US Irish: enough of the knee jerk anti Americanism

Niall O’Dowd takes Vincent Browne to task for the latter’s extraordinarily visceral attack (subs needed) on Irish efforts at providing aid for the victims of hurricane Katrina. Anti Americanism in Ireland he argues has lost perspective (subs):

Vincent Browne would rather that Ireland, with perhaps the closest cultural, historical and political ties of all to the United States, was not one of those countries that contributed. He is once again exhibiting the reflexive anti-Americanism which has become such a part and parcel of the Irish intelligentsia.

Under the Bush era this anti-Americanism has reached its zenith. Now it seems that even desperate hurricane victims should be made feel the cold lash of Irish disapproval.

In their rush to the moral high ground, Browne and others have angered many Irish-Americans deeply, a fact reflected in the stream of angry comments and letters my publications, Irish Voice newspaper and Irish America magazine, have received.

Still at the stage of thought experiment, he speculates:

Let’s assume a virulent strain of anti-Irishism suddenly begins to flourish in America. Using the Browne logic, all American aid and support for Ireland would immediately stop. The International Fund for Ireland, which has dispensed more than €603 million on 4,850 projects to foster cross-Border peace and reconciliation projects, would be immediately ended.

The American taxpayer has higher priorities than funding peace efforts on the wealthy and tiny island of Ireland. Likewise, the private initiative known as the American Ireland Fund, which has raised more than $115 million in a spectacular fundraising drive in the past few years, would immediately stop funding their projects the length and breadth of Ireland. Thousands of small voluntary organisations would be deeply affected – but the point would be made.

Taking Browne’s article as a benchmark for anti American sentiment, he warns:

I feel it is time to send a warning that Irish-Americans have almost had enough and that, while fully understanding the anti-Bush sentiment in Ireland, something else altogether has begun to creep in. It is a mean-spirited and myopic attitude that everything American is bad, that the homeless and helpless can be included in that, and that Ireland has no obligation whatever to help in dire times of need. Americans deserve better than that from their oldest friends.

138 thoughts on “US Irish: enough of the knee jerk anti Americanism”

  1. D’Oracle: “The scary thing now is that a lot of people in a lot of places are seriously pissed -off with the US, its made of lot of serious enemies, lost a lot of friends and a lot of innocent people will pay a price for this long after Dubya has his feet up on the front porch down in Crawford.”

    Don’t kid yourself. Most of the “enemies we made” didn’t like us to start with, most of the “friends we lost” were, to quote Tom Lehrer, our “new friends,” like Germany and our “traditional” ones, like France… and, per Marx (Groucho, not Karl…) “With friends like these…” As for people dying, I would point out Islamic terrorism existed before that paragon of accomplishment Jimmy Carter hit the stage. Frankly, peanut-man did far more to encourage the bombing set that Bush.

    Y’see, the monsters out there, they don’t need a reason… they don’t even need a cause… they just need an excuse and *ANY* excuse will do… even if they have to make one up.

  2. D’Oracle: “The scary thing now is that a lot of people in a lot of places are seriously pissed -off with the US, its made of lot of serious enemies, lost a lot of friends and a lot of innocent people will pay a price for this long after Dubya has his feet up on the front porch down in Crawford.”

    Don’t kid yourself. Most of the “enemies we made” didn’t like us to start with, most of the “friends we lost” were, to quote Tom Lehrer, our “new friends,” like Germany and our “traditional” ones, like France… and, per Marx (Groucho, not Karl…) “With friends like these…” As for people dying, I would point out Islamic terrorism existed before that paragon of accomplishment Jimmy Carter hit the stage. Frankly, peanut-man did far more to encourage the bombing set that Bush.

    Y’see, the monsters out there, they don’t need a reason… they don’t even need a cause… they just need an excuse and *ANY* excuse will do… even if they have to make one up.

