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The French neurosis becomes the German neurosis

Monday, 12 August, 2013

In his book Anti-Americanism, the late French philosopher, Jean-François Revel, wrote:

“…at the very time when Europeans were benefitting from the Marshall Plan, leftist parties were opposed to it, putting it down as an American plot to put Western Europe under her thumb — yet another neocolonialist Stern and imperialistic manoeuvre, as could easily be deduced from Marxist theory. Yet the socialist or Christian-Democratic parties of the centre-right that were then in power in most European countries also eschewed any feelings of gratitude, reasoning that by acting generously, America was acting purely in her own interests — as if she really ought to have opposed them! For Americans to have understood that that it was to their own advantage to aid Europe’s economic recovery was not credited to their political intelligence. In keeping with the habitually contradictory rules of anti-Americanism reasoning, we accused and keep accusing Americans of being opposed to a strong Europe; hence, the United States strengthens Europe because she wants to weaken Europe. In this regard, European thinking is a model of coherence.”

Like the Dreyfus espionage affair that gripped France at the end of the 19th century, and which was driven by anti-Semitism and hatred of Germany, the Snowden espionage affair that’s now gripping Germany is driven by anti-capitalism and a corrosive hatred of the United States that Jean-François Revel identified in Anti-Americanism. In many ways, this hatred echoes the anti-Semitism that once was central to German culture and which led to a cataclysm for all involved.

By the way, all those Europeans who opposed The Marshall Plan ignored the fact that it replaced The Morgenthau Plan, which advocated that the Allies should destroy Germany’s industrial capacity and reduce it to a mainly agricultural state. That didn’t happen, of course. And today we find Dimitri B. Papadimitriou writing in ekathimerini.com that “Greece needs a 21st Century Marshall Plan“. Good luck with that, Dimitri.


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