I recall when Josephine Baker and James Baldwin lived in Paris, as exiles, the French told themselves. Of course, the United States was so positively awful that gifted black Americans were forced to live on foreign soil.
I also recall when Parisians dug the very stones from Place de la Republique and la Bastille to throw at whomever in protest against the death sentence for the Rosenbergs. America was such an awful place that it would murder two innocent parents of a ordinary un-offending "Jewish" family to persist in its war against that nice man Stalin and his socialist dream. (Of course, there was nothing wrong with France persisting in its own war to hold onto its colony in Algeria.)
How things gave changed...and how they have stayed the same. After all, it’s not as though the Parisian suburbs are bastions of equality and racial harmony.
Fouad Ajami has just this morning in the Wall Street Journal published an elegant essay on how people everywhere hate America. Even in France, although the French are going ga-ga over Barack Obama, more than even they went ga-ga over Sarkozy.
But the hatred and contempt is nowhere more virulent than in the Muslim countries into which Pew pollsters carry their questionnaires and clipboards. Their statistics are, as Ajami points out, part of the liberal "oy vey" about America. Well, he doesn't use those words exactly. What he does say is that these views of us by the foreigners is our equivalent of Shi'a self-flagelation.
Obama doesn't much help in Araby. Read what Qaddafi, whom the Bushies brought back to civilization, thinks about him.