  3. Joan Baez…Gore Vidal…Eleanor Roosevelt…Dorothy Parker,puhleeese? Are those your favourite Americans?

    Heaven help us if anyone in the US had actually listened to them, today the Soviet Union would be in control of Eastern Europe with the gulags working at overtime, and all those nice Estonians and Poles who are doing the work that we’re to proud to do now would be helping in the repression and mass slaughter of Afghans for whom the term “democratic election” would be a cruel joke.

    The People’s Republic of China, a strong and vibrant MARXIST nation would be putting a bullet into the back of the head of any vegetable stall holder who suggested that maybe an open market would be a good thing. They would be moving in to annex Kampuchea after its population mysteriously disappeared as a result of Mr Pol Pot’s widely acclaimed agrarian reforms.

    Of course South Korea would have ceased to exist long ago. Immediately after the unresisted communist takeover of South Vietnam there would have been declarations of new Socialist Workers Republics in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Re-education camps and more agrarian reform were expected in the countrysides of these nations, this would consist mainly of masses of people digging large pits that were soon filled in again.

    In Latin America nasty corrupt right wing dictatorships would immediately be overthrown and replaced by much nastier and even more corrupt left wing dictatorships. Daniel Ortega, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro would be feted by Hollywood and the New York literati as great reformers and human rights activists instead of the psychotic thugs and hoodlums they actually were, while simultaneously the populations of their respective nations starved in what amounted to open air prison camps (ok I grant you that incredible as it may seem this actually occurred!!). The idea that liberal democratic free market governance might be the best solution for Latin America would be met with howls of derision.

    In the middle east the world would look on the rise of a virulent form of fascism based on the Koran as a good thing and that America should immediately surrender to it and apologise for any offense it may have caused in the past back to and not exclusively the fall of the Caliphate in 1492 (the year that Christopher Columbus sailed west)

    Africa would be…er well Africa.

  4. Well Thomas, I see it’s me and you again tonight. looks like Rita’ll be bitch-slappen’ us both here in about 3 days. Dallas is already full with Katrina evacuees. no place to put many more. Same in Austin I bet. Watch out for the flash floods in those gullies. They fill fast and trap the cars. We’re actually gonna get a lottA RAIN if Rita stays on course and goes to Cat-4. Ireland, if you’re still a prayin’ people, we can use all the prayers we can get.

  5. D’Oracle: “The scary thing now is that a lot of people in a lot of places are seriously pissed -off with the US, its made of lot of serious enemies, lost a lot of friends and a lot of innocent people will pay a price for this long after Dubya has his feet up on the front porch down in Crawford.”

    Don’t kid yourself. Most of the “enemies we made” didn’t like us to start with, most of the “friends we lost” were, to quote Tom Lehrer, our “new friends,” like Germany and our “traditional” ones, like France… and, per Marx (Groucho, not Karl…) “With friends like these…” As for people dying, I would point out Islamic terrorism existed before that paragon of accomplishment Jimmy Carter hit the stage. Frankly, peanut-man did far more to encourage the bombing set that Bush.

    Y’see, the monsters out there, they don’t need a reason… they don’t even need a cause… they just need an excuse and *ANY* excuse will do… even if they have to make one up.

  6. Well Thomas, I see it’s me and you again tonight. looks like Rita’ll be bitch-slappen’ us both here in about 3 days. Dallas is already full with Katrina evacuees. no place to put many more. Same in Austin I bet. Watch out for the flash floods in those gullies. They fill fast and trap the cars. We’re actually gonna get a lottA RAIN if Rita stays on course and goes to Cat-4. Ireland, if you’re still a prayin’ people, we can use all the prayers we can get.

  7. Noam Chomsky and Joseph Heller top my list of favourite Americans.

    Harry flashman, you need to have a bex and lie down. Daniel Ortega was not worse than Trujillo. The US helped create the Jihadists using the same logic you do. A million Indonesians died in ’65. not a bad effort. Are you really claiming that Deng would not have existed if Gore Vidal had his way? Are you denying that the US bombing of Cambodia helped to increase the fanaticism of the KR? as well as kill about 300,000 peasants. Are you claiming that all those really existing facists and toe clippers (trained by the US in part) were worse than the democratically elected governments of Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, which the US helped overthrow? The idea that liberal democratic free market governance might be the best solution for Latin America is met with growing howls of derision by millions of Latin Americans. I could go on, but I’m beggining to rant.

