Monday, 17 September 2012

America is hated for reasons


After the mob in Benghazi murdered the American Ambassador to Libya the other day, newspapers around the world seem unimpressed by Mr Osama's foreign policy record. He is accused of being too eager to meet grievances in the Muslim countries, rather than taking what Queen Victoria in her diaries referred to as a High Tone, by which she meant something of a cross between high hand and high horse. 

The Montreal Gazette says

It is a mistake to suppose that hatred of America must have some rational cause, any more than other prejudices. It does not. It is a constant, unlikely to change no matter what propitiatory gestures the U.S. might offer. It has nothing to do with what foreign policy it pursues, or whether the president’s middle name is Hussein. It exists because America exists, and if America did not exist it would attach itself to something else.

Well, no and yes.

Of course America is hated for many good and bad motives and of course most of them are  rational, though hatred itself is never a rational emotion. Rich powerful states are always hated. No country is free from fault. American politicians are almost always Christians and should believe in original sin. They must know that countries are made up of sinful men, not angels. Out of the crooked timbers of mankind no straight thing was ever made.

There is an awful lot to be admired about the USA but some things the Americans have done are indeed hateful. Paying for the IRA would come high up on my reasonably long list and pulling the plug out on England at Suez which led to most of the problems in the Middle East including the emergence of Gaddafi. The authoritarianism of the anti-discrimination ideologues in American universities. Much else too. The reader can make his own list, which might be very different to mine. I think the good that America has done is much greater, though.

'Who whom', Lenin's question. I of course revere France much more than America, but a unipolar world ruled by France would be a less comfortable place. I do not agree with my Europhile university friend who says he would rather be ruled by Berlin than Washington though I understand why he says this. As for China..

The reason why powerful countries are hated is because they do things, or at least have the power to do them if they choose.

By the same argument, whatever America does or does not do, she will have enemies. She can conciliate some  of them, some of the time, to some extent and sometimes she should do so but she must not want to be loved and she should understand why she is often not. So the Montreal Gazette is broadly right.

Power always implies exploiting the weakness of others, but you should never mistake impotence for virtue.


  1. ohh how romantic...talking about great powers and whatnots....
    you seem to forget the role of money in this... this is how power shows itself to the world ;

    you want the british one ?or the infant romanian one trigerred by them?
    but you re too old to realize what has happenned under your nose...thank you for leaving us with this burden ...this war we re going to have to fight for nothing again... keep writing about big powers n everything.

  2. And America is the true land of the Jews...