of the media, crass commercialism, the love of luxuriousnconsumption, support of the rich and indifference to thenpoor, an old-fashioned, hollow patriotism, the defense ofncapitalism and American power.nReagan is also regarded as trigger-happy, aggressive, andnprovocative toward the Soviet Union. His “evil empire”ncharacterization of the Soviet Union was repeatedly mentionednwith great consternation. (Even in Hungary, wherenhostility of any type toward the U.S. is rare, the cowboynimage appeared to be imprinted in the minds of peoplensuggesting the possibility that we may here also confront annexample of a highly successful Soviet propaganda campaignnthat shrewdly capitalized on images and predispositions innsearch of a personified scapegoat. I should add that my visitnto Hungary was unrelated to my interest in anti-nAmericanism.) On the whole, Reagan’s power and influencenis vastly overrated both among the critics and friends ofnthe United States. Highly educated people appeared tonentertain a view of the American political system morenappropriate to the personal dictatorship of Quadaffi of Libyanor Kim II Sung of North Korea than to a system in whichn”the chief executive” is subject to a vast network of controls,nrestraints, and countervailing forces.nWhile much of the animosity toward the U.S. is ostensiblynfocused on its foreign policy, there are deeper layers ofnsentiment and historical memories which undergird thencurrent criticisms. In particular, Vietnam and Watergatenloom large, the first symbolizing recklessness and brutalitynin foreign policy, the second corruption and the abuse ofnpower at home.nMy conversations also confirmed that specific critiques ofnthe United States almost invariably rest on a bedrock ofnanticapitalist sentiments. Critics of capitalism in WesternnEurope (and elsewhere) are bound to be hostile to the U.S.,nthe guardian of the “world system” of capitalism, the mostnpowerful capitalist country. Anticapitalism is also congenialnwith the peace activists who readily fix the blame for everynpolitical conflict upon profit hunger and the lucrativeness ofnthe arms business (“weapons manufacturers seeking tonexpand their multi-billion dollar market,” as a booklet ofnthe British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament puts it). Byncontrast, the Soviet contribution to the arms race is unknownnor unappreciated or legitimized by the honorablenmotives of self-defense. That motives other than profitncould play a part in the militarization of a society and its risento a military superpower status eludes such critics of thenU.S.nIt appears that CND has abandoned even a pretense ofnevenhandedness as far as American and Soviet contributionsnto the arms race and a possible military conflict arenconcerned. Its publications overflow with undisguised hostilityntoward the U.S. The women of Greenham Commonn”recognized with horror that Britain was becoming annuclear dump for a foreign power.” The base itself “is ansmafl American town in which the U.S. dollar is thencurrency and the British criminal law counts for little”n{Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles—apparently annAmerican publication of the Center for ConstitutionalnRights in New York City).nIn another pamphlet discussing life at the U.S. bases innEngland one can read:n22/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnnnLuxury is cheap and abundant. … In the officer’snmess at Mildenhall a champagne brunch is laidnon. … A young pilot clad in a very zippy flying suitnfestooned with bright badges, flashes, emblems, decals,nnumbers and bars, sits at a table covered with finenlinen eating a giant cream puff with a silver fork. Henhas champagne there and three other types of creamncake and, as he quaffs away at both, he is deeplynabsorbed in the pages of a child’s comic {Sanity, Mayn1984).nIt is all there: the childlike American technologicalnsavage with the pea-brain and vast power luxuriating onnBritish soil. Only the theme of drug addiction is missing (Inwas also told by CND sympathizers that one reasonnAmericans should not be trusted with nuclear weapons isnbecause drug-taking is rampant among the troops). ThenU.S. air base, according to CND literature, is not only thensetting of such bizarre contrasts (as the infantile Americannguzzling champagne over comic books), but “a major U.S.nair base is a strange, different, alien and menacing world.”nPresumably, military air bases of other nations are warm,nfriendly, and familiar spots.nAmerican reconnaissance planes “aim to provoke” thenWarsaw Pact countries. On the whole, “The use of U.S.ntroops around the world has a number of consequences,nchiefly the stifling of the rights of people to determine theirnown destinies. . . . This tendency to intervention has annadded sinister dimension. By multiplying confrontations ofnconventional forces, it multiplies the opportunities fornconventional confrontations to turn into nuclear ones.”nThe booklet also asserts that “currently more than half thenU.S. Federal tax dollars are spent on the military.” It is innfact less than a third.nWhile the part played by the churches in the peacenmovements and their highly critical attitudes towardnthe U.S. have been analyzed before, some new light wasnshed on the matter in my conversations. Virtually everybodynI talked to observed that the peace issue and thenactivism it generates has been a great boon to the churchesnanxious to retain or regain their flock. A Dutch historiannsuggested that for the churches the nuclear issue is especiallyncongenial as it represents “the exploitation of fear.” Afternall, he added, “the churches don’t like truly liberatednpeople; they need people with fear.” Perhaps even more tonthe point is that the peace movement offers an easy path tonvirtue and a set of new certainties. Such strongly moralisticnmovements also need an image of evil which can convenienflynbe projected upon the U.S. In addition, it appearsnthat it is much easier for Western European peace activists,nincluding intellectuals, to imagine—with the assistance ofnthe media—the horrors of nuclear war (accidental or other)nthan the disagreeable aspects of life under a Soviet-typenpolitical system. And even if that could be imagined, it isnhard to see the connection between unilateral nuclearndisarmament, shifts in global power relations, and thenapproach of Soviet domination. But I also heard—nespecially in Holland—that “Finlandization” is not such anterrible fate, after all.nIt did not take long to recognize that the critiques ofn