During the Cold War, though criticizing the quality of democracy, Hannah Arendt kept however confident in the American model of democratic institutions, believing that they still preserved the freedom of the right of association and of civil disobedience Arendt, , But later on, at the zenith of conservative thinking, Samuel Huntington denounced the increasing lack of trust in American institutions. The dissimilarity between them lies in the communicational support of the powerful images created by Weber at the beginning of the last century, as compared with Huntington, at the end of the same century.
The contrast also lies in the intellectual public vs. In the first example, the theory about the religious fundamentals of capitalism is dedicated to an academic milieu or to cultural hermeneutics. In the second one, the American political analyst addresses the idea of Western civilization and its safeguarding, while commenting on the novelty of the world after the death of ideologies, especially of Marxism. Pervasiveness of image in post-modernity is evident due to the prevalence of at least four factors which attest in everyday experience the omnipresence of image and imagery in mass culture.
Communication has definitely turned dependent on the use of images and on their perception. In the age of consumption, images are efficient agents of political and economic marketing, as well as constituents in the re construction of national identities, enhancing the cultural recognition of various ethnic, religious, civil society groups. Image consumption is no longer optional, it is has become a cultural habit, ever since the media has started shaping our environment.
It has imposed itself as an inexhaustible source of authentic perceptions of individuals, events, communities, refashioning mass culture, revolutionizing high culture. Kellner, , The study of the imaginary is a useful trans-disciplinary instrument to acknowledge anti-Americanism in Europe. Europeanization of Eastern European has turned in this sense into a complex set of applicative strategies originating in a philosophy of integration which has been carried through at variable speeds according to unique national cultural foundations.
Checking standardization has therefore become an important aspect of the very process of Europeanization, which enhanced different levels of power in the EU, especially when confronted with national ist legacies. European federalism faces national dilemmas as European state borders do not coincide with cultural frontiers.
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On the other hand Europeanization as well as Americanization or Sino-fication put into bold relief strategies of power which identify civilizational antagonisms, eventually re fueled by religion or economic discrepancies. The study of the imaginary could peruse therefore the interaction of different cultural layers forming the motivation of human action, from religious beliefs to political options, thereby acknowledging readiness for conflict and its legitimization.
Definitions of the imaginary as a relevant part of the study of phenomenology, literature, psychology, political science and politics are to be found in the works of Jean Paul Sartre, Gaston Bachelard, Maurice Blanchot, Roman Ingarden, Jacques Lacan, Cornelius Castoriadis. Some authors are still reluctant to use the concept of the imaginary Hoffmann, , The evident presence of anti-Americanism triggers the appearance of generic or particular representations in various forms of the dislike if not of the hatred of America.
In this article, I intend to deal with the relation between the imaginary and anti-Americanism in Europe, wishing to point out the vehemence of a resentment anchored in cultural difference, displaying nonetheless a strikingly ideological potentiality. The attempt to define anti-Americanism is daunting due to the quantity of information available.
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But, at the same time, defining anti-Americanism boils down to a rather simple operation. The same non-American civilization may experience contradictory instances of passing from admiration for America to one of a profound dislike.
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In the case of France, though, a general anti-Americanism has prevailed at least in the elite circles. In other instances these unpredictable, irrational traits of anti-Americanism appeared to be unavoidable. Foreseeing into a future with complete autonomy of the EU including the military , will the memory of anti-Americanism continue to persist once the Western world has traveled into a multi-polar world where one could assume that other international players, more powerful than the US might take the lead?
Will anti-Americanism be studied only as an inventory of strategies dealing with other forms of exceptionalism? Or will it simply disappear? The persuasion of anti-Americanism has reached a culminating point when it succeeded to unmask Americanism, or rather American idealism as a false hope, a betrayal of expectations in regard to democracy, or just the hypocrisy of a cynical power. Anti-Americanism stands as a core reaction to the shortcomings and errors of American policies, judged against the idealism of the promises of American democracy. In many cases, anti-Americanism has camouflaged itself within the anti-modern discourse, or under the disguise of political correctness, when the disillusions and discontents of globalization and modernization have proved to cost too costly for local politicians.
