When Katrina was raging and anarchy descended upon New Orleans, the European papers that hate the US (most of them, that is) were pretty much beside themselves with joy. They were so happy that the renegade superpower the US was brought to our knees (in their opinion) by a hurricane, with the implication (or overt statement) that if we can't even prepare for a hurricane that we knew was coming, how can we win a war on Iraq?
For example, here is a link to an article from the French paper Le Monde and a bit of an exerpt:
"Bush initially said that “the storm didn’t discriminate”, a claim he was later forced to retract: every aspect of the catastrophe was shaped by inequalities of class and race. Besides unmasking the fraudulent claims of the Department of Homeland Security to make Americans safer, the shock and awe of Katrina also exposed the devastating consequences of federal neglect of majority black and Latino big cities and their vital infrastructures. The incompetence of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) demonstrated the folly of entrusting life-and-death public mandates to clueless political appointees and ideological foes of “big government”. The speed with which Washington suspended the prevailing wage standards of the Davis-Bacon Act (2) and swung open the doors of New Orleans to corporate looters such as Halliburton, the Shaw Group and Blackwater Security, already fat from the spoils of the Tigris, contrasted obscenely with Fema’s deadly procrastination over sending water, food and buses to the multitudes trapped in the stinking hell of the Louisiana Superdome."
Now certainly New Orleans was a mess for the US, something we covered in this blog and which was covered by every news media in the US.
But what a paragraph! This gets to the heart of what the status-quo Europeans think of the US - that we are all "corporate looters", "racists" and "clueless". You can just smell the condescending tone and leering glare of superiority that oozes out of this article and many more just like it.
When you are throwing punches like that, of course, I hope you don't live in a glass house. But now FRANCE explodes into rage, with their Muslim minorities, who are penned into ghettoes and given almost no chance to succeed in France's state-run corporatism, rioting on the streets. The riots are now entering their 8th day - here is a link to a summary or you can just find these stories anywhere on the Internet.
Also, if you want to see real European "engagement" and quiet diplomacy, look at what their minister Sarkozy is saying, when he calls the unemployed (and presumably downtrodden) rioters "scum". You didn't hear Bush, that "incompetent", calling our looters "scum", but in France they can do what they want in their own house, apparently.
The bottom line, is, as bad as integration and relations sometimes are in the US, and it can be
bad and embarrassing, countries like France, China and Russia simply have no business whatsoever in lecturing us. France's problems are exploding in their face; look at how China treats their minorities in Tibet, and for the love of God look at how the Russians treat their minorities in Grozny.
I know that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is a key motivator of all those that hate George Bush, but look who you are in bed with....
And France should just keep their opinions to themselves until they do something about their own messes, from colonialism to their own issues with extremism and minorities, to economics.
UPDATE: The ante, apparently, has been upped. This from the Belmont Club today:
It's getting real interesting. CNN is reporting that churches, schools and police stations are going up in smoke.
"In the northern city of Rouen, a police barricade was set afire and a burning car was pushed into the police station; and in Strasbourg, near the German border, a school was torched. A church was set ablaze in the southern fishing town of Sete and another in nearby Lens, Pas de Calais; two schools in the southeastern town of Saint-Etienne and a police station in the central France town of Clermont-Ferrand were torched, as was a social center in Seine-Saint-Denis, near the border with Switzerland."