people have analysed in any depth. The most we have had until now are passing references in books on radical Islam in Europe. This book is a detailed, scholastic analysis by an American academic.

The book essentially examines three things. Firstly, that the US is being used a bogey man by the EU elites, with any and all possible vices attached to it. Indeed, any negative development in European society is often blamed on the US or on "globalisation", which is often code for the USA. This attitude is particularly pronounced in the European media. The author even suggests that the anti-American card is often played by the EU elites as a means of uniting Europeans in their hatred of America, and thus creating a pan-European identity based around anti-American stereotypes.

Secondly, the book examines how America is "damned if you do, damned if you don't" when it comes to the European public, a recurrent theme in the book. If America does something good, it is dismissed as a cynical gesture aimed at ingratiating people before a demand. If America does not do something nice, it is scolded for not acting. It is therefore clear that America cannot win as far as winning approval from the European's is concerned.

Finally, the book examines the link between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in Europe, a connection few would initially make, but one that the author clearly illustrates. He notes that particularly on the European left, Israel and the US are seen as two sides of the same coin, and thus they are often abused continuously and interchangeably. The author makes the controversial statement that much of the anti-Israel criticism in Europe is little more than the continent's latent anti-Semitism re-emerging in camouflaged form.

The book does have one or two weaknesses. Firstly, the author seems to feel he has to apologise for his views on certain topics, and this occasional timidness is a little disappointing, albeit not a major weakness. Secondly, the book is a little long, largely because of far too many examples of anti-Americanism being quoted. The author could be more concise and conclude that we "get the picture", but nevertheless we see examples of the same point he is trying to make stated again and again.

All in all, the book is an excellent analysis of contemporary anti-Americanism, and is a must read for anyone interested in the relationship between Europe and America.
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