Anti-Americanism, by Paul Hollander
After the cold war, what does the Left have left? The answer would seem to be anti-Americanism. Indeed, ever since the end of the conflict in Vietnam this may well have been the only real ideology of the Western Left, but only now, with the disappearance of Communism, can we see the matter clearly. How else, after all, to explain the assortment of pacifists, environmental activists, “anti-racists,” and self-appointed social critics in France, Germany, and the United States who were falling all over themselves a year and a half ago to excuse the conduct of a certified fascist in Iraq whose crimes included not merely torture, massive extinction of minorities, and suppression of his own domestic Left, but also the uninhibited use of oil pollution as a military weapon? Would these people have been so anxious to appease Saddam Hussein had he been an ally rather than an adversary of the United States?
These are the sorts of questions addressed in Anti-Americanism, a massive and at times unwieldy tome in which the sociologist Paul Hollander struggles with a subject admittedly elusive and yet too pervasive to be ignored. As in his justly acclaimed Political Pilgrims (1981), Hollander here takes us on a long tour through the adversary culture, first in the United States and then in other countries. His basic point is that anti-Americanism flourishes most vigorously in the United States itself; almost all of the foreign varieties are merely pallid (though sometimes bizarre) offshoots. As one prominent Swedish journalist put it, “I have tried to find some critiques of the United States that [are] uniquely Swedish, but I have not found a single opinion, a single nuance, that has not already been expressed [first] by American critics.”
About the Author
Mark Falcoff is resident scholar emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.