OPINION

Anti-Americanism

John Brady Kiesling remarked in his letter of resignation as a diplomat at the US Embassy in Athens, «Even here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly imagine.» In this excerpt, the emphasis has been placed in two points – «even here in Greece» and the intimation that American newspapers misinform their readers as far as Greece is concerned. These observations show that the resigned diplomat knew the country he was serving in very well. However, the roots of anti-Americanism in Greece are not European, but Greek. European anti-Americanism was only recently revealed so openly in reaction to US policy on Iraq, a country which has strong economic ties with powerful European states. It is still too early to say that European anti-Americanism has depth, duration and stability. In nearly all other postwar standoffs, Europe stood by the USA’s side, even in the case of Yugoslavia, which resembles the current situation in Iraq. Moreover, this backing was the very basis for NATO. Some see the deeper roots of Greek anti-Americanism in the civil war and in America’s decisive support for one side. This anti-Americanism defines the Left and its history. But even in the left-wing camp, anti-Americanism should have receded after the collapse of communism or should be regarded as a relic of a past age.