Reply Sat 4 Aug, 2007 01:20 am
Popularity Contest
Why they hate, and like, us.

By Victor Davis Hanson


The latest Pew poll of June 2007 purports to offer a comprehensive survey of what the world thinks of the United States. Polls, of course, can be unreliable; and much of the commonly expressed anti-Americanism seems to be a mere reflection of disdain shown by our own intellectuals and academics, Hollywood, and the media. While it is hard to separate what foreigners feel about Americans in general from their opinions about the United States government in particular, the results of this latest survey are both predictable and astonishing.

The nations of the Middle East and other Islamic countries, of course, poll anti-United States across the board, from Palestine to Morocco. And therein arise some interesting paradoxes. Kuwait, once extinguished until the American military restored it, is the most pro-American nation of the Arab Middle East. Yet, even there, as many Kuwaitis have an unfavorable opinion of America as a favorable one.

Turkey is democratic, a NATO ally, and a recipient of substantial American military aid. Yet it reveals the highest level of anti-Americanism of any country polled - 83 percent express an unfavorable view of the U. S. Perhaps that enmity is due to our support for Kurdistan and the resentments of Ankara's own Islamist government. In any case, so much for the ballyhooed American efforts to bolster Turkey's bid to join the EU. In theory, if we opposed Turkish membership, or suggested that Ankara leave NATO, would our image then improve? Again, something is terribly wrong when four out of five "allied" Turks feel so unfavorably toward the United States.

Egypt has received collectively well over $50 billion in American help, but only 21 percent of its population seems to like the United States. In fact, whether we save countries like Kuwait, or lavish money on Palestine, Egypt, and Jordan (20-percent approval rating), or send billions to rebuild Afghanistan, or try to help Muslim Turkey get into the EU, or buck up Pakistan (15-percent approval), or feed poor Muslims in Somalia, or chastise the Russians about Chechnya, or bomb the Muslim-killing Serbians, or lead the effort to save Muslim Indonesians after the Tsunami, it all apparently matters very little. It may sound counterintuitive, but Russia (the country that leveled Grozny and exterminated Chechen Islamic rebels) seems to be better thought of in the Middle East than we are �- or perhaps more feared, which in the region is apparently the same thing.

Apologists, of course, will cite our policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel as catalysts for Middle East hatred. But clearly there is some preexisting venom involved that makes the Muslim Street ignore all the good we have done, and focus only on what is considered bad. It is most likely modern Islam's inability to confront Western-inspired modernism, particularly the hypocritical desire for practices and things American, combined with the concomitant religious embarrassment over those only partially fulfilled appetites. The mindset of the Middle East is best summed up as something like "I deserve what you Americans have, but won't ever become like you to get it."

In turn, what enrages America about the petulant Islamic world's dislike is mostly the unwillingness of these nations to translate their popular anger into any concrete action. We would expect these belligerents to refuse U.S. aid, cease immigrating to the United States, keep their students from visiting the Great Satan, or kick the U.S. military out of the Persian Gulf.

In response, while the Arab masses seethe, thousands of American scientists are working overtime on remedies for their anger �- namely how not to import any oil from this dysfunctional region that makes us vulnerable to its blackmail while enriching unstable regimes that do real harm to the world at large.

Even more perplexing are the attitudes voiced by some key European countries �- France (60 percent unfavorable to the U.S.), Germany (66-percent unfavorable), and Spain (60 percent). Millions of Europeans in these countries express a much more negative view of the United States than do Hugo Chavez's Venezuelans. So much for the supposedly sweeping changes in France and Germany that brought the Sarkozy and Merkel governments to power.

For this unspoken implosion of the Atlantic Alliance, we can fault the usual suspects �- Iraq, the war on terror, George Bush's 2002 unilateralism, America's failure to ratify Kyoto, or the envy that these erstwhile imperial powers feel about being upstaged by a mongrel democracy.

But who really cares to calibrate all the reasons why the Germans hated us when Ronald Reagan deployed Pershing missiles to protect them, or why the Greeks hated us when Madeline Albright tried to stop Balkan genocide, or why the French hated us for ending the once lucrative Baathist regime in Iraq? Instead, at some point Americans should ask themselves how they can continue to be allied militarily with countries whose populations have a more negative view of us than do our supposed rivals in Russia (48 percent unfavorable) and China (57 percent).

