Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Atlantic Just Got Wider

Jean-François Revel, one of the handful of modern European intellectuals who "got" America, has died. He had serious differences with our policies -- so do most of us, sooner or later. But, essentially, he got us.

"I just looked around, talked to people, to students," he said. "And in the 20th century the information is pretty good, and I read a lot of your press and books."

In the introduction to his "Anti-Americanism" book, Revel wrote that he found an America "in complete contrast to the conventional portrayal then generally accepted in Europe." In particular, he was impressed with Americans' willingness to address and correct their own faults.

He went on to attack those Europeans who said the United States had brought terrorists' attacks on itself through misguided foreign policies.

"Obsessed by their hatred and floundering in illogicality, these dupes forget that the United States, acting in her own self-interest, is also acting in the interest of us Europeans and in the interest of many other countries, threatened, or already subverted and ruined, by terrorism," he wrote.

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