  8. The USA has been wholly taken for a ride by the whole Irish American cult, because thats what it is…and fair play, we take the American money but actually think American’s are essentially dumb and ignorant.

    Ireland is one of the most anti American nations in Western Europe and its imbedded in the culture of the people. But somehow Ireland has brilliantly taken the concept of Irish Americanism and done the best PR job I’ve seen since someone went to a large ice covered place and called it Greenland.

    The reality is, there wasn’t an excuse for the Irish State to stay neutral in WW2. Thankfully some of the citizens had the good wit to join up and fight and have done so before and since.

    As regard the whole Irish (as opposed to the wee Ulster ‘honest its a language’ Scots) fighting
    for America, thats a score draw. During the War of Independence, people who you could define as Irish in backgorund fought for the British as well as for the Amerians. Previous posts have shown that they fought on both sides in the American-Mexican conflicts and so on.

    A crude sum, but if upto 40% of Americans claim Irish heritage, how come only less 25% claim to be Catholic in relgious background before we start counting all the other immigrant nations that make up the country’s populace. Even if you add teh % that stated no religion and took a slice out for inter-religious mixing etc etc, it still wouldnt add up.

    If you were born in America and carry an American passport you are American, the Irish bit is merely a heritage that has absolutely nothing to do with the daily life in the USA that you live or the social, political, communcations media and indeed cultural system that you live within over there. It’s well known that the number who claim Irish heritage in America and who actually have Irish Heritage ae rather different, same goes for people in Britain who claim irish background..myth and reality…begorra!

  9. I could never hate America, or Ireland or the British.
    In fact I determinedly don’t allow myself to go down that road at all regarding any country. There is an extremly thin line between hating countries or governments and it gradually extending to general populations.
    But if I was to start listing the countries where personal freedoms aren’t even allowed to be an aspiration never mind a reality, then those three (along with many others, of course) wouldn’t get a look in.

  10. Yokel
    “Ireland is one of the most anti American nations in Western Europe and its imbedded in the culture of the people”

    Can you back that up somehow? Because personally I think it is utter bullshit.

  11. Of course you do Maca, thats because my viewpoint doesn’t fit with yours. Makes sense that don’t it.

    I’ve lived in worked in the following countries, Ireland, North & South, GB, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Luxembourg and a little in Belgium and in Spain and there I’ve seen the views of the poltical establishments in those countries towards America, the ordinary Joe view and the media views. Hostility there at all 3 levels to a greater or lesser degree and in Ireland its definitely there alright.

    In Ireland there is, for some reason, a fairly deep underlying hositility to the ‘American Way’ so to speak but what specifically I’ve never put my finger on, classic case of we don’t like but we’ll swallow the burgers. I believe its envy and fear at its core. In the absence of physical power against the USA many jump on the moral, social and cultural superiority stands. That goes for the other nations also.

  12. Yokel

    “Ireland is one of the most anti American nations in Western Europe and its imbedded in the culture of the people. “

    If it’s embedded in the culture of Ireland, I’m sure you can put those googling talents of yours to prove that anti-Americanism is a part of Irish culture. Unless you are talking out your as$ and are just making a generalisation.
    Interesting link though on the NINA. What’s your view on the Nativist movement of the period?

    “The reality is, there wasn’t an excuse for the Irish State to stay neutral in WW2.”

    Care to elaborate?

    “As regard the whole Irish (as opposed to the wee Ulster ‘honest its a language’ Scots) fighting
    for America, thats a score draw.”

    You wouldn’t believe how many score draws there are throughout history. Napolean’s shoch troops were an Irish brigade, formed from the ancestors of the Wild Geese. Napolean was defeated by The Duke of Wellington, who was from Kildare.

