Anti-Americanism

It’s not a nat­ur­al incli­na­tion of mine or of most peo­ple, I sup­pose. But there’s a sort of Amer­i­can rhetoric about their own excep­tion­al char­ac­ter and role in the world that would tempt even their most stal­wart friends. Fareed Zakaria, an edi­tor of Newsweek, writes in this month’s For­eign Pol­i­cy­magazine bq. In this post-ide­o­log­i­cal age, anti-Amer­i­can­ism fills the void left by defunct belief sys­tems [but] … On ter­ror, trade, AIDs, nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion, U.N. reform, and for­eign aid, U.S. lead­er­ship is indis­pens­able. (“For­eign Policy”:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/files/story2670.php) When writ­ers such as Zakaria ven­ture into these hyper­bol­ic regions, for­eign­ers are prompt­ed by noth­ing more than respect for his­tor­i­cal fact—not by anti-Amer­i­can ani­mus—to ask: “Are you kid­ding?” Exact­ly how has the US been an “indis­pens­able” leader on ter­ror? By ditch­ing mul­ti­lat­er­al coop­er­a­tion and the pleas of close allies in favor of a self-inter­est­ed, and it “appears”:http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004–04-16-woodward-book_x.htm an a pri­ori cam­paign against Sad­dam Hus­sein that has, if noth­ing else, spread the infec­tion of ter­ror? There can be no inter­na­tion­al trade reform with­out the Unit­ed States. But to what degree has it been an “indispensible”—or even a consistent—leader? What sort of lead­er­ship brought it to com­pro­mise its “principles”:http://www.inquit.com/article/196/trans-atlantic-trade-deal in the prepa­ra­tions for the WTO Can­cún meet­ing? Should a leader have dogged­ly fought grub­by rear-guard bat­tles on drug patents and “cot­ton subsidies”:http://reason.com/sullum/110703.shtml, divert­ing atten­tion from the main strug­gle for the lib­er­al­iza­tion of glob­al mar­kets? Did it show lead­er­ship by “dra­mat­i­cal­ly increasing”:http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2002/05/13/farm-bill.htm it’s sup­port for its own farm sec­tor over the past two years while decry­ing sup­port in oth­er mar­kets? Or by “giv­ing the Byrd”:http://www.caltradereport.com/eWebPages/front-page-1094251285.html to the WTO over it’s refusal to amend its “costly”:http://www.inquit.com/article/47/the-cost-of-the-byrd-amendment pro­tec­tion­ist, ille­gal anti-dump­ing action? The US has been generous—and some of it’s pri­vate phil­an­thropists more than generous—in fund­ing the fight against AIDs, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Africa. But the same imag­i­na­tive lead­er­ship has been com­plete­ly absent from it’s pos­ture in the Unit­ed Nations which, for two decades or more, it has treat­ed with an ill-dis­guised con­tempt that final­ly became overt when it “decid­ed to pre-empt”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3134032.stm con­tin­u­ing mul­ti­lat­er­al action on Iraq in ear­ly 2003. Final­ly to claim that the USA, which under Pres­i­dent Bush has # Aban­doned the his­toric ABM treaty
# Ensured that the START II arms lim­i­ta­tion agreements—to cut nuclear weapons by two-thirds by 2003—will nev­er become bind­ing
# Accel­er­at­ed spend­ing on arms in space through it’s ‘Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive’ (Star Wars)
# Begun a pub­lic eval­u­a­tion of the tac­ti­cal use of nuclear weapons is a ‘leader in nuclear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion’ is sim­ply false (“here’s”:http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/history/A0857772.html a nice sum­ma­ry of the recent his­to­ry of agree­ments on nuclear arms).

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