Anti-Americanism was often employed as an ideological agent whose mission was to cement public consciousness, after first alerting it against the imminent peril of Americanization. This inconstancy within anti-Americanism may disarm those who think that a general mobilization against America has come and this will be the final curtain falling on the discontentment of living in postmodernity.
It is therefore difficult, if not impossible to understand modern Western civilization as an equally balanced entity relying simultaneously on Europe and America.
Anti-Americanism and the American World Order (Journal of Democracy Book)
The new European anti-Americanism legitimizes the emergent independent political discourse of the European Union in the construction of Europeanism. Krastev agrees that the world of today cannot complain about the lack of democratic procedures, but of the absence of democratic policies, which might lead to the transforming of anti-Americanism into a main obstacle to implementing democracy, or may simply weaken it. A similar opinion is held by Hungarian economist Janos Matyas Kovacs who considers that anti-Americanism is professed in Hungary by nationalist or populist groups, whereas pro-Americanism is sustained by liberally minded circles Kovacs, , Without drawing a close parallel to Hungary, one might say that in Romania post-Cold War anti-Americanism rests on the deeply embedded authoritarian traditions, though the post-Communist elites turned pro-American after in order to launder their past Sellin, , The peril of changing cultural anti-Americanism in an explosive mixture of nationalism and xenophobia in Europe is quite real Romero, , It is worth remarking that if in criticizing American policies or political tendencies, one finds justified points of view, as regards the differences between Europe and the US, this way of looking critically is too often replaced by a disparaging manner of blaming America as the source of all wrongs.
The ongoing conflict between liberal and conservative America is perceived as a disheartening fracture of the once organic unity of the American creed. Waiting for a deeper analysis of the way in which forms of anti-Americanism are replete and replenished, it would probably be necessary to regard anti-Americanism as embodying a plurality of voices.
Instead of figuring out a single brand of anti-Americanism, it is certainly more adequate to review and inventory various types of anti-American experiences in an effort to acknowledge the peculiarities of each cultural area on which America or its soft power had a measurable contrastive influence. Claiming that Americanism and especially Americanization are the natural sources of anti-Americanism does not lighten the burden of classifying different outcomes of the anti-American reactions in many parts of the world, as well as in Western and Eastern Europe.
It undoubtedly evident that after September , the US assumed an altered place in the social imaginary of Europeans. Once employed to herald the birth of the New World, the metaphor seems to consecrate the building of a new Europe, where the plague of war and of warring policies culture wars would not be known. Returning to Europe wherefrom it took its original flight, the metaphor of the two worlds weighs the price of hegemony and neo-conservative policies which have indentured the integrity of American democracy.
But so did consumerism, the menace of totalitarianism, new mass media communication, and not only in America. Born out of a modern religious crisis, America, bearing the promise of the new Canaan, fulfilled this role of as an alternative world until its transformation formed an exception to Europe, and moved into an exceptional otherness of Europe. It is true that the project of the enlarged Europe has enthused millions of Europeans at the end of the Cold War, putting an end to European wars and divisions under the seal of democracy, except for the wars in the former Yugoslavia during the 90s.
At the same time, one cannot deny that until this moment the EU has not claimed a providential promise as the symbolic fountain of its union, as in the case of the American creed, and it has not imposed a constitution as a necessary political frame, accommodating a new ethos for its new citizens.
The European unity does not enjoy the fruits of its own statehood, and what ensues from this complicated network of international organisms is that bureaucratic standards easily replace affective links which might have united members within the same federal community. The reasons for European integration are perceived and valued differently by the members of the European community.
Under these circumstances, anti-Americanism resentments are used as a substitute for European sentiments. March 15, was the day when philosophers Juergen Habermas, Jacques Derrida and Richard Rorty, along with political leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn greeted the birth of a united Europe as a new world, quickly distancing itself from the US, and naturally taking advantage of the widespread protests against the Iraq war.
The enthusiastic opinions presented by the above mentioned notable West Europeans, as well as of other representatives of the EU were not shared by the intellectuals, writers and leaders of civil society in Eastern Europe, which signals the presence of a dissimilar social imaginary in the other part of Europe. In a comparative analysis of the US and the UE, Stanley Hoffmann holds that the EU does not provide a social and cultural project which might tone down the historical discrepancies as well as the cultural frontiers between European states, in an attempt to gain the trust of European citizens in their own belonging to a renewed Europe Hoffmann, , The process of a relatively rapid enlargement in post Cold War Europe was not buttressed by the existent quality of democratic traditions, and thus disparities in economic and administrative, political matters appeared among different countries.