  13. Yokel, it’s not because you’re viewpoint doesn’t fit with mine it’s because I don’t think such anti-Americanism exists in the way you claim.
    On the contrary, the US has provided a home to generations of Irish people and I know many people who look on the US with a degree of fondness. We’ve always had very close relations so your point that anti-Americanism is imbedded in our culture baffles me. I’ve never seen any “hositility to the ‘American Way'” and every single Irish person I know who has visited the US thoroughly enjoyed their visit there and had high praise for both the country & the people.

    I’ve done my own fair share of travel and any “anti-American” sentiment (directed mainly @ Bush US foreign policy) i’ve seen/heard has come as much from British/Swedish/German/Middle-Eastern/etc people as it has come from Irish.

  14. The Tanaistes famous speech about how “Ireland was spiritually closer to Boston than Berlin” contradicits your viewpoint as this speech hit a core with a lot of people.

  15. I love Americans, conservative and liberal.

    My favourite American at the minute is the mover and shaker who was responsible for the best kept secret this weekend. The second democratic election in Afghanistan.

  16. The Tanaistes famous speech about how “Ireland was spiritually closer to Boston than Berlin” contradicits your viewpoint as this speech hit a core with a lot of people.

  17. Dread Cthultu,
    Re your 2.54am(local ?), I’m ready to believe there always have been nutters out there -probably always will;hell I’m even ready to concede that a fair few of them have a big anti-Bush (if not anti-US)thing going ,but if you are seriously trying to tell me that 50% or more of the plain people of France or Germany were already slobbering screwballs just waiting to hate America when Bush obliged them by doing one of those things that he does , sorry but that does not pass the common sense test !.

    Its good -right even, to want to defend but you have to have at least a half plausible line to spin

    Think about it -seriously. I’ll be back.

  18. D’Oracle:

    Re your 2.54am(local ?), I’m ready to believe there always have been nutters out there -probably always will;hell I’m even ready to concede that a fair few of them have a big anti-Bush (if not anti-US)thing going ,but if you are seriously trying to tell me that 50% or more of the plain people of France or Germany were already slobbering screwballs just waiting to hate America when Bush obliged them by doing one of those things that he does , sorry but that does not pass the common sense test !.”

    Not that I called them “slobbering screwballs,” or even implied such, but hey, lets take a look. Off the cuff, its at least 34% in France… ~17% vote for LePen, about the same for the hard left (fringe communist / socialist / hard green). That’s just the part of the electorate that self-identifies at loons, since you ask.

    As for what I did say / imply — they were unreliable allies, let me ask you this: how many times have Chirac and Schroeder refreshed their flagging popularity with a gratuitous anti-American commment or position? Given that, along with their “overtime police,” the French run about with their language / culture police, lest some horrible anglo-saxon phraseology take root, such as when they had the issue with the term “e-mail” and recommended “Courielle” instead?? How about when the French decided that the eastern, pro-American part of the EU was “rude” and missed a “perfectly good opportunity to ‘shut up'” when they came out in support of Bush?

    France is living in a prolonged daydream that hasn’t been real since pre-Waterloo. As for the Germans, I personally have to wonder about a nation that seem it wants to conquor Europe every couple decades since their unification. Both have a predispostion to sticking a finger in the American eye, given the chance. I ask you: why should I take them seriously, given the above?

  19. 9CP: I think a lot of anti-Americanism stems from the fact that America is the worlds only superpower.

    One of the most sensible statements on this thread.

    Most Americans love the Irish, and vice versa. One American lady with a Texan/Cherokee background once gave me her long family history to prove that she also had some Irish blood in her.

    Many Americans look on the Irish (Northern and Southern – we’re all the same to them), as a nation of drinkers, fighters and perennial moaners who have been blessed (and cursed) with an equal amount of good and bad luck. But they love us just the same.

    The vast majority of Americans neither know nor care what the Irish think of them (they think we still have a Quiet Man/Angela`s Ashes existence), and even if they did, they are not about to change their attitude towards Irish folk because of anti-American tirades of a few nutters on the Irish loony left.

