“Letter to Americans” by E. P. Thompson
Dated back in 1986, “Letter to Americans” is as if it’s written in the last three-four years. In it E. P. Thompson explains why he is anti-American in his beliefs.
First off, he starts with that he is in two minds about this state of his. Even his friends doubt he is anti-American, thinking he is joking. We also read how the author traces American ancestry on his mother’s side- he goes back to his great-great-grandfather who lived in Lincoln times. Most of his ancestors are white Protestants from the upper class.
Second of all, Thompson presents his idea (which he defends throughout almost the whole text) that “military” troubles had started a long time ago. He gives examples with the Middle East, Ireland and even England.
One of the strongest parts is the questions-passage: the sender asks Americans what made them change, why the national-exaltation… He doesn’t look for the answers.
Terrorism is the next problem that is discussed in “Letter to Americans”. Thompson gives an interesting example with the death of an American serviceman which was highly noticed and at the same time the death of sixty-three other lives (non-American) is left almost unmentioned.
E. P. Thompson doubts the moral of war. Or he doubts the moral of anti-terrorist war. In the next lines we read how disappointed he is that he’s half-American. But he also doesn’t like being half-English after the “heroine” is “walking tall”- Margaret Thatcher is accepted as a betrayer of national honour.
The author doesn’t forget to mention the relationship between USA and NATO. He thinks that Americans welcome NATO as a weapon for America’s affairs, not of the world’s. In his final words, it is suggested that either Europe should invite USA to leave NATO or Europe should expel America from it.
It is somehow strange for today’s reader to find out that the situation with America’s foreign affairs hasn’t changed much. As some clever people have said, “The History book on the shelf is always repeating itself.” Even after nineteen years, Americans think of themselves as citizens of the strongest nation in the world. Even after the September the 11th. Even after Iraq. And Afghanistan.
The next worst thing that could happen to the new American history was Bush’s re-election. I doubt so many American people are that dumb… I lived in USA and most of the people I met there don’t like his deeds.