Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fighting Anti-Americanism

After WWII the entire world saw that American ideals were intended to expand social, legal, and economic protections around the world. The United States support of international institutions such as the United Nations was viewed by the world as symbolic of our goodness.

Now, however, “Anti-Americanism” has spread into a global phenomenon, and scholars tell us why. Julia E. Sweig, Senior Fellow and Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations has written the book: Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century.

Sweig explains that it’s not all George Bush’s fault. Rather, “it is deeply entrenched antipathy accumulated over decades that may take generations to undo.” Consider the causes:

Cold War legacy: “U.S. intervention in Vietnam and attempts to overthrow governments in Iran, Guatemala and Cuba created profound distrust of U.S. motives throughout the developing world and Europe.”

Isn’t it interesting that the world had no issues with US intervention in Europe on behalf of the English and French and in Korea on behalf of the South Koreans. After French colonialism of Vietnam ended in defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, leading to an aggressive communist regime in the North, the US was suddenly the bad guy for helping the South Vietnamese.

It also appears that the European and American lefties have amnesia regarding the real cold war legacy, that being the end of the Soviet Empire and freedom for millions of Eastern Europeans. When asked who was responsible for the demise of the Soviet Union, Europeans, elites especially, will credit Mikhael Gorbachev, somehow forgetting about Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul.

Sweig also blames the “cultural coarseness of Americanization” sweeping the European continent. When the Cold War ended, “we expected the world to embrace free markets and liberal democracy,” she said. Ah yes, we must admire the Euro cultural sophistication and bemoan our coarseness, and apologize for our admiration of free markets and belief in liberal democracy. Does she actually believe that?

Power and powerlessness: “Power generates resentment. In Latin America, for example, U.S. policies — whether on trade, aid, democracy, drugs or immigration — presumed that Latin Americans would automatically see U.S. interests as their own.”

Let’s see: We have promoted free trade against the wishes of our labor unions, we provide immense foreign aid, support democracy, try to resist drug imports and allow more immigration than the rest of the developed world – and these things make us bad.

Globalization: “In the 1990s, President Clinton promised that open markets and open societies would be the bridge to the 21st century. So where globalization hasn't delivered, the U.S. is blamed.”

And where is it that globalization hasn't delivered? It’s certainly not in China or India, England or Ireland, Australia or South Korea. No, globalization has been less successful in Iran and North Korea, Nigeria and Venezuela and … in France. You have to wonder if there might be internal reasons for these basket cases… and France.

What we stand for: “The appeal of the U.S. model overseas is eroding as the gap between rich and poor widens, public education deteriorates, healthcare costs soar and pensions disappear. The US government's seeming indifference to its most vulnerable citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina further undercut belief in the American social contract.”

I’m sure that most Americans feel really good about the European’s sympathy for our economic injustice. After all, the poor in America live only as well as the middle class in Europe. How sad is that? As for the Hurricane Katrina victims, only a college educated woman, Julia Sweig, could believe that the US government was indifferent. Ridiculously generous, perhaps, lacking oversight, but indifferent?

Still Sweig admits that “the ideal of the United States as a beacon of justice, democracy, freedom and human rights still garners grudging respect abroad.”

She does not ask why the respect is grudging, nor does she see that the truth underlying her statement undermines her entire thesis. We are the “beacon of justice, democracy, freedom and human rights.” And we are willing to fight for those ideals in the service of others just as we have for over a century.

Sweig thinks that the way to get our global mojo back is to base our foreign policy on the softer lexicon of “generosity, modesty, discretion, cooperation, empathy, fairness, manners and lawfulness.” Oh, and “decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels will help improve our moral standing.”

Damn! Why didn’t we think of that before? Modesty would have worked with Hitler. Empathy could have charmed Stalin. Manners will effectuate détente with Ahmadinejad. Let’s try discretion on Kim Jong-Il.

Do you see why the lefties must never again win control of the US government?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I do see why, Bill. I've seen why since the Reagan years.


11:17 PM  

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