The Cranky Ol' Bat

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - RuPaul


Apologies to Fred at Rantburg....

Sometimes I have to apologize for the occasional bit of rude behavior, and this is where I'm going to do it.

Fred, I am sorry for wasting your valuable bandwidth on your blog, Rantburg, by responding to Aris Katsaris' provocations during every discussion of Europe.

I should know better.

However, when I see him going off about America, a country he clearly does not understand, I have let him get to me and I've replied.

I'm not sure what really gets to me most. It might be the weird, twisted history that he has absorbed since childhood regarding my country. Possibly it's his insistence that he knows everything necessary about America without having to visit (Americans like that...the ones who think they know everything necessary about the world who have never gone beyond the border....tork me off, too.)

It might just be seeing how he contradicts himself when he answers that amuses me and draws me in. I don't know.

What I do know is that if he reflects what passes for "pro-American" in Europe....they're in more trouble than they know.

I really don't think that deep inside they get how fed up with them we truly are. When I was growing up, I remember we were all sort of buying into this idea that Europe was in some way our superior (Lookit all that culture, kids!!) Almost everyone I knew was either the child or grandchild of an European immigrant, and we identified ourselves as (some European nationality)-Americans. If someone was in the military they hoped to be posted to Europe, and if they traveled abroad, well, first choice was the continent (you didn't even have to say which was well understood which one you meant). All the foreign languages that were taught in the schools were European, the philosophies taught to us came from Europe. You get the idea.

Then, it started to change in the 1980's. It was slow, but eventually we realized that other, non-European countries mattered. Asia wasn't just a killing field any more. It had Japan, the second largest economy after us, and China was starting to wake up and flex its might. There were new and different things we could learn from them, and slowly we became aware of other countries there, too, that we had ignored when we focused solely on Europe.

Latin America grew in importance, too, as we grew and had more and more friends named Rodriguez, Garcia and Morales. We traveled there, since it was closer and cheaper than Europe, and found that Mexico and Costa Rica and Brazil weren't one and the same like we had always thought they were.

1989 came, and democracy started breaking out all over. The Berlin Wall came down, and I'll never forget the sight of Germans dancing on it while they swung at it with sledgehammers, trying to destroy it.

But still, the attention was directed away from Europe. We watched Tiananmen Square and saw them carrying a "Goddess of Freedom" that looked a lot like.....our Statue of Liberty. We saw one lone student briefly stopping a line of tanks, and wondered if we would have had the courage to do that ourselves in his place. We knew it was doomed to fail, but our hearts were with that brave, crazy guy standing up and saying, "No. No more."

We saw the invasion of Kuwait and prayed as our troops prepared to take it back from Saddam. We prayed for them, since they couldn't openly pray in Saudi Arabia. We saw how we were doing the heavy lifting, with a good assist from the Brits, and wondered where our "allies" were. Our "allies" weren't just the Europeans, who we noticed were hardly there. Arab armies were surprise, really, since they were the most threatened. They weren't very good, so we had to rely on the Brits to help us out. I think the Aussies were there, too.

Milosevich decided that now was the time for a Greater Serbia, and made us familiar with the term "ethnic cleansing". Great, we thought....another European war. But this time, Europe told us to stay out of it, they could handle it without us, this was their backyard.

Ok, we said. And then the bodies piled up while the Europeans did....what? I'm still trying to figure that one out. What did they do?

Eventually we had to go in there. Only this time, there was a new question we were asking, and it was one that the Europeans waved off. How many damn times do we have to go over there and clean up your mess? we wanted to know.

We started noticing the anti-American protests and didn't ignore the messages. USA out of Europe! The American public, silently, thought fine by me, and timidly some began to question why our armies were still in Germany 50 years after World War II.

September 11 happened. We frantically dug into the ruins of the World Trade Center and prayed for miracles. We looked at what had been done to the Pentagon and tried to rescue as many as we could.

And we noticed that we were doing it alone.

There were no "allies" coming over to help us with this. We didn't expect it, anyway.

Nor did we expect to see the venom aimed at us during our most vulnerable moment in the European press. The sons and daughters of immigrants could read what was said about them back in the Old Country and grew angry.

Yes, NATO declared some, what, state of emergency saying they were going to treat this as an attack on all. Big deal. We knew that almost all of the troops were ours, and that the only ones who could get there on their own power were the Brits.

We geared up and decided to go after Osama in Afghanistan. Our betters in Europe told us it was impossible. After all, the British weren't able to conquer, the Russians couldn't, so how the hell could the Americans do it??

Simple. We were angry, we wanted revenge, and we wanted to make sure it didn't happen again.

We conquered the place. And decided to make it better. Elections were held, a new government formed, and women were freed from the prisons of their homes.

The Europeans, when they had anything to say about it, called it "imperialism".

We went from anger towards them to, well, contempt. Yes, contempt. They couldn't get their pathetic little armies over there without contracting with the Russians to airlift them....and then they were going to tell us what they considered acceptable.