Hoffmann thinks that the construction of nowadays Europe relies on three types of illusions which might eventually jeopardize a functional European integration.
The three illusions, mentioned by Hoffmann, namely the technological, the procedural and the progressive one may stand for long awaited opportunities which could melt down differences among members of the enlarged Europe, putting and end to tensions and divisions, to European hegemonic national tendencies. Yet, no matter how noble EU administrative projects may be in their pragmatic approach to the varied histories of European countries as similar as chalk and cheese , these alchemical strivings may run out of steam precisely because of the diverse European national imaginaries.
For the time being, one can notice in the process of transforming of the US in the European social imaginary, there are three distinct directions. Among the latter would be: having to fight, having to pay the costs of wars from their own resources, having painfully to repair the devastation war leaves behind, and, to fill up the measure of evils, load themselves with a heavy national debt that would embitter peace itself and that can never be liquidated on account of constant wars in the future.
But, on the other hand, in a constitution which is not republican, and under which the subjects are not citizens, a declaration of war is the easiest thing in the world to decide upon, because war does not require of the ruler, who is the proprietor and not a member of the state, the least sacrifice of the pleasures of his table, the chase, his country houses, his court functions, and the like. He may, therefore, resolve on war as on a pleasure party for the most trivial reasons, and with perfect indifference leave the justification which decency requires to the diplomatic corps who are ever ready to provide it.
From the aftermath of the Second World War onwards, these two blocs [centered on the superpowers] have faced each other like two fighters in a short and narrow lane. With the American-Soviet military standoff in the background, military governments were born all over the world, and civil war and the violent suppression of independence movements continued to take place. In addition, the cluster bombs held by the American forces in Japan will almost certainly remain, will they not?
It also contains an impassioned plea for Japan to move toward a vision of national security based on non-violent principles,. Just what country do we expect to manage an amphibious assault on Japan in the face of defensive fire? China and North Korea are probably imagined [assailants] but this idea departs too far from reality. Unlike Tamogami, Arai does not call for summarily scrapping the Japanese-American alliance. He hopes, however, for a dramatic expansion of the power of international organizations and laws to curtail all forms of organized violence, but especially aerial bombardment, which almost inevitably takes a huge civilian toll.
This is a humanist perspective that seeks to transcend nationalism in a bid to construct a trans-national Asian community. Where Arai makes use of legal arguments to support a sweeping call for a different conceptualization of international relations, Tanaka makes an extremely powerful plea for empathy. In the conclusion, Tanaka quotes a poem of atomic bomb victim Kurihara Sadako,.
A glowing blue flash. Buildings fall. Fires burn. Amid the spiraling smoke. A mass of people flee.
United States of America
Weaving beneath the power lines, hanging downward . He presents this moving image, not to exceptionalize, but rather to universalize Japanese suffering,. The scene … that Kurihara illuminates is not limited to the atomic bombings, it is an experience shared by all humans placed under aerial attack.
It is a horror that cannot effectively be put into words. Suddenly a bomber, like some monstrous creature in the sky, brings with it the vicious roar of explosions… Thrown by the explosive force, arms are torn away, legs blown off. Tanaka calls for empathy with victims that transcends nationality,.
Drawing on the rich history of Japanese progressive thought, Tanaka cites the example of anti-war novelist Oda Makoto for cultivating the sort of empathy that leads to passionate action. By looking at this picture every day, Oda was able to connect the horrific air attack that he survived as a child with the Japanese bombing suffered by the people of China and the long years of bombing of the Vietnamese people by America.
The Okinawan war experience, however, has also been used as part of a cross-media progressive project to present a clear alternative to neo-nationalist history that also includes a much more subtle presentation of the American other. Okinawan civilians suffered grievously during the American siege of the islands in , but this is only one side of their wartime tragedy.
Men, women, and children were forced from shelters and into the line of fire by Japanese soldiers who often saw civilians as a hindrance or a threat rather than people to protect. Many Okinawan civilians, encouraged by wartime propaganda or pressured by the Japanese military, killed themselves and their families rather than surrender to the United States.