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Vitorhansononline

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April 29, 2005

On Being Disliked

The new not-so-unwelcome anti-Americanism

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

Last year the hysteria about the hostility toward the United States reached a fevered pitch. Everyone from Jimmy Carter to our Hollywood elite lamented that America had lost its old popularity. It was a constant promise of the Kerry campaign to restore our good name and "to work with our allies." The more sensitive were going to undo the supposed damage of the last four years. Whole books have been devoted to this peculiar new anti-Americanism, but few have asked whether or not such suspicion of the United States is, in fact, a barometer of what we are doing right ÔÇö and while not necessarily welcome, at least proof that we are on the correct track.

The Egyptian autocracy may have received $57 billion in aggregate American aid over the last three decades. But that largess still does not prevent the Mubarak dynasty from damning indigenous democratic reformers by dubbing them American stooges. In differing ways, the Saudi royal family exhibits about the same level of antagonism toward the U.S. as do the Islamic fascists of al Qaeda ÔÇö both deeply terrified by what is going on in Iraq. Mostly this animus arises because we are distancing ourselves from corrupt grandees, even as we have become despised as incendiary democratizers by the Islamists. Is that risky and dangerous? Yes. Bad? Hardly.

At the U.N. it is said that a ruling hierarchy mistrusts the United States and that a culture of anti-Americanism has become endemic within the organization. No wonder ÔÇö the Americans alone push for more facts about the Oil-for-Food scandal, question Kofi Annan's breaches of ethics, and want investigations about U.N. crimes in Africa. If we are mistrusted for caring about those thousands who are inhumanely treated by a supposedly humane organization, then why in the world should we wish to be liked by such a group?

EU bureaucrats and French politicians routinely caricature Americans, whipping up public opinion against the United States, even as they fly here to profess eagerness to maintain the old NATO transatlantic ties. Is it to our discredit that what Europe has now devolved into does not like the United States?

Mexico, we are told, is furious at the United States. Mexico City newspapers routinely trash Americans. Vicente Fox usually sounds more like a belligerent than the occasional visitor at the presidential ranch. That is not so bad either.

In short, who exactly does not like the United States and why? First, almost all the 20 or so illiberal Arab governments that used to count on American realpolitik's giving them a pass on accounting for their crimes. They fear not the realist Europeans, nor the resource-mad Chinese, nor the old brutal Russians, but the Americans, who alone are prodding them to open their economies and democratize their corrupt political cultures. We must learn to expect, not lament, their hostility, and begin to worry that things would be indeed wrong if such unelected dictators praised the United States.

The United Nations has sadly become a creepy organization. Its General Assembly is full of cutthroat regimes. The Human Rights Commission has had members like Vietnam and Sudan, regimes that at recess must fight over bragging rights to which of the two killed more of their own people. The U.N. has a singular propensity to find flawed men to be secretary-general ÔÇö a Kurt Waldheim, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, or Kofi Annan. Blue-helmeted peace-keepers, we learn, are as likely to commit as prevent crimes; and the only thing constant about such troops is that they will never go first into harm's way in Serbia, Kosovo, the Congo, or Dafur to stop genocide. Even worse, the U.N. has proved to be a terrible bully, an unforgivable sin for a self-proclaimed protector of the weak and innocent ÔÇö loud false charges against Israel for its presence in the West Bank, not a peep about China in Tibet; tough talk about Palestinian rights, far less about offending Arabs over Darfur. So U.N. anti-Americanism is a glowing radiation badge, proof of exposure to toxicity.

The EU is well past being merely silly, as its vast complex of bureaucrats tries to control what 400 million speak, eat, and think. Its biggest concerns are three: figuring out how its nations are to keep paying billions of euros to retirees, unemployed, and assorted other entitlement recipients; how to continue to ankle-bite the United States without antagonizing it to the degree that these utopians might have to pay for their own security; and how not to depopulate itself out of existence. Europeans sold Saddam terrible arms for oil well after the first Gulf War. Democratic Israel or Taiwan means nothing to them; indeed, democracy is increasingly becoming the barometer by which to judge European hostility. Cuba, China, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah ÔÇö not all that bad; the United States, Taiwan, and Israel, not all that good. Personally, I'd rather live in a country that goes into an anguished national debate over pulling the plug on a lone woman than one that blissfully vacations on the beach oblivious to 15,000 elderly cooked to well done back in Paris.

