…it sounds like multiculturalist apologetics to me. Sure, there have been terrific French and Germans, even during fascism. But in Germany the overwhelming majority of the people loved Nazism, and the sort of heroics that Jim writes about were minuscule (that’s one of the most horrible things about fascism, by the way; it was enormously popular). In France, yes, there was a bit of a resistance, but again minuscule. The French Army collapsed quickly, the French people adjusted nicely to Vichy, and would have continued ad infinitum if it hadn’t been for…the American Army, the greatest force for democracy in the 20th century.
But Jim is entirely right that just because a country or a culture hits a bad patch, is no reason to think that it’s genetic. Italy, too, loved fascism, but Berlusconi said in Washington a couple of weeks ago that the Italians know they have a democracy because of the sacrifice of American fighting men, and they will not forget that. When we needed French help during the Cuban Missile Crisis De Gaulle was at our side without hesitation, and he was hardly an aberration, he was “la France.”
The problem with France and Germany is not just that they’ve abandoned us; they’ve abandoned themselves. Their countries are headed for a crash, they continue to delude themselves about the workability of the welfare state, and they’re trying to pretend that they matter in the world even though–and this really drives them round the bend–they can no longer participate in modern warfare because they’ve stopped paying for military power in order to appease the demands of nannyism.
I’m really worried that anti-Americanism will be invoked for this generation’s failures, as anti-semitism was used to “explain” the European malaise at the turn of the 20th century.
But I blog excessively…