Letter From Paris
You probably remember: he was so unabashedly pro-American, he so admired our work ethic and free market capitalism, not to mention popular culture, that the French themselves called him Sarko l’Américain. When his Socialist political opponents sneered that Nicolas Sarkozy was “an American neoconservative with a French passport,” he proudly made the tag his own. He vacationed in New England. And when he jogged, that black T-shirt said NYPD.
During his campaign he vowed to break with what he called the old, outmoded behavior of France and put into practice ideas he had learned from studying the U.S. With him as president, by golly, the French were going to work harder and longer, pay lower taxes, and enjoy less bureaucracy and state intervention in their lives. And he was going to be our friend. One of his first state visits abroad was to Washington in November 2007, where he told the guests at a formal White House dinner, “I want to win back America’s heart.”
The glory days of anti-Americanism may have been in the 1970s, when marchers filled the streets of every European capital to protest against “neo-colonial imperialism,” but that pernicious virus is still very much with us. And not necessarily where you might expect. In Britain, the cousins pore over works with titles like Why Do People Hate America? and American Dream, Global Nightmare. Opinion leaders like Margaret Drabble, the prominent British novelist who spews leftist venom on everything middle-class and American, confesses, “My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness.”