Fuck you, Europe. That thought would have been unthinkable in the 90's, but there it was. Fuck you.

We don't need you.

We noticed that some of the best technology was coming from guys named Sanjay and Chang. We were doing a lot of trade with their home countries, even outsourcing some of their best workers to help our companies. Latin America was going democratic, and the countries were getting richer.

Then came Iraq and the mission to hunt down Saddam Hussein. We'll leave the topic of whether we should have gone in there for another time. I just hope that we can bring about a democracy there.)

France, Germany and Russia decided this would be a good time to not just tell us that we were wrong. An ally can do that. What an ally does not do is what they tried to pull off in the UN and other international ventures. France strung us along in the Security Council before finally admitting that, no matter what we said or did, they weren't going to abandon one of their best customers. Then, whenever possible they were going to actively block our every move. Chirac kept passing up good opportunities to shut up.

America watched, and said, Fuck you, France. We discovered Italian, Australian and Chilean wines, and that the French fashionistas weren't the only game in town. There were other places to visit during the summer. You remember, summer....that's when the French left grand-mere to bake in her non-airconditioned apartment because they didn't want to disturb their vacations by checking in on the old bag.

The French, clueless as always, somehow thought this was a government plot. The very idea that maybe we common people had finally had enough escaped them then, and still does today.

The part that really floors us, however, is how the rest of Europe seems to allow France to set the agenda. France! They ignore the EU's rules whenever they want, and the rest of them sit and take it! They claim to be a world power but their stupid aircraft carrier can't even leave the harbor at Marseilles! The last time they had a victorious general, he wasn't even French, he was Corsican!

Yes, as we have done for heaven knows how long, we have concentrated on France when we think of Europe. It's natural....we were taught in school that they helped us beat the Brits to gain our independence. We were told the French language was beautiful, the language of love and diplomacy. We fought for the country twice against the Germans.

So we looked at France and grew angry at the stupid cartoons and articles in Le Monde saying that September 11 was a Jewish plot. (I guess "Mohammed" is a common Jewish first name in Paris....) We saw real French gratitude in action when military cemetaries were desecrated and the French did nothing about it. Well, after all, the dead resting there weren't French. Bitter jokes about the French willingness to defend their own country were even posted on the web.

For the first time in our memory, Americans are talking back to Europe. And our government has even been telling them on occasion where to get off. We looked at them and noticed that maybe they don't have any answers at all.

Our country is young, yes, but our government is significantly older than almost all of theirs. Maybe we have the hang of this democracy thing better than they do. After all, Germany, France and Italy wouldn't have even had democracies after World War II if we hadn't imposed them from above. So far, they seem to be working ok. We don't see European wars every 30 to 50 years as just something that is part of their history, blah, blah, blah.....we see it as a sign of something pathetic and sad, and wonder if they'll ever get over it.

We wonder when they are going to see that maybe, just maybe, the Israelis are more valuable allies than the Palestinians. (Who would you rather have on your side.....a group that's overrepresented in Nobel Prizes and more or less has a democracy, or a bunch of lunatics that scream hatred and only value a woman after she blows herself up?) The view that the only good Jew is a dead Jew, especially coming from a continent that exterminated so many of them, makes most Americans sick.

We are tuning them out and they don't even realize it. Correction....maybe they do, and that is why the screeching seems to be getting more and more shrill.

And now, we see just how ineffective and useless the Europeans really are in regards to the tsunami. This may just be the final nail in the Eurocentric viewpoint we have always had in America. Right after the tragedy, we began coordinating with the Australians, the Indians, and the Malaysians to get help to people who needed it most. The Brits are helping, and so are the Israelis....when someone will let them.

All we expected from Europe is, well, money. We knew damn well they can't get their asses over there to do a friggin' thing. They aren't even on the radar except as UN bureaucrats who imperiously come over to handle the that they have ensured their headquarters are as close to a five-star resort as is possible right now in that part of the world. Please wear UN baby blue vests instead of your uniforms, we can't have these people thinking that America or Australia or India has decent, kind and caring individuals....

We may be both heirs to Western civilization, but we are getting more and more estranged from our cousins across the Atlantic.

Europe went from our teacher and muse to that annoying drunk in the back seat. You know the one....still trying to get by on their fading charm, boring you to death with "When I was..." stories. All we are hoping for from them is that they don't puke on the upholstery before we can get them home.

After all, we have a party to go to. Sanjay, Chang and Jose are waiting for us. We've got to pick up Digger and Nigel first. We'd love to stay, really.... but Ibrahim over here has said he is more than happy to help you out......


  • At 2:23 AM, Blogger Slap-Happy said…

    I've always tried to look at the world in a balanced way. I've heard that Asia has its share of wars (compared to Europe). China has been around for longer than most as a culture. I'm not really up on Bushman history, but I'm willing to bet they're about as violent as the rest of mankind.

    But the French do seem to try and corner the market on wierd and snotty. They don't always succeed. But maybe it's just what they do best, and they're trying to stick with that.


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