On this May Day, after Peter’s fascinating comments in the post below, I was just thinking about anti-Americanism, specifically non-French european Anti-Americanism and Anti-Globalisation, (the nexus of the anti-war movement) and not that inspired by Wahaabist Islam or French national pride. All of these movements operate from false premises to do with what the alternative to American hegemony would be. In the case of each of the latter there is a specific aim. The French have delusions of superpower status, regrettably we all collude in this fantasy. The Islamofascists wish to establish a worldwide Caliphate and submit the planet to Sharia Law. The first is irritating and may be harmful the latter is sinister but they differ from general european anti-americanism and anti-globalisation in that they at least have an alternative proposed, even if unpalatable or unlikely.
To generalise: Europeans style themselves as cultural and sophisticated and inaccurately characterise Americans as uncouth philistines. Anti-Globos bemoan the omnipresence of American corporations throughout the world. Both define themselves by their opposition to the status quo but appear to have given little thought to what the alternative might be. One might not expect a French chauvinist or a Bin Laden devotee to realistically assess the prospects of their aim being achieved but you might think that those who catalogue the various “crimes” of the US would contemplate the outline of a world after American Hegemony.
It is clear that Americans have given great thought to what opposing superpowers might emerge. No similar consideration appears to be made in Europe. The mighty Soviet Union collapsed from its own “internal contradictions” but Russia is still a nuclear power and has, as Peter noted, a tradition of favouring the Strongman leader and indeed a nationalism barely suppressed under communism. That said, Russia has a long way to go to challenge the US as a global hegemon. It may be instructive to imagine a world in which Russia is the predominant power but a more useful exercise would be to contemplate a Chinese hegemony.
Those who oppose the US should think hard. Be careful what you wish for, goes the cliche, you just might get it. Implicit in the waning of American power is the dawn of Chinese power. I cannot imagine that China would be anything like the broadly benevolent US. For an indication of how each country deals with dissent contemplate the contrasting fortunes of those who oppose the government in each country. It is simplistic in the extreme to conclude from the fact that various noisy self-regarding buffoons such as Susan Sarandon regularly denounce the US government in hyperbolic terms, crying persecution, that the administration is somehow oppressive. There are no Chinese Sarandons. Such criticism, even the patently ludicrous and self evidently narcissistic, would simply not be tolerated and would ultimately be brutally suppressed. If the US has exported much of its society and culture across the globe it is not imposed but desired. It is hard to imagine the same would apply in the event of Chinese global domination.