Contrast all that dislike with those nations who appreciate the United States, which tells us something much different about America's role in the world. The Kenyans and Ghanaians, for example, reveal more admiration for the United States (87 and 80 percent, respectively) than do we Americans ourselves.

In fact, all of sub-Saharan Africa �- poor and with a past of exploitation �- has an unbelievably high regard for the U.S. Perhaps black Africans appreciate our support for democracy, realize that we were not colonialists, see that blacks are succeeding in the U.S. in a way unthinkable elsewhere, know that we spearhead the global effort to bring AIDS relief and stop the genocide in Darfur, and sympathize with their own long struggle against radical Islam.

Much of Eastern Europe is similarly well-inclined. Poland, for example (61 percent approval rating), does not trust Russia �- and does not trust Europe to offer any help in a future hour of crisis.

Likewise, many countries of Latin America �- Mexico, Chile, Peru �- poll staunchly pro-American. We have tried to support these shaky Latin American democracies, welcomed their immigrants, and allowed billions of dollars to be sent back as worker remittances. And unlike a Spain, France, Germany, the Muslim Middle East, Russia, or China, such confident emerging nations also are not hung up on perceived past grandeur, blame-gaming the new superpower for their own subordinate roles.

Indeed, how strange that these poor countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America are more favorable to America than are oil-rich sheikdoms, rich European socialist republics, and Middle East recipients of massive U.S. aid.

Or perhaps it's not so strange at all.

The more confident a nation is, even when poor, the more likely it seems to admire America. Some of our best supporters turn out to be one-billion person India (59 percent favorable rating), Japan (61 percent), and South Korea (58 percent) �- all democratic, capitalist juggernauts, and appreciative of liberal American trade policy and U.S. military support. Again, should we Americans value the friendship of such democracies �- or that of a China that cheats on international trade accords and intimidates its neighbors?

So it is encouraging to be admired by idealistic populations in Africa and Eastern Europe, and shown friendship by India and Japan. But perhaps it is equally to our credit that a bullying China and Russia, a dictatorial and intolerant Middle East, and smug nations of Western Europe seem to resent us, especially our support for democratic change abroad.

No doubt when the Bush administration leaves office, and should a Democratic one replace it, our approval ratings will rise with our present detractors. But they may also decline among our friends who will learn that U.S. open markets, free trade, and reliable military support in times of crisis are now objects of left-wing criticism. Note in this regard that world opinion toward both China and Russia is turning unfavorable. That distrust will only increase as both begin to flex their muscles �- the former gobbling up oil contracts from the most murderous regimes, the latter selling the same rogues anything they need to foment unrest.

A number of British diplomats have expressed weariness over the old special relationship with America. Likewise, the British public now barely expresses a favorable impression of the United States (51 percent). But given the emerging world landscape, such a change in attitude would be suicidal for the United Kingdom. History would instead counsel the British people that Europe has nearly destroyed them twice in the twentieth century, while America sought to save them �- and would again in the twentieth-first.

Britain should tread carefully, since it is even more likely that a growing number of Americans is turned off by Europe, British anti-Americanism, NATO, and the Middle East. And in the long history of this country, isolationism, not intervention, has been the more natural American sentiment.

If the British think their Tony Blair was George Bush's poodle, they may soon see a British prime minister reduced to a Chinese, Iranian, or Russian hamster �- as we already have witnessed with the Russian assassination scandal and the even more embarrassing Iranian hijacking of a British boat.

Unfortunately, Russia and China will only grow wealthier from oil and trade surpluses, while the chances improve of a petrol-rich dictatorship in the Middle East gaining nuclear weapons within missile range of Europe. What will keep the U.S. engaged as a powerful ally of a Britain and Europe in their coming hour of need will not be brilliant statesmen or Atlantic-minded Presidents, but only American public opinion and goodwill that are predicated on some notion of reciprocal friendship.

In that regard, such polls continue to be mostly one-sided. What we need now are new comprehensive surveys of what Americans themselves think of the United Nations, the Islamic world, and Western Europe �- so that they can try to square the results with our present foreign policy of aid, friendship, or military assistance to those who apparently don't want or appreciate what they receive.
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Aug, 2007 01:32 am
Re: Love or Hate America
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
or why the French hated us for ending the once lucrative Baathist regime in Iraq?


Well, this is a biased opinion.

I'm really sure that the average French don't have the slightest idea about this..

