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In a message dated 2/13/2002 5:58:17 PM Central Standard Time, Scott Chase
> >In a message dated 2/13/2002 6:38:29 AM Central Standard Time, Vincent
> >Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> > > Hi everyone,
> > >
> > > Saw this in 'The Times' last Friday, thought it was interesting:
> > >
> > > [From the Media Diary]
> > >
> > > 'The readers of the Weekly Standard, bible of American
> >neo-conservatives and
> > > a distant colonial cousin of this newspaper [owned by Murdoch
> > >have an unusual grasp of foreign affairs. In its Question of the Week
> > >section, readers were asked to nominate a fourth member for George
> > >Axis of Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Syria was suggested by 32 per
> > > readers, Libya by 7 per cent, but the runaway winner was France which
> >polled 41 per cent.'
> > >
> > > I guess the memories of the French nearly bringing down GATT still
> > >rankles with the readers of the Weekly Standard. Either that or the
> > > 'axis of evil'- which went down incredibly badly in Europe,
> > >particularly within the corridors of the EU- means something very
different to right
> >wing Americans...
> > >
> > > Hence, and here's the memetics link, how could anyone argue that it's
> > >the idea of an 'axis of evil' that's the meme, as I presume some would?
> > >
> > > Vincent
> >Hi Vincent.
> >I doubt that GATT had anything to do with this. Instead, many American
> >neo-conservatives view the world in terms of Evangelical Christianity and
> >religious morality. I haven't asked neo-conservatives about France, but
> >they probably see that country as having loose morals, as favoring big
> >government, and lacking Evangelical Christian faith. Their xenophobia
> >resembles that expressed by Pat Robertson several years ago when he
> >Scotland as a "dark land filled with homosexuals" (or some such).
> >The "axis of evil" phrase was not widely used until Bush's state of the
> >union speach before Congress.
> What connection, if any, exists between North Korea and Iraq? I'd have a
> harder time believing a partnership between Iran and Iraq, because of
> historic animosities (eq- that Iran/Iraq war during the 80's). Iran *may*
> problematic on its own, though there's probably multiple parties operating
> from within, some more US- friendly than others.
> Adding France to the axis is going overboard. It is odd, though, how
> French-built jets have wound up gunning at US ships though. Weren't Mirage
> fighters involved in the USS Liberty attack by Israel and the USS Stark
> attack by Iraq?
> Vive la resistance.
I doubt that the poll results regarding France in a neo-conservative
US magazine have much at all to do with actual military history,
alliances between countries, or who sold weapons to whom. All
of that would be forgotten by most of the US public and most of
the readers of The Weekly Standard. Rather, what Vincent says
about their unusual grasp of foreign affairs is the stronger
explanation. Only the "unusual grasp" is really not so unusual
in the USA any more. (Religious neo-conservatives were Bush's
main political base.)
In addition to Religious Right views on other countries' sexual
morality, big government, and godlessness, there is also the abortion
issue that comes into play in the French case. The drug RU-486 is
known as "the French abortion pill." The Religious Right here regards
it as a chemical weapon being used to commit genocide against
"unborn children." They adhere to a view that life (as a person)
begins at conception, and that aborting even an embryo is murder.
Because France has liberal abortion laws, and is regarded as the
inventor of RU-486, it probably gets a special "evil" status in the
minds of the US Religious Right.
I actually think that if The Weekly Standard had conducted a poll on
"evil" countries before Bush's state of the union speech, France
would probably have gotten more votes than the other so-called
"axis of evil" countries named by Bush. Higher, that is, than Iraq,
North Korea, and Iran.
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