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( 363 visitor comments )





14 February 2007

Re Janet Albrechtson's Feb 13 story on the rise of anti-Americanism:

For the record, 'anti-Americanism' is rife here in Asia as well. I haven't met a soul in three years who has a good word to say about the US government - even an American. (Americans who travel broaden their horizons a lot.)

But to the point: you fail to clearly distinguish between reflex, bigoted, unconsciously motivated anti-Americanism (which is just old fashioned racism, and fairly rare in my experience) and the fact that the people of Planet Earth are these days - despite the efforts of newspapers like the Australian to deprive them of such knowledge - increasingly educated about the US role in - for example, in no particular order:

• Effecting the slaughter of 4 million Asians in the Vietnam era;

• The overthrow of the democratic government of Guatemala in 1954;

• The Chile coup;

• The training of those who became al Queda;

• The destruction on the Brazilian government and constitution in 1964, and their replacement by a murderous military dictatorship;

• The weapons given to Saddam which killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war;

* The arming of the other side (Iran) as well;

• The blessing of Israel's and now India's nuclear weapons programs - which has led directly to Iran seeking same;

• The role of Fort Benning in training some of the developing world's worst terror and torture squads;

• The promulgation of terror throughout much of Central America in the 1980s by (for example) training El Salvador's death squads, and supplying Nicaragua's Contras.

I could go on for many, many pages.

All this is policy, not a string of anomalies. So, if you want to write for a national newspaper, you should apprise yourself of modern history.

True, it is not the version which fits with conservative prejudice, and not the version Rupert Murdoch gives us. It is merely what happened.

In one response above, you cited Owen Harries saying that America may make some awful mistakes, but at least we hear about them from Americans. Baloney. (American slang is the world's best IMO.) We hear about very little of the horrors which the United States government has launched upon the world since WW2: the millions it has killed, the democracies it has strangled, the economies to which it has laid waste. And the principal reason we do not learn about these things - these central events of contemporary history - is that Americans like Rupert Murdoch do not tell us. (Neither does CNN or the New York Times, of course.)

'Protector of the free world'? Give me a break. The reason most of the world is so furious with the US these days is that a decent world wasn't going to come from Stalin or Mao or Dear Leader - but the US could have pulled it off. Instead, they blew it for the sake of some money and some power, and now the planet has no beacon of light any more.

The foregoing complaints must be distinguished from both the good aspects of US foreign policy (the Marshall Plan) and the endless benign aspects to US culture - its film (Woody Allen), its intellectuals (Noam Chomsky), its musicians (Bob Dylan), its fabulous cities (NYC) and so on.

The anti-Americans you speak of (just about everyone thesedays) are increasingly aware of this big picture - and can distinguish America's murderous foreign policy from American culture, American philanthropy and American people.

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