Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Welcome to Trans-Int

Welcome to the "Transatlantic Intelligencer" or "Trans-Int" blog. The focus of Trans-Int is European politics and the, increasingly "conflicted", relationship of Europe - or, more precisely, the leading continental European powers, France and Germany, and their satellites - with the United States. A principal purpose of Trans-Int will be to "overcome the language gap" - or at least some of the language gaps - preventing Americans (and other "Anglo-Saxons", as the French media, tellingly employing a racial category, tend to describe British, Australians, Americans, etc.) from forming an accurate assessment of European political realities. Since, however, there are also multiple "language gaps" within Europe, I hope too that Trans-Int will be of interest to European readers. A related purpose will be to counter the egregiously misleading reporting on European affairs in the most widely-cited - in effect, "mainstream" - media in the States. Such reporting - long on cliché-ridden generalizations, short on factual details, and displaying a remarkable ignorance of European history - has given rise to a number of myths about contemporary Europe and the state of transatlantic relations. One such myth, which is playing a major role in the current US presidential campaign, suggests, for instance, that "Europe" - seemingly as a whole - responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a great outpouring of sympathy for the US and that this capital of sympathy has been successively squandered by the actions of the current American administration. This, so to say, "Legend of the Squandered Sympathy" is the subject of the long post that follows.

- John Rosenthal