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  • 31

    Obamania and the American Myth
    Race; Posted on: 2008-11-21 10:37:30 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    The European project, after all, is ideologically American

    John Laughland

    A spectre is haunting Europe... the spectre of Obamania. The old continent is engaged in a collective swoon as a result of the election of Barack Obama as American president. The president elect's every move and decision is the subject of slavish and adulatory reporting in the European press: will Obama continue to use a BlackBerry? What dog will the Obamas buy for the White House? What sort of armoured car will he travel in? People are giving private parties in European capitals to celebrate Obama's election, while the new president has been invited to address the European Parliament and even to attend a European Union summit.

    The reason for this outpouring is not difficult to fathom. Barack Obama represents to the highest degree all the values which European elites hold most dear... youth, progress, innovation and, above all, multiculturalism. As Obama himself faces a challenge in the Supreme Court to prove that was in fact born in Hawaii instead of in Kenya (which would disqualify him from being president of the United States) his very foreignness and mixed ethnic background is precisely what European leaders find so deeply attractive about him.

    Obama corresponds to precisely the post-modern, post-national and multiethnic fantasies to which European leaders subscribe... and which they have been struggling for decades to realise in the creation of a United States of Europe. The European project, after all, is ideologically American. Not only has it always been supported and initiated by the USA (including the CIA) since its inception (see Gerd Lundestad, Empire by Integration, Oxford University Press, 1998); but also its very symbolism and vocabulary, from the stars on the flag to the use of the word "Convention" to describe the committee which worked on the European constitution from 2002 to 2004, is based on the American model.

    It is based, in particular, on what I call the American myth. People often talk about the American dream, by which they usually mean something rather banal about how people from the bottom of the social ladder can attain positions of great power. But America itself embodies another dream, or myth, which is connected to the former, namely that a state can be founded, and continue to exist, on the basis of contractual and universal values but without drawing legitimacy from the vagaries of history or geography. This is the true American dream.

    News Source: brussels journal

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