  20. From yesterday’s Ha’aretz, re: the British Holocaust Memorial:

    “The museum, which is an extraordinary achievement in public history, includes detailed maps showing the number of Jews killed in each nation occupied by the Nazis. Douste-Blazy asked why no British Jews were listed as murdered, prompting the museum curator to point out, “But Monsieur le minister, England was never conquered by the Nazis during World War II.”

    The Foreign Minister’s response: “Yes, but were there no Jews who were deported from England?”

    I don’t know if this makes him “a slobbering screwball, D’Oracle… but it does make him something of a maroon…

  21. Dread Cthultu

    Even if you want to call them ‘self-identified loons’ I still think youre judging them -the French and Germans -too harshly ; I know both. They have a good sense of the States -they know there are other views and that this “who’ll we invade this week” phase will end. Any real negative vibes you’re getting are plain Anti-Bush (and not anti-US). Reassured already?.

    The scary factor I mentioned earlier would come from places further afield where far fewer people would see and make that distinction.

    Douste-Blazy’s been a real bag of laughs for some time now ; un vrai marron.

  22. Even if you want to call them ‘self-identified loons’ I still think youre judging them -the French and Germans -too harshly ; I know both. They have a good sense of the States -they know there are other views and that this “who’ll we invade this week” phase will end. Any real negative vibes you’re getting are plain Anti-Bush (and not anti-US). Reassured already?.

    Stuff and nonsense and not in the least. They thought Carter feckless (well, this is a bad start — they were right…), Reagen a cowboy who was going to start a nuclear war, Clinton an “ugly American,” and now we’re back to cowboy. Anti-American rhetoric was extant prior to Bush and will be extant after Bush. Its roots are in jealousy, primarily, and will exist regardless of which party holds the Presidency.

    Besides, their hypocrisy stinks to the heavens — when was the last time France asked a “mother may I” of the UN Security Council when it launched an adventure into Africa?

  23. Dread Cthulha, You’re right. I do seem to remember Les Mirages strafing the Cote D’Ivoire without the blessed U.N. resolution. But you see, the world holds the U.S. to a different standard. We go into Iraq and we’re cowboys (what’s wrong with cowboys?) but we don’t go into Rwanda, so we’re racists.

  24. I am not sure Jacko what the contribution of the Italian and German Americans was in WW2, though I believe there was some. For your information, and missed entirely from the television series, “Band of Brothers,” a regiment of the American army entirely composed of Japanese Americans played a crucial role in the Battle of the Bulge. Things are not so simple jacko, sometimes people do the right thing regardless of county of origin, they fight for waht is right, i.e. defeating Hitler, and they deserve credit, if they are Italian, Irish, German, etc. Inidentally the “white Rose Society fought Hitler in Germany–they were Germans. And while Japanese Americans fought SS , there mothers and fathers did linger in internment camps.

    You are interested enough to comment on history , expand your nowledge and read more rather than re-act so quickly and possibly you might be less rigid in your viewpoints.

    Hyphenated–citizen

  25. Dread,

    Carter, definitely Clinton and even Reagan were all far more popular abroad than you give them credit for ; certainly thats true in this part of the world.

    There is a real difference, a difference in scale with the view of the incumbent. (Did you ck out the link in my first post this thread?)

    I dont belive there is an general jealousy thing-at least not nowadays ;the average joes life is now a lot more similar across a lot of the world than in the past.

    Off to bed. Get yall later

  26. Dread Cthulha, You’re right. I do seem to remember Les Mirages strafing the Cote D’Ivoire without the blessed U.N. resolution. But you see, the world holds the U.S. to a different standard. We go into Iraq and we’re cowboys (what’s wrong with cowboys?) but we don’t go into Rwanda, so we’re racists.

    CH:

    Can’t win for losing with this lot… two world wars started by their political system and the lack of political will and *WE’RE* the ones who need guidance.

  27. D.C. Yea, Some just won’t admit that the heart of enlightened Europe gave us Prussianism, fascism, communism, and is now tolerating non-indigenous Bin-Ladism. However, check out some of the above posts from Jacko, 9county, 6county et al and see that we do have friends, that while not giving the U.S. gov carte blanche, will take us for the good and the bad.

