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February 14, 2003

European anti-Americanism

During a conference call of the we were asked to say what we are doing to keep our spirits up during this time of looming war. Most of my friends and colleagues reported practically useful or spiritually worthy activities that they have embarked on recently to bolster their spirits—ranging from playing music to rediscovering grammar school friends to co-teaching a course with Noam Chomsky (literally). All I could think of was our family decision this morning to follow the instructions in the newspaper and buy plastic sheeting for an emergency shelter room. (Unfortunately, all the sheeting is gone from local stores).

Although I probably should focus on the damage that we may be about to do in the Middle East, my actual thoughts range from fear for my family, to irritation at the way the Bush Administration handles diplomacy, to equally profound irritation with the European anti-War movement. Everyone's instinct in a time of crisis is to use it for pre-existing political ends, whether they want to bash American culture or impose US power on the Middle East. Each group interprets everyone else's motives as narrowly selfish or self-indulgent. And all the parties act so as to confirm the worst interpretations of their enemies.

Posted by peterlevine at February 14, 2003 04:43 PM