On the other hand, the French were really upset by the arrogant attitude of the US when France decided not to join in Iraq's war.

We can be friends without accepting everything the US wants to do...
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Aug, 2007 01:41 am
Is it so simple as:

Africa loves us, let's spend our money there!

The Middle East hates us so let's give them the Bum's Rush?

Eastern Europe loves us, so lets develop Special Relationships in that sphere.

Western Europe turns up their collective nose at us, so should we leave them to stew in their own smug juices?

With much talk about China and India, we forget that Africa has unlimited potential. They, the non-muslims, love us so let's devote our largess to them and screw the despots in the Middle East.

Egypt exists only because of the US and yet the majority of Egyptians are not too fond of us. This is hardly a subtle notion but THE HELL WITH THEM!
If massive amounts of money can't buy their love, then why bother? Arabs respond favorably to strength rather than charity. Let's stop giving them alms and smack them upside their collective head.

If not for oil, would we give a damn for the deserts of the Middle East?

Nope.

Slowly, but surely, we are moving away from our dependence upon foreign oil. At some point we will be able to pull the rug out from under the Sheiks. When that time comes, if they are not our true friends why should we care one whit about them?

The US, unquestionably, saved Kuwait and yet there is quite a large percentage of Kuwatis who continue to dis us.

When cold fusion or bio-fuel comes into their own the Kuwatis will be left to the tender mercies of the major league bully in the region (Iran?).

Take it personal.

Would you give a helping hand to a neighbor that spit on you? Once maybe, and perhaps twice, but eventually you will come to the realization that the cranky bastard aint worth your efforts. Now, if the cranky bastard controlled the flow of water to your house you might be more accomodating, but what would happen on the day you finished digging your own well?

There are, despite the caterwauling of Liberals, plenty of places on earth where the people feel damned good about America.

No, these places are not in Western Europe, but who cares?

Liberals care because they are unable to mount an identity of their own that could possibly compare to the intellectualism of Western Europeans: I have an accent, therefore I am superior.

Lets spend our resources and good will on the people who like us.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Aug, 2007 01:53 am
That reminds me of this old stories about these snobish people doing charities in Europe.

Even though they gave money to the poor of their parrish, they weren't perceived as "good and friendly" people by the people in need, mainly because their own problems were so different...
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Aug, 2007 06:00 pm
Re: Love or Hate America
Francis wrote:
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
or why the French hated us for ending the once lucrative Baathist regime in Iraq?


Well, this is a biased opinion.

I'm really sure that the average French don't have the slightest idea about this..

On the other hand, the French were really upset by the arrogant attitude of the US when France decided not to join in Iraq's war.

We can be friends without accepting everything the US wants to do...


Actually this is merely an interpretive opinion, biased in some way, but what opinion is not?

I don't doubt that the average French citizen was not versed in the geo-political underpinnings of the disputed policy. They began with a predisposition to think poorly of America, and especially "Republican America." Their inclination was then reinforced and amplified by the French media and government. French Media by reflexive anti-American tendencies, French Government by economic ties to the Baathist regime.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Wed 8 Aug, 2007 06:26 pm
And yes, we can be friends without agreeing on everything, but there is no reason to judge the friendships of nations and their peoples, any differently that we do the one on one relationship.

You are in a bar with an acquaintence. He ends up in a fight, after being sucker punched. You think that he has overreacted, or has broadened the fight beyond the original perpetrators. Do you:

1) Jump into the fight to support you friend and worry about debating the rationality of his actions afterwards?

2) You jump in and help the guy out because you would want him to do the same for you, but you are really pissed and plan on letting him know later.

3) Walk out of the bar and leave your acquaintence to the consequences of his perceived folly?

4) Walk out of the bar, all the while loudly declaring what an a-hole your acquaintence is?

#1 is a friend

#2 is an ally

#3 is a bystander

#4 is France.

So we're not really friends.No problem. I'm not a big fan of the French and if they feel the same way about Americans, who am I to complain?

Our nations, however, need not be friends to be allies. Allies, however, don't walk out of the bar mouthing off about what a jerk the other guy is.
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 02:55 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Does anyone care who uphold or degrade a country like USA.
Are there not any other issues to discuss ?
0 Replies
 
anton
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2008 10:44 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
It's Not Just The French!