  28. I have never found myself defending the French before, but for the sake of accuracy I would say that French intervention in Ivory Coast, three years ago next week, certainly prevented a bloodbath in that country.

    My family and I personally benefited from their swift response in stopping the rebel advance on the capital. American special forces, flown in from Morocco and Germany, helped secure the safety of my children.

    Enough people died as it was, but it would have been a lot worse without a strong and determined French military presence.

    When the French military strafed in Ivory Coast last November they were destroying Ivorian planes which had just killed 9 French peacekeepers on a peace line between government and rebel forces.

    The French had as much right to intervene in Ivory Coast as other countries had to intervene in Afghanistan and Iraq. Right action does not need the blessing of a corrupt organisation like the UN.

  29. 6countyprod: “The French had as much right to intervene in Ivory Coast as other countries had to intervene in Afghanistan and Iraq. Right action does not need the blessing of a corrupt organisation like the UN.”

    I do not necessarily fault the act in and of itself. In fact, I agree with most everything you just said. However, the high-handed snotty attitude and the hypocritical attitude have *GOT* to go. Either everyone goes through the cesspool at Turtle Bay or no one does. I mean, c’mon — how does Cuba, Sudan and Saudi get on the UN Human Rights Commission??

  30. DC: how does Cuba, Sudan and Saudi get on the UN Human Rights Commission?? And Zimbabwe!

    I have no love for France. It is one of the most unappreciative nations in Europe. A lot of British and American blood was shed restoring French ‘honour’, and not a word of thanks or appreciation.

    I can never understand why the US continues to waste so much money paying a quarter of the UN bill. Americans should wise up.

    Is there any particular meaning to your name?

  31. 6COUNTYPROD, ch here. Actually, I think we’re all on the same page here. I do defend France’s actions in the Cote d’Ivoire. It’s the HYPROCRICY (sp?). Where were the millions marching in Europe with signs saying Chirac=Hitler, France Kills Blacks, No Blood for Ivory, or similar rubbish. I’m glad you and the kids got out, I just hope you hope the same thing for Iraqis and Afganis. And yes I think the U.N. is a thugocracy. Giving non-democratic states a vote does not make a world forum a democracy.

  32. It’s the hypocrisy

    Do the large media outlets have any standards by which they can be accused of hypocrisy? I don’t think so. They can make the most outrageous statements, the recent example being ‘blame everything on Bush for Katrina’, with little or no chance of the actual truth being brought to light.

    Ann Coulter had an interesting comment to make on hypocrisy: “The reason any conservative’s failing is always major news is that it allows liberals to engage in their very favorite taunt: Hypocrisy! Hypocrisy is the only sin that really inflames them. Inasmuch as liberals have no morals, they can sit back and criticize other people for failing to meet the standards that liberals simply renounce. It’s an intriguing strategy. By openly admitting to being philanderers, draft dodgers, liars, weasels and cowards, liberals avoid ever being hypocrites.”

  33. 6countyprod: “I have no love for France. It is one of the most unappreciative nations in Europe. A lot of British and American blood was shed restoring French ‘honour’, and not a word of thanks or appreciation.

    I can never understand why the US continues to waste so much money paying a quarter of the UN bill. Americans should wise up.

    Is there any particular meaning to your name?”

    In no particular order, Dread Cthulhu is an… entity coming out of American horror pulp fiction. I’m a fan of the man from Providence, RI.

    As for paying for the UN… I love what it stands for on paper, hate what it does in real life. Given the actions of the Third World delegates when the power went out a couple years back, maybe its just a real inefficient crime prevention program. There are some horrendous structural flaws, starting with hiring practices, nepotism and corruption. The quotas hiring of third world deadwood, from Kofi on down, has got to stop if there is to be a chance of sorting the mess out.

    As for the French… I more or less pity them, when I think of them at all. They are a nation heading toward their twilight — perhaps they may be forged anew, but I tend to doubt it. They are prominent in the UN by dint of an accident of history, having made themselves an “emmerdeuse” ever since.

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