Mexico, enjoying one of the richest landscapes in the world, can't feed its own people, so it exports its poorest to the United States. Its own borders with Central America are as brutal to cross as our own are porous. Illegal aliens send back almost $50 billion, which has the effect of propping up corrupt institutions that as a result will never change. Given its treatment of its own people, if the Mexican government praised the United States we should indeed be concerned.

Who then are America's friends? Perhaps one billion Indians, who appreciated that at a time of recession we kept our economy open, and exported jobs and expertise there that helped evolve its economy.

Millions of Japanese trust America as well. Unlike the Chinese, who on script vandalized Japanese interests abroad in anguish over right-wing Japanese textbooks, Americans ÔÇö who at great cost once freed China ÔÇö without such violence urge the Japanese to deal honestly with the past. After all, the Tokyo government that started the war is gone and replaced by a democracy; in contrast, the Communist dictatorship that killed 50 million of its own and many of its neighbors is still in place in China. At a time when no one in Europe seems to care that Japan is squeezed between a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear China, the United States alone proves a reliable friend. The French, on spec, conduct maneuvers with the ascendant Communist Chinese navy.

Eastern Europeans do not find the larger families, religiosity, or commitment to individualism and freedom in America disturbing. Apparently, millions in South America don't either ÔÇö if their eagerness to emigrate here is any indication.

It is the wage of the superpower to be envied. Others weaker vie for its influence and attention ÔÇö often when successful embarrassed by the necessary obsequiousness, when ignored equally shamed at the resulting public impotence. The Cold War is gone and former friends and neutrals no longer constrain their anti-American rhetoric in fear of a cutthroat and nuclear Soviet Union. Americans are caricatured as cocky and insular ÔÇö as their popular culture sweeps the globe.

All that being said, the disdain that European utopians, Arab dictatorships, the United Nations, and Mexico exhibit toward the United Sates is not ÔÇö as the Kerry campaign alleged in the last election ÔÇö cause for tears, but often reason to be proud, since much of the invective arises from the growing American insistence on principles abroad.

America should not gratuitously welcome such dislike; but we should not apologize for it either. Sometimes the caliber of a nation is found not in why it is liked, but rather in why it is not. By January 1, 1941, I suppose a majority on the planet ÔÇö the Soviet Union, all of Eastern Europe, France, Italy, Spain, and even many elsewhere in occupied Europe, most of Latin America, Japan and its Asian empire, the entire Arab world, many in India ÔÇö would have professed a marked preference for Hitler's Germany over Churchill's England.

Think about it. When Europe orders all American troops out; when Japan claims our textbooks whitewash the Japanese forced internment or Hiroshima; when China cites unfair trade with the United States; when South Korea says get the hell off our DMZ; when India complains that we are dumping outsourced jobs on them; when Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians refuse cash aid; when Canada complains that we are not carrying our weight in collective North American defense; when the United Nations moves to Damascus; when the Arab Street seethes that we are pushing theocrats and autocrats down its throat; when Mexico builds a fence to keep us out; when Latin America proclaims a boycott of the culturally imperialistic Major Leagues; and when the world ignores American books, films, and popular culture, then perhaps we should be worried. But something tells me none of that is going to happen in this lifetime.


LOL, can't say that I disagree with him....

Yo, Victor, I like the way you think!!

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I'll still sit back and watch the show for it here yet.

Exerpt:

The Egyptian autocracy may have received $57 billion in aggregate American aid over the last three decades. But that largess still does not prevent the Mubarak dynasty from damning indigenous democratic reformers by dubbing them American stooges. ...

end exrpt

"American stooges"........it won't change though for a long time if ya ask ME.

Contracts are signed, and things like this have been going on for so long, it's all the US government knows how to do things anymore really...

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quote:

Last year the hysteria about the hostility toward the United States reached a fevered pitch. Everyone from Jimmy Carter to our Hollywood elite lamented that America had lost its old popularity. It was a constant promise of the Kerry campaign to restore our good name and "to work with our allies." The more sensitive were going to undo the supposed damage of the last four years. Whole books have been devoted to this peculiar new anti-Americanism, but few have asked whether or not such suspicion of the United States is, in fact, a barometer of what we are doing right ÔÇö and while not necessarily welcome, at least proof that we are on the correct track

Well...

I just can't see why for example the behavior of the US military in Guantanamo Bay is proof for the "correct track".Or think of Abu Ghraib.Or the incident with the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.Or the other nameless civilians getting killed in Iraq every day.Before the Iraq was invaded, at least the civilians were save(though opressed by an brutel regime).Now they are threatened by both the US military and terrorists.AND:though the US is the most powerful country in things military,why should it be allowed to strike other countries preemptively?