The first Tuesday in November is critical day for the United States standing in the world; the George W Bush and his neoconservatives have done more to diminish the credibility of America than any other presidency before.
No longer is the country the world’s only superpower; China has now demonstrated their emergence from a long sleep soon to be the world’s largest economy and Russia is not a spent force yet, as was seen when the US lackey Georgia invaded South Ossetia, yet another instance where the US is interfering in regions it has no place in.
America should get out of Europe and abandon their hegemonic push with their so called Missile Defense System, which is out and out war mongering, neither Europe nor the world want that.

The real terrorist in the world are the American’s; they’ve talked up terror giving the murdering scum an identity instead of identifying them for what they really are, “criminals”, murdering scumbags who are a festering stain on humanity.
The Bush regime has made the US the most hated country in the world; the citizens live an insular existence, knowing nothing of the world around them but salvation is at hand; on the first Tuesday in November those same citizens have a chance to redeem themselves and the reputation of their country by voting for Barak Obama, the candidate untainted by the swill on Capitol Hill … Believe me the world is waiting for this man who will put the pride back in the United States of America and pull it back from the abyss of mediocrity; the geriatric and the beauty queen would be the straw that broke the camel’s back!

From what I hear, day to day, the US has very few friends now.
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 05:55 am
Political Science

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paris
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

- Randy Newman
anton
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 07:04 am
@msolga,
It that supposed to intellegent comment, it does answer the question of why the
world hates America?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 12:05 pm
@anton,
Still here, eh?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 12:18 pm
I think some in the world hate us because a) we have policies and processes that they don't appreciate b) they resent that we have greater military might and economic strength than they do c) they are envious of the American lifestyle d) they resent being beholden to us for their own physical security and, in some cases, economic security, and e) it is fashionable just as it is fashionable for the far Left in this America to hold other countries in higher esteem than their own.

And yet a huge number of people from nations that purport to despise us would live here in a heartbeat if it should be expedient or feasible to do so. I doubt there is any other country in the world where more people would live if they could.

I think the USA makes a huge mistake in trying to appease those who hate us for no other reason than those I listed. We won't make any more friends by diminishing ourselves, our capabilities, or our lifestyles.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 08:44 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
You are in a bar with an acquaintence. He ends up in a fight, after being sucker punched. You think that he has overreacted, or has broadened the fight beyond the original perpetrators. Do you:


Let's get the facts straight first.

You know that this "friend" has lied and concocted "evidence" to exacerbate a situation that should never have happened. You know that there were "inspectors" there that could have contained the whole event. You knew that it would be unconscionable that tens of thousands of innocent bar patrons would be murdered because of the lies of this "friend".

As a human being with the slightest semblance of morality, you testify against such a person to see to it that he pays for his arrogance and immorality.

Finn would rather chalk it up to "boys will be boys". So what if multitudes suffer and die.

It really must be asked, why would one want to be friends with such a person. Are you not a conscious reasoning adult, Finn?
0 Replies
 
anton
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 09:18 pm
@Foxfyre,
Pathetic!
Why would anyone be jealous of a country that has more people incarcerated that any other country in the Western World yet they still have more crime than any Western country; a society that still executes prisoners in spite of the fact it prevents nothing; barbarity is part of that country, they recently reintroduced torture and the government spies on its own citizens.

It is a country that is consumed by war and spends more money on it than any other world power and yet they are failures when it comes to winning wars, they can’t go to war alone they have to take other countries with them; they should have learnt their lesson after the defeat in Vietnam.
America the country that is responsible for most of the strife in the world, a country that has more nuclear and chemical weapons than any other power, the only country to have used and is still using nuclear weaponry in the form of depleted uranium.

A country more insular than China, Americans have no idea of the outside world, they are biggest users of fossilized fuel, the world’s largest polluters and greed is the main motivator for the masses.

People jealous of the American lifestyle, if you really believe that you are a fool!
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 12:33 am
@anton,
I very well may be a fool. But I guarantee you there are more people who have filed applications for entry into the United States than probably all other countries in the world combined. (I have no data on that so could be entirely wrong--that's just a suspicion on my part.) But why is that do you think? Perhaps we aren't quite so bad as you wish us to be? Maybe, just maybe we have a few good things going for us too?

I do understand how that could sound arrogant and presumptious to those who choose to despise us. But when I have asked others from other countries if they believe they live in the best place on Earth, none seem to feel that way. So maybe it's just an American thing. I don't know.