After WW2, there were the "Nuernberger Processes"(1945-1949).A result of them was a condemnation of every preemptive strike.The U.S government has broken this consens.

quote:

EU bureaucrats and French politicians routinely caricature Americans, whipping up public opinion against the United States, even as they fly here to profess eagerness to maintain the old NATO transatlantic ties. Is it to our discredit that what Europe has now devolved into does not like the United States?

I guess this is done likewise in the U.S.

Europe(apart from exeptions) doesn't want to support war wagers,why would that be "whipping up public opinions against the U.S"?

quote:

In short, who exactly does not like the United States and why? First, almost all the 20 or so illiberal Arab governments that used to count on American realpolitik's giving them a pass on accounting for their crimes. They fear not the realist Europeans, nor the resource-mad Chinese, nor the old brutal Russians, but the Americans, who alone are prodding them to open their economies and democratize their corrupt political cultures. We must learn to expect, not lament, their hostility, and begin to worry that things would be indeed wrong if such unelected dictators praised the United States.

Well, surely democracy is a good thing, but the approach of the U.S government, to democratize a country by war or threatening is IMHO the wrong way.

If a country is being dictatored, it is its citizens decision if they want to rebel and to get rid of their dicator.

quote:

The French, on spec, conduct maneuvers with the ascendant Communist Chinese navy

I'd like to see a reliable source.

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quote:


Originally posted by paranide:

Or the other nameless civilians getting killed in Iraq every day.Before the Iraq was invaded, at least the civilians were save(though opressed by an brutel regime).Now they are threatened by both the US military and terrorists.


Which is better, to die quietly, enslaved and unknown at the whim of a mad dictator or die free at the hands of terrorists before the eyes of the world.

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quote:

Which is better, to die quietly, enslaved and unknown at the whim of a mad dictator or die free at the hands of terrorists before the eyes of the world.

Well IMO there is no "better" death.

And I never intended to say that saddams regime should have been spared.What I wanted to express is that the civilians in iraq are now more threated than before, and this COULD have been foreseen by the US military.

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Very simple response that if the Iraqies wanted saddam out they should have taken things into their own hands. Very simple indeed. The logistics of undertaking that sort of operation is enourmous.

I'll give you one example: The United States.

We were outclassed and out gunned in the revolutionary war (and not every american was in favor of the war or the split from England). If it wasn't for the help of outside influences, we'd still be under the English Thumb. What's stated about the population taking things into their own hands is naive and under that analogy the U.S. should still be under English control because we didn't have full domestic support or ability to carry it out on our own.

If one thinks the body count is high now imagine what it would have been like if a civil war did occur in Iraq between the ones that wanted Saddam out and Saddam's supporters it would have been a massacre in that country. So considering that I'd say it's pretty good over there right now.

[ 05-01-2005, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: LostInSpace ]

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quote:


Originally posted by paranide:

Well IMO there is no "better" death.

And I never intended to say that saddams regime should have been spared.What I wanted to express is that the civilians in iraq are now more threated than before, and this COULD have been foreseen by the US military.


The Iraqi people died in larger quantities before our invasion than they are now. Despite the bombings and FF incidents I'm fairly positive we haven't caught up to the numbers Sadaam executed. And yes in hindsight EVERYTHING can be foreseen, thats why the old addage "hindsight is 20/20" is so true; but there is also another addage: "no use crying over spilled milk." The situation will never be stabilized if all we do is concentrate on what HAS BEEN; it's over and nothing we can say will change what happened. Learn from it? Yes, but live in it? Never: thats what we have historians for.

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There is no doubt that the Iraqi civilian today is in FAR greater danger than they ever were under Sadddams rule. That is just a matter of fact.

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Guest

quote:

Originally posted by El Che:

There is no doubt that the Iraqi civilian today is in FAR greater danger than they ever were under Sadddams rule. That is just a matter of fact.

ROFLMAO!!

Yeah, right, sure thing El Che....

On average, 300 or so Iraqis were killed by Saddams regime PER DAY!!!!

On average today, 15 Iraqis are killed by the terrorists PER DAY.

Hmm, so, if they spoke out they were killed, if they voted for another candidate (sure, like that would have happened) They were killed or imprisoned.

Your wife was ALWAYS in danger from Saddams Son's, etc, etc ad nauseum.

Today, all they are in danger of, is some nutcase terrorists committing suicide in their midst.

So, sorry, your facts are WRONG....

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