Anyhow there is no intention to offend here. I admire many things about many places that are not in the USA. But I do not despise us in order to appreciate somebody else. And I long for a world where everybody can feel they live in the best place there is. (Just so long as that isn't ALL here of course.)
anton
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 08:26 pm
@Foxfyre,
Arrogance is an ugly beast that totally besmirches those who adopt the attitude.
I would say all nationalities believe their country is the best simply because they were born there; if you had been born in China I am sure you would be singing the praises of that great nation.
I am always relaxed and delighted to arrive home after traveling overseas; my life in this wonderful country is comfortable and free, nobody spies on me, I can express an opinion on anything without fear of retaliation but most importantly our government doesn’t interfere in the politics of other sovereign nations and they don’t spy on their citizens as the US government does.

Why does your government demonize the things it doesn’t particularly understand such as Islam and why shouldn’t Iran have nuclear weapons; America has more nuclear and chemical weapons than any other nation on the planet and they are only country ever to use them; the world has more to worry about with a nuclear USA than a nuclear Iran, common sense must tell you that if Iran had a nuclear bomb and looked as though it were going to use it, the country would be obliterated.

Why must the US take its hegemony into Europe with their so called missile defense system; why drag other countries into American paranoia, if a rogue state or organization wants to get the US nothing will stop them, besides the US is the aggressor in this world.
Look at Georgia, its military is trained and armed by the US because they, the America's, want Caspian Sea Oil. Georgia's recent excursion into south Ossetia was a flexing of their American muscle; they expected to get away with it but Russia had other ideas and now the American misinformation machine is trying to put the blame, for the invasion, on Russia but many of us in the world can see what is happening and who the real villains are.

The US has missed the opportunity of being the world super power; they blew it with their aggression.
China will soon have an economy far bigger than the US and they don’t interfere in the politics of other sovereign nations.
In the very near future the US will be seeking membership with the EU in order to counter the awakening of the sleeping giant, China … I think it would be wise for Americans not to be so cocky; they cannot exist alone, there is a lot of truth in the old adage, “No man is an island.” That also applies to countries.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 09:36 pm
@anton,
anton wrote:
our government doesn’t interfere in the politics of other sovereign nations


You sure? Aren't you from Australia? Didn't Australia just help invade Iraq?
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 09:46 pm
@anton,
Quote:
nobody spies on me, I can express an opinion on anything without fear of retaliation but most importantly our government doesn’t interfere in the politics of other sovereign nations and they don’t spy on their citizens as the US government does.



What the hell?

Isn't Perth part of Australia?

Given the number of troops who departed from Perth for Iraq, I am surprised you didn't notice them on their way to help invade it!

Of course we interfere in the politics of other nations...known for it in our region, and we sure as hell interfered in Vietnam and now in Afghanistan (where we are building up numbers.) We were a tad involved in East Timor, I believe, though invited by the UN. Indonesia seems to have found that a wee bit interferous, though.

Of COURSE our government spies on us...are you silly?

And we have an "anti-terrorist" act nearly as draconian as the US's...just ask Haneef.

Honestly, criticise the US as you wish, but don't be ignoring the beam in our eye as you do it. It's only fair to be honest about Oz when you're slamming another country.
anton
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Sep, 2008 07:16 pm
@dlowan,
I doubt very much that you are an Aussie, a ring-in perhaps but certainly not a dingy di Aussie.
Sure Australian troops are in East Timor, the East Timorese Government invited us in to help secure their country from Indonesian interference and as for being in Iraq, the only Aussie troops there are protecting our interest, i.e. the Australian High Commission; have you forgotten that our new government withdrew our forces from Iraq?

I have been away for a while and the world has changed, the US is undergoing the biggest threat to its economy ever and ironically the government seems to see a socialist solution to the problem; nationalization has come to the fore and American taxpayers are paying the bills. Perhaps its time the average US citizens started running the country, I can't think of any other place other than the US where one has to be a multi-millionaire to get into government.

Fortunately the Australian economy is in a much better position than that of the USA and we do not have the sub-prime problem; luckily for us our trade with China is affording us a certain amount of protection from the fallout
I wish the US well and hope you overcome your financial problems and I really do feel for those Americans who are doing it hard, get well soon and may God bless!
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 11:04 pm
@anton,
Quote:
The real terrorist in the world are the American’s


Only the least serious of people will jump on your train.

I certainly won't, and I'm happy to allow it to run past me unto oblivion.
0 Replies
 
 

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